When you send your child away to college, you expect them to stay on the right side of the law. You don’t expect them to get caught doing drugs or driving drunk.
Still, many people who go to college are still minors, and the majority won’t be able to legally drink until they’ve been at school for a few years. It is possible for them to use this newfound independence in a negative way and to make mistakes that end up leading to serious charges and a risk of penalties.
What should you do if your child is arrested?
If your child is under 18 at college and is arrested, they may face juvenile-grade penalties or could end up facing adult charges. It’s important for you to discuss the legal case with someone who understands what exactly your child could be facing in terms of fines, jail time or other penalties.
If your child is 18 to 20, they could still face penalties for underage drinking as well as other crimes. If they’re arrested, you may want to do some research into the exact penalties and make sure that you help them understand their right to an attorney.
For people 21 and older, the penalties can be even stricter than for those in college at younger ages, so learning more about the charges and working on a defense is essential.
Not all crimes are reported beyond the campus police
Keep in mind that some colleges keep offenses local. Your child might face penalties from the school for disorderly behavior, for example, but the true authorities outside campus may not be informed. You will need to find out if the situation involves the police or just campus security, so you know if you could be dealing with criminal penalties or just administrative concerns at the school.
Many college-aged people haven’t experienced the world as fully fledged adults, so it’s not surprising that they may make mistakes and not understand the possible penalties. If your child gets into trouble, they need to quickly learn about their rights and take steps to protect themselves.