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Don’t Let One Mistake In College Ruin Your Future

A study by the National Institutes of Health states that the human brain is not fully mature until age 25. This may explain why many teens and college students make poor choices without considering the effects on their immediate and long-term future. If you or your child has been arrested or charged with a crime, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to mitigate the consequences.

At Young & Young, Attorneys at Law, we have years of experience defending students at the College of Charleston and other schools against a full range of criminal charges and school offenses. After working as prosecutors, we understand the negative effect that a criminal record can have on a young person’s future. Even a relatively minor offense such as underage drinking or shoplifting can result in a criminal record. Potential employers, landlords and volunteer organizations may turn down applicants with criminal records. Schools may also take action against students who are charged with crimes. A DUI/DWI conviction may result in a loss of scholarship or financial aid. The student might face consequences such as:

  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Rehabilitative coursework
  • Reprimand in his or her permanent record

These severe consequences might also reach further into a young person’s life impacting his or her ability to receive an advanced degree through postgraduate schooling.

We Represent College Students For Both Criminal Charges And College Disciplinary Hearings

Students can be charged with any type of crime, but a few of the most common offenses in South Carolina include:

  • Underage drinking, minor in possession, public intoxication: While alcohol is a big part of college culture, getting caught drinking or possessing alcohol by the police can lead to criminal charges. So can allegedly causing a disturbance while under the effects of alcohol, even if you are 21 or older. Public intoxication is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or a $100 fine.
  • DUI/DWI: A conviction for drinking and driving can cost you your license or force you to pay for an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. We can use our experience to press for a dismissal or reduced charges, or a plea deal that restores your driving privileges sooner.
  • Possession of a fake ID: Possessing or manufacturing a phony driver’s license or other ID that misstates your age or other identifying information is against the law in South Carolina. Possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $100 or up to 30 days in jail.
  • Drug possession: The sentences for drug possession charges vary depending on your prior record and the amount of drugs allegedly involved. For example, a conviction for simple possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a more serious crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense. And if you are accused of intending to distribute the marijuana, that is a felony-level charge even if you have no prior record.
  • Assault: A fight at a bar or house party can lead to an assault charge. Whether you get charged with third-degree assault and battery or a felony-level degree depends on factors like how severe the victim’s injuries were and whether a weapon was involved.
  • Shoplifting and theft: A shoplifting charge for items worth less than $2,000 is a misdemeanor, but for items worth more than that, the charge is a felony with a penalty of up to five or ten years in prison, depending on value.

We will investigate the case and work to get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed when possible.

Why Having A Defense Attorney Matters

As a college student, it can be tempting to try to handle a criminal charge on your own. The charge might seem minor, or you might be afraid to tell your parents you got in trouble. But taking on the police, prosecutor and courts alone will only make more trouble for you in the long run. You likely have more rights and options for dealing with the charge than you realize, and only an experienced defense attorney can explain those to you and help you assert them. The way your case gets resolved could affect your ability to graduate and your future plans. Working with one of our criminal defense lawyers is the best way to keep that from happening.

In addition, often, when a college student is charged with a criminal offense, the college or university will hold a separate disciplinary hearing. During that hearing, the college or university will determine if the student should be suspended, expelled or any other range of disciplinary penalties. As former prosecutors and experienced criminal defense lawyers, we have the skills to represent you for these school hearings.

Contact Us Today

Our office is close to the colleges and universities in Charleston, including the College of Charleston. For a free consultation to discuss your case, please call 843-619-7755. You may also contact us online.