How Criminal Law Unfairly Affects Students in Pennsylvania

On high school and college campuses across the country, teenagers and young adults continue to experiment as they have for decades. However, there’s one significant difference.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, a student caught drinking underage would be given a slap on the wrist. Today, such a discovery could be cause for expulsion. Our punishments have become more severe, sometimes ruining lives.criminal law

Common Offenses

High school and college students in Pennsylvania are commonly charged with:

  • Underage Drinking
  • Possession of a Controlled Substances
  • Dissemination of a Controlled Substance
  • Simple Assault
  • Misdemeanor Theft

These offenses, and the stigmatisms attached to them, can ruin the education, career, and financial future of students charged with them.

In minor cases, high school and college staff prefer to resolve offenses without criminal prosecution. In major cases, you’ll want to contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney, as punishment can include jail time, expulsion, and staggering fines.

Being forced from school is a slippery slope. It damages your record and reputation. It may, in extreme circumstances, alter the course of your future. The right criminal attorney will convince a judge or jury that you, of all people, deserve a second chance.

Your Federal Student Aid Eligibility

For many students, the prospect of college is impossible without federal student aid. Your ability to receive aid is affected when you face criminal charges.

If you are currently incarcerated, you cannot receive traditional student loans. Fortunately, once you’ve been released, most limitations on your eligibility will be removed. You may even be able to apply for aid before your release, giving the government time to process your request before you start school.

However, if you’ve been incarcerated for a drug-related or sexual offense, your eligibility to federal student aid may remain limited. If the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid, you’ll need to complete an additional worksheet to determine your currently eligibility.

To earn your eligibility back after a drug conviction, you’ll need to successfully complete an approved drug rehabilitation program or pass two announced drug tests.

The Need for Change

Everyone makes bad decisions in life. This doesn’t mean the men and women guilty of such decisions are beyond redemption. During their secondary and post-secondary education, young adults are learning how to communicate and live in the “real world.” Experiments happen. Mistakes are made. Laws are broken.

This experimentation should not mean the end of a successful high school or college career unless the student poses an ongoing threat to campus safety. Instead, misdemeanors should be handled with care and compassion – providing first-time offenders with the resources and understanding they need to succeed.

Even repeat offenders can improve when judges and juries are sympathetic. Fortunately, an attorney can assist in collecting important information, meeting deadlines, and building a case.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney for Representation

If you or your child has been arrested for alcohol consumption, theft, drug possession, or something similar, contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney for assistance and representation. Call the Law Office of Steven F. O’Meara at (610) 565-9200. We are fully dedicated to the outcome of your case.