Peterson Paletta Balice

Does My College Student Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Grand Rapids & Ionia Attorneys

Criminal Defense Lawyer Grand Rapids Ionia MI


A criminal record will have a huge impact on your child’s life. Whether they’ve been arrested for underage drinking or vandalism, it’s essential that you hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The good news is that our defense attorneys in Grand Rapids and Ionia, MI, are ready to help.

One of the unique challenges of cases that involve college students is that they’re often living away from their parents for the first time. This can make them especially vulnerable to acting out and facing possible criminal charges.

Here’s what else you need to know about your child’s situation.

School Policy and Criminal Law are Different

There’s a difference between violating school policy and breaking the law. For this reason, it’s important that you fully understand the charges placed against your child before contacting a defense attorney.

If your child has violated school policy, their college’s disciplinary system will determine the consequences for their actions. However, if they have committed a crime, their consequences will be determined by a jury in a court of law.

Please be advised that sometimes there can be an overlap between committing a crime and violating school policy. Under these circumstances, the police and university will conduct their own separate investigations. This means that it’s possible for your child to avoid being convicted of criminal charges, but still be expelled from their university for violating school policy.

In general, schools tend to have a lower standard of proof than a court of law. This means that your child’s college won’t need as much evidence to issue repercussions. For example, college athletes accused of crimes may be suspended from their teams until charges are dropped or they’re found not guilty. A criminal defense attorney for college students can help ensure the best legal outcome for your child.

Learn More: What to Do If Your Teenager Has Been Arrested →

Students Often Lack Immediate Support

For many young people, attending college is the first opportunity they have to live away from their parents. While this can help them develop a newfound sense of independence and self-sufficiency, it can also make them more vulnerable during a criminal investigation.

When college students live on campus, they don’t have the immediate support of their family. They may also struggle to afford a criminal defense attorney that will aggressively defend their rights.

If your child is attending college in a different state, this can also complicate their situation. Laws vary from state to state and you may have difficulty trying to support your child when you are halfway across the country.

A Conviction Means Fewer Career Options

Is your child pursuing a degree in healthcare, education, or criminal justice? If so, a criminal conviction will limit their career choices and earning potential. Most jobs in these industries require a criminal background check, which would disqualify your child from the hiring process.

If your college student is charged with OWI and/or MIP, you’ll want to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to prevent them from losing their driver’s license. Many college students depend on their driver’s license to drive to school, internships, and jobs. Other consequences of drunk driving include losing scholarship funding or even being expelled from their college.

Call Peterson Paletta Balice

Need to hire a defense lawyer in Grand Rapids or Ionia, MI? Call Peterson Paletta Balice to schedule a legal consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon to discuss the details of your child’s case.

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