3 Criminal Defense Tips for College Students
Having a criminal charge against you may be petrifying especially if you are in college, when you have your whole life ahead of you. These charges could make or break your future. You might want to try to deal with this on your own to hide this from your parents, but that may not be the best option for your situation. Here are three criminal defense tips for college students to consider.
Criminal Defense Tips for College Students #1: Conditional Discharge
Let’s say you’re a university student, and you get charged with possession of marijuana, or cocaine, or heroin, or drug paraphernalia such as a bowl or a grinder. You’ve had no criminal past, and you’ve never been in trouble before. You want to get out of it because you have a right to in the state of New Jersey.
There is something called a conditional discharge. You still have to go to court. My advice is you seek counsel. You’d speak to an attorney so you know what leverage you do have. You could fall back on, really, what’s essentially a conditional discharge. It allows you to go to court to apply for a conditional discharge to have your case held open for a period no less than six months, no more than a year.
If you stay out of trouble and you abide by the terms and conditions of the conditional discharge, that case will be dismissed. Now, the arrest itself, you might want to get expunged, but there is no plea. You have never pled guilty to anything. There’s no trial. A conditional discharge for anybody who’s charged in New Jersey who’s never been charged before with any drug offense or paraphernalia, you’re eligible for a conditional discharge. It is a very good resolution.
Criminal Defense Tips for College Students #2: Representing Yourself in Court
I recently got a call from a student at Caldwell University about a DWI that they had just gotten charged with. It was someone who was intelligent and articulate and was asking questions about their case. In the end, it appeared that the individual wanted to represent themselves.
While the court will permit that, the judge will permit that, the prosecutor won’t stand in your way, it’s a better course of action to speak with and hire an attorney who’ll know how to deal with the scientific issues; the standard field sobriety issues, the constitutional issues. You would never do your own dental surgery, so you probably shouldn’t be your own attorney when the consequences are so grave.
Criminal Defense Tips for College Students #3:Taking A Plea Bargain
Younger people, especially college-aged students think, “I’m just going to court by myself. I’m not going to tell Mom and Dad. I’m just going to try to plea bargain it myself.”
While you have every right to do so, my suggestion is that you get the advice of counsel. Speak to an attorney to let you know what your options are at least. Have a consultation. Perhaps in the end you will represent yourself if you think that’s a good idea, but you should know what your options are. Perhaps the person that you are now would look back at this in 10 or 15 years and say, “You know what, maybe I should have hired an attorney because the effect that’s had on me now 10 or 15 years later are something I could have mitigated or minimized when I had the case when I was in college.”
If you are a college student seeking guidance, experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Spector.