If you’re a student that’s accused of a criminal offense, there’s a lot on the line. Students from all over the world come to study in Austin and in the surrounding Williamson County, Cedar Park, and Round Rock areas. The world-class education available in the area is critical to helping these students begin their adult lives and careers on the right track. One false accusation or even a simple mistake can result in consequences that impact you for the rest of your life. When you’re facing a criminal charge, your freedom, finances and even your education can be on the line.
The vast majority of college students are adults for the purposes of criminal charges. Even though the age of criminal majority is a hotly debated topic in Texas, in most cases, if you’re charged with a crime in college, you’re going to answer to an adult court. Because a conviction has the potential to impact the rest of your life, it’s important to take the case seriously.
Fortunately, if you’re a student facing criminal charges, you’re not alone. The student defense attorney team at Jackson Law Firm can help you address and defend the charges head-on. You may need to defend the charges in the Texas courts as well as with your educational institution. The Jackson Law Firm can help you create a plan to build your case and pursue the best possible course of action. Their skills and experience can be what you need to attack the charges from all possible angles and work to minimize the damage.
Alcohol offenses are common charges for students. It’s not uncommon to make one poor choice that has the potential for lasting consequences. Most alcohol laws are uniform across the state.
The legal age to drink in Texas is 21. Because many college students are under 21, college students often find themselves facing charges for MIP (minor in possession of alcohol). There are exceptions for alcohol consumption with your parents or for the purposes of employment. You’re also immune from prosecution if you seek emergency help for you or someone else. Texas’ MIP laws are Title IV, law 106.04, Consumption of Alcohol by Minor. and Title IV, law 106.05, Possession of Alcohol by Minor.
MIP is a class C misdemeanor. You can expect to receive community service as well as an order to attend mandatory alcohol education courses. There’s also a fine of up to $500. The offense can stay on your record indefinitely. The penalties for a second or subsequent offense can include all of these things in addition to larger fines and up to six months in jail. The state may also suspend your driver’s license.
It’s illegal in Texas to use a fake identification card. That’s also a class C misdemeanor that can come with a fine. If you try to get alcohol using a fake ID, you might find yourself facing criminal charges.
Young people can get into serious trouble for buying alcohol for their underage friends. Texas law 106.06 prohibits adults from buying alcohol for minors. Students need to be wary of this law any time they host a party. If you invite minors and there’s alcohol involved, you might find yourself accused of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Other criminal offenses that students often face include:
Texas lawmakers know that young people make mistakes. Depending on your offense, you may be able to take advantage of deferral programs created for deserving students like you. These programs may allow you to complete a term of probation and community service in exchange for dismissal of the charges against you. In addition to deferral options, you may be eligible to have the case expunged or to have the record of your conviction sealed from public view. Contact the Jackson Law Firm to see if this is a possibility in your case.
You have the same rights under the law that apply to anyone charged with a crime in Texas. You have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers. You have a right to require the state to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are questions about your guilt, you may take the matter to trial. The legal team at the Jackson Law Firm can give you the guidance you need to make the best choices as your case moves through the legal system.
In addition to facing the legal system, you may also need to address disciplinary actions from your university. Preparing the right response can be critical to helping you stay in school and minimize the disruptions in your educational pursuits. Working with the right legal team can help you show them your side of the story and argue for why a favorable disposition is appropriate in your case.
The professionals at the Jackson Law Firm know that good people make mistakes. This includes students. When you need a student defense attorney in Round Rock, Cedar Park and anywhere in Williamson County or the greater Austin area, you can expect their team of legal professionals to offer understanding and skilled representation.
Whether you’re facing charges at a high school, community college or university, their legal team can help you address the case in both the courts and in student disciplinary proceedings. If you’re facing charges or school disciplinary action, please contact the Jackson Law Firm for a confidential and understanding consultation. Learn about your rights and your options as you make a plan for your future.