Most parents feel a powerful mixture of concern and pride when their children get accepted into college and leave home. The pride comes from knowing that your young adult child will likely have a bright future because they have chosen to continue their education. The concern is typically the result of the various dangers of college campus life.
Alcohol is one of those dangers. If your child wants to join a sorority or fraternity, you might worry about hazing activities, including peer pressure to drink far more alcohol than is safe for your child's weight or tolerance level. Even if they don't feel pressured to drink more than they want, you may still worry about how your child will handle alcohol and the decisions they make under the influence.
Getting caught driving while drunk can result in criminal charges known as operating under the influence (OUI) charges. Those charges could significantly complicate your child's efforts at higher education.
Many schools have policies about criminal convictions
Even if the offense and arrest did not happen on campus, the college could easily find out that your child got arrested for impaired driving. In some communities, the local law enforcement officers will report any arrests that involve someone they know is a student to college officials. Other schools may occasionally check for criminal records in enrolled students. Sometimes, students have no choice but to admit what has happened if they will miss class for court, incarceration or community service.
Regardless of how the school finds out, the potential is there for an administrative hearing for your child. That scenario likely involves school officials reviewing the criminal charges and the school's code of conduct. They may strip your child of any honors they have received, such as inclusion on the Dean's List.
In some cases, the school can also expel a student convicted of a crime. Finally, it is possible for the school to revoke a scholarship based on a criminal conviction. Especially if your family depends on scholarship funds to cover the costs of tuition, a conviction or guilty plea could mean the end of your child's college aspirations.
This isn't the time to use tough love on your child
Some parents will become frustrated with a college student who makes a mistake that could cost the family a lot of money. A criminal arrest certainly falls in this category.
It may seem like it's about time for your child to face the consequences of their actions on their own, but most college students still have developing brains which means they don't really consider the consequences when they make a decision. The involvement of alcohol surely doesn't help either.
Instead of risking your child's future by forcing them to face the issue alone, help them minimize the impact of their conviction. You can secure the help of an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney and also steer them toward better life decisions.