After high school, many young adults spend time exploring the world and figuring out who they are. This means that some mistakes will be made. Unfortunately, for young adults who are enrolled in a trade school, community college, or university, these mistakes can have consequences that last for years. Students who have criminal convictions might have to deal with a school disciplinary board and might have trouble obtaining a professional license, which could completely bar them from a chosen career. This is why it is so important for students to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer for any criminal charges – even those that seem minor. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the better options he or she will have for resolving your case. The investment of attorney’s fees now can protect your future career plans for years to come.
Disciplinary Proceedings at Your School
Many schools have a detailed code of conduct that applies to anyone enrolled in any program at the institution. It is important to check your code of conduct to see what specific obligations you have to your school. Some may require you to report an arrest to them. Others might learn of an arrest or conviction and require you to appear at disciplinary proceedings. These proceedings take many forms. It might consist of a hearing before a student court or panel of instructors. You might have to meet with an advisor, dean, or another administrator.
Whatever the procedure is at your school, it is important to follow it to the letter. Failing to adhere to the school’s disciplinary policy is a separate infraction that can add to your troubles. Even if the initial charges were minor, you could face suspension or expulsion for failing to comply with the school’s disciplinary procedures. Your defense lawyer can help you understand your obligations to the school and navigate the process in order to increase your chances of a favorable outcome at your school’s disciplinary proceedings.
Future Professional Licensing Issues
There are many, many jobs that require a license from the state. Teachers, childcare workers, plumbers, electricians, nurses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, hairstylists, and nail technicians all require state licensure in order to perform their jobs lawfully. While the requirements for each license vary, all of them require some sort of background check. A criminal conviction can disqualify you from getting the license at all. In other cases, you might have to appear before the licensing board and explain the circumstances of your conviction.
A lawyer can help you apply for a professional license and explain any arrests or criminal charges in your past. But it will be easier to get a license if you were able to keep the conviction off your record altogether. This is why it is important to work with a lawyer as soon as you become aware of criminal charges against you. Even if it seems like the charges are “no big deal,” it is better to resolve them as quickly as possible. Even a misdemeanor can cause problems in your future career – or prevent you from being able to practice your chosen profession at all.
How to Protect Your Future Career Plans
As with so many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. The best way to protect your future career plans is to get the most favorable result possible in the underlying criminal case. In some cases, improper police procedure can lead to certain evidence being ruled inadmissible against you. This leaves the prosecutor with a weak case that can give you a more favorable plea bargain – or in some cases, having the charges against you dropped altogether.
In other cases, your defense attorney might be able to negotiate a diversion program. In this type of plea deal, the prosecutor agrees to actually dismiss the charges against you once the program is complete. The program might consist of attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, anger management counseling, drug testing, or other requirements that are specific to the charges against you. Successful completion of these requirements means that the prosecutor drops the case, and you will be left with no conviction on your criminal record. Diversion programs are generally available only to first-time offenders who have been charged with minor offenses. They are, however, an effective tool for keeping a conviction off your record.
As you can see, there are many options available for resolving your case. If your attorney becomes involved in your case soon and is able to prevent a conviction, you will be able to truthfully report no convictions on future job applications and professional licensing applications. Even if you cannot avoid a conviction, your attorney may be able to broker a plea deal that leaves you with a less serious offense on your record. There is a significant difference in having a misdemeanor on your record instead of a felony. The sooner an attorney becomes involved in your case, the better options he or she will have for resolving it, so it is important to hire a defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Right Criminal Defense Attorneys For Wisconsin Students
Students have a bright future ahead of them. Criminal charges can complicate future career plans, so it is important to resolve charges as favorably as possible. The sooner you have a lawyer involved in your case, the better protected your constitutional rights will be, and the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome to the case.
Contact us at (920) 450-9800 to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff. We work with students and their families to ensure the best possible outcome of pending criminal charges. This can protect your place in school and your future career plans. A criminal conviction doesn’t have to derail your future – work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to achieve the best possible outcome for your criminal case.