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Conviction for a “Minor Offense” May Not Have a Minor Impact on the Future of a College Student [Part I]

Posted on: 08 Oct, 2014

While college can be an exciting time in between the breaks to open a book or attend classes, it is also a time where many young people are away from home and parental supervision for the first time. While this situation makes it predictable that college students tend to party, they often underestimate the impact of criminal offenses on their future. College kids arrested for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, driving under the influence, possession of small quantities of marijuana and similar offenses frequently cooperate with police officers and take the first plea offer extended by the prosecutor. Although this approach may provide some short-term emotional comfort by obtaining “closure” and putting an embarrassing mistake behind you, the long-term consequences of such a decision can be devastating.

Although some presume that pleading guilty to a misdemeanor is “no big deal” because it is a “minor offense,” this is a dangerous misconception. The impact of a criminal conviction can have severe consequences on the future of a promising university student because state occupational licenses, financial aid, professional licenses, employment opportunities, rental housing, eligibility for permanent residency or citizenship and other aspect of a university student’s future may be adversely affected by a so-called “minor misdemeanor.”

Crimes of moral turpitude can be especially problematic. Although the precise definition of this term varies based on the context, this term generally refers to conduct that is “inherently wrong” even without a law that prohibits the conduct. Offenses that involve deceit, misrepresentation, fraud and dishonesty also typically are considered offenses involving moral turpitude.

The adverse impact on students that have entered a guilty plea or been convicted of a misdemeanor is a growing concern for university career placement offices. As one college placement administrator puts it, a misdemeanor conviction is the “800 pound gorilla in the room” when pursuing career prospects after graduating from a university. “We are graduating a lot of students with a false sense of security,” she explains. “We’re living in a time now when everything is competitive. If an agency has to make a decision on a student who has some question on their background or one with a stellar background … why would they hire the one with questions? Character and integrity are most important.”

If you are accused of a misdemeanor in Kansas, you need to immediately assert your right to remain silent and request a Kansas criminal defense attorney. At our Kansas misdemeanor defense law firm, we work diligently to protect college students from suffering the harsh consequences for youthful indiscretions. We invite you to contact our office and discuss your situation with Kansas criminal defense lawyer Sarah G. Swain without fear of being judged. The initial consultation is free and confidential. Call us today at 785-842-2787 or toll free at 866-550-2787.