This is the beginning of a series of articles that will be written by Dwight Ball, local Oxford attorney, well-known for his expertise in criminal law for more than 50 years. Ball, a formal special agent of the FBI, taught Criminal courses at the University of Mississippi for 29 years, while serving as a Municipal Prosecutor, then Municipal Judge, and Criminal Defense Attorney.
You got the “call” from your student that they have been charged or arrested.
Naturally, it’s easy to panic at first. But due to COVID-19, only individuals charged with very serious criminal offenses are actually taken to jail, at this time. Do not take comfort with the fact that your child has been given a “citation,” rather than physically arrested and taken to jail subsequent to the alleged commission of a crime. A crime is a crime and must be taken seriously, regardless of the manner of how a citation or arrest happened.
“It’s just a misdemeanor”
Unfortunately, many parents and students are focused on the fact that it is “just a misdemeanor,” and therefore, not serious. Many students look at it in a casual way and state something to the effect of “Well, I'll just go and pay the fine and that will be it.” In most of these misdemeanor cases, a term of incarceration is imposed but suspended by the Judge, based on future good behavior. That is not, necessarily always the case, certainly not what the student or the parents should focus on when considering the offense.
Long-term ramifications from crimes, even “misdemeanors”
It is a hope, wish, desire, dream of every parent that their child will one day be gainfully employed. Many jobs today, especially those considered to be “good” jobs, conduct a background check of the individual applying for employment, before they actually hire your child.
You do not want your child to have any type of criminal background, and that very much includes misdemeanor criminal background, when seeking employment. Do not delude yourself into thinking that the crime or crimes your child has a record for in college, are simply crimes “that all the kids do while they are at college.” The job market, today, for those “good” jobs, grows tighter and tighter.
In every criminal case I handle, regardless of the outcome of the case, I strongly insist to the parents and the client, that the record must be expunged.
With the large percentage out-of-state students attending college here, many are unfamiliar with the local and state legal consequences for crimes committed. It’s always suggested that you seek the legal advice from an attorney, who specializes in the area of criminal law. Please do not hesitate to contact me– should you so desire.
Written By: Dwight Ball
Attorney at Law
104 Courthouse Square
Oxford, Mississippi 38655