FAQ For Parents Of ECU Students Charged With A Crime

College students who are on their own for the first time, sometimes make mistakes. The freshman year often involves partying as a student, deciding to go out for a fraternity or sorority or making new friends.

A poor decision can lead to a criminal charge for underage drinking or possession of drugs (marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, heroin or cocaine) or drug paraphernalia. I am criminal defense attorney Keith Williams, and for more than two decades, I have defended students in these circumstances. There are some initial questions that I often get from parents.

These answers are only a starting point, please call me at 252-565-4661 for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your child's case.

What Is The Long-Term Impact Of A Criminal Charge?

A criminal record can have serious collateral consequences. It may even be the deciding factor that separates candidates applying for a master's program or an entry-level position in a competitive field. A conviction for a drug crime might affect eligibility for student aid (including grants, loans and work-study).

In many cases, especially if this is a first offense, options may exist to seek a dismissal or "non guilty" disposition to the charge. Expunction (also called "expungement") may later be used to erase a criminal record. Several categories that may qualify are:

  • First offenses committed under the age of 18 or 22
  • Dismissed charges or "not guilty" dispositions
  • Convictions more than five yeas old

An expunction allows an individual to deny or refuse to acknowledge a criminal incident on an employment form or housing application without committing perjury or making a false statement.

Diversion programs are also becoming more popular for young people and can keep a charge off a criminal record. I can explain which programs are available in Pitt County and discuss eligibility.

How Are Legal Fees Charged/How Much Will It Cost?

Consider the advice of a wise judge, "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of cheap price is gone." Each case is unique and fact-specific, but I am up-front when discussing legal fees and can frequently give you a flat fee estimate.

Payment plans are available in certain cases. Invest to protect your child's future. For example, a favorable resolution could pay dividends in the form of higher earnings down the road that will more than offset what you spend on a legal fee.

A past client had this to say after I helped their son: "thank you again for representing our son. Your presence brought us peace. We prayed for the right attorney and God sent us you."

With the informed consent of the student, I can keep parents updated concerning the progress of the case as well.

Get Individualized Legal Advice

Find out what options exist to limit damaging long-term collateral consequences by speaking with a Greenville lawyer. Schedule a free initial consult; send the Law Offices of Keith A. Williams, P.A., a quick email today.

* Super Lawyers is an annual publication with various criteria used to select the lawyers included in the magazine. For further explanation of their review process, please click here.