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Fort Myers Criminal Law Blog

In trouble with campus police? Here is what you need to know

The role of campus police is to keep students safe, and enforce school policy. If you are college student, you have probably seen these officers around campus, and you may wonder if they are actually police and if they have the power to arrest you. It's in your interests to know how to interact with these individuals and how to protect your rights in case of an incident in the future.

It can be overwhelming to find yourself in trouble with the authorities at your school. Regardless of the details of your individual situation and the reason you are in trouble, it's possible your future educational opportunities are on the line. Your interests are worth protecting, and it can be helpful to secure legal counsel regarding your defense options.

Was your college student arrested for shoplifting?

When your child received his or her acceptance to Florida Gulf Coast University, you were probably full of pride. You were optimistic for your child's success, but you also knew that he or she would spend some time out with friends having fun.

You may even expect your college student to do some drinking -- hopefully responsibly. Then one day, you received a call that police arrested your child for shoplifting, of all things. Before you move forward, it may help to understand what that means here in Florida.

Was your college student charged with criminal mischief?

When you sent your child off to Florida Gulf Coast University, you probably didn't expect to hear from him or her on a consistent basis. After all, this is your student's first real taste of freedom. Maybe secretly, you hoped he or she would call feeling homesick, but instead, you got a different call.

The call that came from the police station informed you that  your child faces charges for criminal mischief. You need to know two things -- what that means in Florida and whether it will affect his or her ability to remain in college since an arrest often triggers an administrative procedure at the university.

Was there reasonable suspicion to initate a DUI traffic stop?

If you are like most people here in Florida and elsewhere, you probably assume that law enforcement officers need probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. However, in reality, they only need a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity took place.

Initiating a traffic stop allows an officer to detain you -- briefly -- in order to conduct a limited investigation to confirm or deny those the suspicion that led to the stop. You should know that the officer cannot make an arrest based on reasonable suspicion. An arrest requires probable cause, which is a higher threshold.

Use of study drugs affects the body, the degree path and freedom

You are optimistic for your college-bound child's educational opportunities, but you also understand there is more to college life than classes and studying. In addition to talking to your child about choosing a degree and career path, you probably talked about the dangers of binge drinking, partying too much and other matters. What you may have neglected to discuss was the danger of study drugs.

The pressure to do well in college can become stressful and overwhelming. Balancing classes, studying and socializing takes its toll after a while, and some students turn to study drugs to get through it all. You may not want to think your child would take these drugs, but the culture on many college campuses these days makes it seem harmless, which is far from the truth.

Driving isn't necessary to be arrested for drinking too much

Spring break will start for students at Florida Gulf Coast University before you know it. Whether this is the first year your college student will participate in festivities, you caution him or her not to drink alcohol, especially to excess. However, you may understand that college-age kids may not heed your advice, so you advise your child to at least refrain from driving if he or she drinks.

However, your child doesn't have to drive to get into trouble for drinking. You could still get the call you dread, letting you know that police arrested your child for an alcohol-related offense. Now, your child may contend with not only a criminal charge, but also repercussions for a violation of the student code of conduct.

Would you rather play beer pong or earn your degree?

For many students, drinking alcohol is part of the college experience. But when your school's administration prohibits the excessive consumption of alcohol, including games like beer pong, participation in such activities could put your college degree at risk. This is especially true for students under the legal drinking age.

According to the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Office of Housing and Residence Life, residents who are younger than 21 may not consume, possess or provide alcohol. This may be no surprise, considering the state's underage drinking law. However, if you choose to drink while attending FGCU, you may face two different challenges - the legal ramifications of underage drinking and punishments decided through an administrative hearing.

Understanding what triggers domestic violence

The first thing to understand is that nothing excuses violence in the home. A spouse who uses violence as a way of controlling his or her partner may rightly face criminal charges and severe penalties. You probably understand this, but may still be facing accusations of abusing your partner or another member of your household.

It may be difficult for you to pinpoint the exact moment when your anger takes over your reason, and you may have many ways of justifying what happens after that. Understanding some of the common factors in domestic abuse situations may help you deal with your own emotions and even seek appropriate counseling.

Underage college students and alcohol consumption

More than likely, you sent your college-aged student to Florida Gulf Coast University with a stern warning about drinking alcohol or doing drugs, especially since he or she is not yet 21 years old. Of course, you probably wonder whether your child heeded your words of advice and warning.

The state of Florida takes underage drinking seriously, since it could lead to catastrophic accidents for those who choose to drive after drinking. This is just one of the reasons why the state has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol and those under age 21.

Domestic violence charges could result from a protective order

As you can imagine, police, prosecutors, judges and others in Florida's governmental agencies do not take allegations of domestic violence lightly. In fact, the legislature wrote the state's laws to protect and defend an alleged victim as much as possible. The consequences of a conviction for domestic violence could affect you, and follow you, for the rest of your life.

Your first indication that you could face criminal charges for domestic abuse could be the receipt of a protective order. You may not have considered your last interaction with the individual who sought the PO as violent. That is the tricky part of domestic violence accusations; physical contact doesn't have to take place. Your words or actions need only intimidate the other party into believing you capable of causing harm.

Learn How We Can Assist With Your Case

When you face serious criminal charges, do not wait to get a reputable lawyer on your side. Contact our Fort Myers office to learn how we can help. Located conveniently in the downtown area, our office is in a historic office building established in 1901.

Schedule a free confidential consultation with us. Call us at 239-245-9190 or call toll-free at 800-416-1434. Alternatively, use our convenient email contact form to explain your circumstances and request a return call from our lawyers.

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