Teenage rebellion, though common, can sometimes incur serious consequences. When young people break the law while displaying reckless behavior, they may end up facing school suspension, sanctions, or even criminal charges.

If your child is in trouble at school or has been charged with a criminal offense, a Hennepin County student defense lawyer could help. A dedicated attorney could resolve your family’s legal issues by assessing your child’s case and fighting for their rights in any judicial proceeding.

Student Offenses Involving Alcohol

One of the most prevalent legal charges levied against high school and college students face is underaged drinking. The drinking age in Minnesota is 21, and students under that age who possess, purchase or consume alcohol may face penalties. If a young person drives while under the influence of alcohol, the potential consequences become much more severe.

Not-A-Drop Law

The Minnesota Not-A-Drop law makes it a crime for anyone under 21 to register any amount of alcohol in their blood if they are driving. This zero-tolerance stance is a misdemeanor that could result in a 90-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $1,000. Offenders under 18 are prosecuted in juvenile court.

Driving privileges are also curtailed. The courts will suspend a Not-A-Drop first-time offender’s license for 30 days and 180 days for a subsequent offense. Unlicensed student offenders face future restrictions obtaining a driver’s permit or provisional and full driver’s licenses.

Driving While Intoxicated

Minnesota’s blood alcohol concentration limit is .08 percent, which means a driver with any amount over .08 is considered impaired and can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). The penalties for a DWI conviction depend on the number of past offenses and the circumstances of the current one. Although offenders 15 and younger are prosecuted in juvenile court, student offenders who are 16 or 17 are prosecuted as adults and receive adult punishment.

If convicted of a DWI, an underage offender’s license will be suspended for 180 days, and it may be difficult for them to later get a learner’s permit and a provisional or full driver’s license. Parents of students charged with impaired driving should contact a local criminal defense attorney to navigate the aftermath of these charges.

College Infractions and Investigations

College and university students must adhere to a code of conduct defining acceptable behavior on campus. In many instances, a student’s defiance of the code can result in the involvement of campus police and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. For example, a Title IX offense would lead to both police units investigating a student’s behavior.

Under Title IX, schools that receive federal funding are required to investigate reports of sexual violence on campus, independent of criminal investigations, or lose federal funding. The issue is often complicated by the additional rules Title IX imposes on what constitutes consent before sex. If a student is accused of inappropriate or violent sexual behavior, the college will conduct interrogations, interview witnesses, collect evidence, and conduct a disciplinary hearing, which could contribute to criminal charges being filed. The investigation could also lead to:

  • Probation period
  • Suspension from college or university
  • Expulsion from school

If convicted, a student may face lifelong consequences such as sex offender registration, restrictions on housing choices, and fewer career opportunities. Because so much hinges on the outcome of a student disciplinary hearing or on refuting criminal charges, the family of an accused student should contact a Hennepin County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Hennepin County Student Defense Lawyer

A young person’s disciplinary problems and petty crimes can quickly escalate to offenses resulting in expulsion from school or criminal charges.

If your child is facing criminal charges or disciplinary action at school, a Hennepin County student defense lawyer could explain the differences between the types of proceedings and discuss the best strategies for each situation. Your child’s future may be at stake, so don’t hesitate to call a skilled legal professional. Schedule your initial consultation today.