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Minor conviction can cause college graduates major headaches

Just about everybody these days knows that a felony conviction can follow you well into the future, affecting such diverse things as whether or not you can vote or own a gun, where you can live and what sort of job you can get.

What most college students don't realize, however, is that those minor misdemeanor convictions that they might rack up over the wild days of spring break can eventually cost them a job once they graduate.

Studies show that one out of three American adults have been arrested at least once by age 23. For many college students, those arrests take place during the chaotic days of spring break when they go out of town to party at favorite co-ed gathering spots like Port Aransas.

This year, for example, Port Aransas police made 235 arrests in just one week as college students partied. The majority of the arrests were for public intoxication, driving while intoxicated, minor drug possession or drug consumption charges and the possession of drug paraphernalia. There were relatively few felony arrests or assault charges.

Unfortunately, some of those students will go on to graduate into a competitive job market or a highly-restricted field that requires intensive background checks, and they will find themselves shut out of their intended careers -- all because of a poor decision made during spring break.

Prior convictions, even for misdemeanors, can make employers question whether or not a potential employee has a hidden drug or alcohol problem. Some new graduates compound the problem by omitting the information about their prior arrest, thinking it won't show up in a background report because it isn't a felony. When it does, the employer has reason to question their integrity and honesty.

That makes avoiding a criminal conviction over a minor arrest a top priority whenever possible. Failing that, students should try to get their records expunged, if possible, prior to starting their job search. That will completely remove the offense from their record. Typically, courts are most willing to expunge petty crimes, which are misdemeanors that carry a potential sentence of less than six months and a fine of less than $500.

If you were arrested during spring break, a good criminal defense attorney is an important investment in your future. Make an appointment to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

Source: www.mysanantonio.com, "Port Aransas police made over 200 arrests during spring break 'chaos' in 2017," Madalyn Mendoza, March 21, 2017

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