Each year in March and April, college students arrive in Sarasota and the surrounding area in droves to enjoy our sunshine, beaches, water, and nightlife and take a break from wintry weather elsewhere. As students pour into the area for spring break revelries, it’s inevitable that some will be arrested for crimes such as underage alcohol possession, possession of a fake ID, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief.

Additionally, Sarasota and Manatee counties are home to a number of colleges and satellite campuses, meaning the area has a population of thousands of students who live here during their school year — and who may run into trouble with police while out trying to have a good time.

Common Underage & Student Crimes

Just like anyone else, a student can encounter trouble with the law in any number of ways. However, students tend to be charged with certain crimes more often than others. Some of these offenses are crimes because a person is under age 21, which makes college students more vulnerable to being arrested simply because of their age.

Common charges faced by college students in Sarasota and the surrounding area include:

Possession of Alcohol

With very few exceptions, it’s illegal in Florida for anyone under 21 to possess alcohol. This offense can be a second or first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence, probation, and/or a fine. You could also lose your driver’s license.

Possession of a Fake ID

Possession of a false driver’s license or identification card can be a serious felony charge in Florida. Punishment for a conviction may include a prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines.

Property Crimes

Offenses involving damage to property, such as criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, and arson, can be misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the charge and the circumstances. Punishments may include a jail or prison sentence, house arrest, probation, and costly fines.

Disorderly Conduct

Engaging in conduct that outrages the public decency, breaches the peace, or involves brawling or fighting is a misdemeanor crime in Florida, known as disorderly conduct. Punishment upon conviction can include a jail sentence, probation, and a fine.

Penalties for Underage Crimes in Florida

Students often expect that a charge like underage alcohol possession or disorderly conduct will result in a slap on the wrist and that they can forget about it and move on after paying a fine. However, these types of offenses can result in a jail sentence and a permanent criminal record, which can affect a student’s life and career far into the future.

Depending on the nature of the charge, some of the consequences of a conviction for a Florida underage or student crime can include:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Expensive fines and court fees
  • House arrest or probation requiring monthly reporting, community service work, and classes
  • A permanent criminal record that shows up on future background checks for employment or housing
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Denial of a professional license, which can affect a student’s ability to work in his or her chosen career
  • Immigration consequences for students who are non-citizens, including loss of an immigration or student visa, loss of a green card, denial of a citizenship application, and deportation

Other Consequences of Underage & Student Crimes

In addition to criminal penalties, such as jail time and fines, a student also may face discipline from his or her college or university, which can end a student’s progress toward a degree.

Many local colleges and universities have policies that allow them to discipline students who are charged with certain types of offenses — regardless of whether the offense was committed on campus. For example, a possession of alcohol or fake ID charge could have consequences for a student’s education that include suspension or expulsion.

The best option for a student who wants to avoid discipline from his or her school because of a Sarasota criminal charge is to seek help from a qualified Sarasota underage crimes lawyer. A lawyer can help a student avoid or minimize the consequences of a criminal conviction in a Sarasota or Manatee county courtroom, and may help with any disciplinary action the student faces from their college.

Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is prepared to aggressively defend criminal charges against students at:

  • State College of Florida
  • University of South Florida
  • New College of Florida
  • Keiser College
  • Florida State University Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training
  • Ringling College of Art & Design
  • Eckerd College
  • FSU College of Medicine
  • Any other college or university

Attorney Erika Valcarcel is committed to helping students preserve their futures by working to get their criminal charges dismissed or reduced.

Out-of-State Students Charged With Crimes

For students who live outside of Florida and travel in for spring break, criminal charges in Sarasota can be especially stressful. Erika Valcarcel can represent students from any state who have been charged with a crime in Sarasota or Manatee counties. Valcarcel can be your voice in court and explain what to expect from the Florida criminal process.

In some circumstances, Valcarcel can appear on your behalf without your having to return to Florida for a court date. It may be possible to get your charge dismissed or negotiate a reduction of your charge that means you don’t have to serve jail time in Florida.

"Valcarcel is the best you will find."

Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is the best you will find. Erika Valcarcel is completely honest and straightforward. She took a huge burden off my shoulders many times during difficult periods of my life knowing that she was doing everything that that could and should be done. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice has always been right on the mark. She is worth every penny of the fee she charges. You cannot go wrong securing her services.

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Contact an Experienced Sarasota Underage Crimes Lawyer

If you are a student, or the parent of a student, charged with a crime, an experienced Sarasota underage crimes lawyer can offer help and hope. A skilled lawyer may be able to get the criminal charge dismissed or reduced and help you or your child to avoid the serious consequences of a conviction through a diversion program.

Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel has extensive experience handling misdemeanor and felony criminal cases in Sarasota and Manatee counties. She has significant trial experience as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, which means she has a unique perspective on criminal charges and how to build a strong defense.

Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today at (941) 363-7900 to schedule a free consultation about your case.