What to do if your college kid gets arrested on spring break

What to do if your college kid gets arrested on spring break

On Behalf of Wampler & Passanise

With spring fast approaching, so is spring break for Missouri colleges. Your college student is probably gearing up for a week of fun and relaxation. It may also be likely that your son or daughter will be partying or engaging in other activities that can lead to trouble.

As a parent, what do you do when your college kid gets arrested? What if it happens in another state? Become familiar with the answer now to avoid making a mistake when the time comes.

How to respond

After you get the phone call notifying you of the arrest, take these preliminary steps:

  • Post bail: You can release your son or daughter from jail by posting bail. The amount depends on the charges. If you cannot afford it, a bail bond company can pay it for a fee. 
  • Call an attorney: If your college kid has not done so already, call a criminal defense attorney with experience in the area the charges are in to discuss your options and a strategy. The sooner you meet with a lawyer, the better.
  • Support your child: Your college student may not understand the lifelong implications of a criminal record, whether it entails an arrest or a felony conviction. Encourage your child to cooperate, to stay out of further trouble and to follow legal advice for the best outcome. It is much harder to expunge a criminal record than it is to avoid a conviction. However, with recent changes in law, an expungement is not impossible if necessary.
  • Get professional help if needed: If the charges were for something like illegal drugs or drunk driving, and you discover the problem is more serious than you thought (especially for a first-time offense), get professional help for your son or daughter to prevent further issues in the future.

Out-of-state arrests

When the arrest occurs in a place that is not your child’s home state, it is best to hire a lawyer in the state where the arrest happens. With misdemeanor charges, a local lawyer may be able to make court appearances so your college student does not have to stay there and miss school, work and other obligations.