Mass Criminal Law - Legal Information for College Students and Parents

As a parent of high school and college students, both in state and out Richard J. Sweeney is acutely aware that you may not know the laws of Massachusetts, and more importantly, what to do if you, or your son or daughter, should find yourself in trouble in Massachusetts. There is nothing more terrifying than being in another state and not knowing who to turn to. We work closely with schools and colleges, as well as local police departments and courts, to ensure that students avail themselves of the many first offender opportunities available to PREVENT YOU OR YOUR CHILD FROM “GETTING A RECORD.”

An experienced attorney can guide you through the court system and assist you in getting a hearing before a clerk magistrate or enrolling you in pre-trial and pre-arraignment programs designed to give young first time offenders the ability to correct their behavior without getting a criminal record.
Each and every college will discuss the local laws with the students at their first opportunity. The colleges located in and around Boston enforce the possession of alcohol laws more than the enclosed suburban campuses due to neighborhood involvement in keeping students from partying in local neighborhoods as opposed to on-campus parties. The Boston Police have a zero tolerance policy and tend to arrest each student for simply possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 or for any possession of illegal drugs. HOWEVER you should be aware that there are MANDATORY JAIL TERMS for certain drug offenses and there are programs for first offenders. IT IS NOT WISE TO PAY THE FINE AND WALK OUT OF COURT!!! This will cause you to have a record that will follow you for the rest of your life, will impact on your status as a resident of a dorm in certain schools, affect your immigration status, your ability to have, receive financial aid or possess certain professional licenses after you graduate. You are entitled to a first offender or diversion program for certain drug and alcohol cases including possession of drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence and other offenses. Also it is important to note that urinating in public by itself does have negative consequences but it is extremely important to have an attorney involved to have the charge amended to one that will not make you a candidate for the SEX OFFENDER LIST.

In short, do not speak to the police if arrested. Ask for an attorney and DO NOT attempt to handle the case yourself in court. We have actually been in court with clients when other students, with the aid of their own attorneys not as familiar with Massachusetts’ Courts and we have watched these students, plead guilty, pay a fine and leave. THEY NOW HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS AND LOST THEIR CHANCE AT A FIRST OFFENDER PROGRAM, while our clients are paying the same fine but PRIOR TO ARRAIGNMENT!!!!! NO CRIMINAL RECORD!!

This page is not long enough to outline all of the remedies available nor to discuss how each school or university handles these different crimes. As parents and attorneys we know that you need some free initial advice and the time to have someone explain your options. If you, a friend or your student gets stopped by the police please do not give any statements and call the experts at Sweeney & Associates. We know the law and we know the courts. Help us help you.

Richard J. Sweeney is a retired Sergeant from the Boston Police Department who spent many years dealing with students in the Kenmore Square, Allston/Brighton neighborhoods as well as directing a drug unit prior to his retirement. As a former hockey coach of high school and college students he has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with high schools, prep schools and colleges when their students get in trouble.

You are paying a tremendous amount for the best education you can get. Don’t make the mistake of a lifetime and not get the best attorney because you think you know what to do. We have been contacted by CEO’s, politicians, judges, attorneys and corporate counsel from more than half of the United States and Puerto Rico as well as foreign nationals to have us represent their children, or their client’s children for everything from possession of alcohol to sex crimes. We have our own immigration specialist, our own investigator and our own well-chosen associates that allow us to deal with your problem with individual care for you and your family during trying times. Call the experts before you make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. Choose your lawyer as you chose your school.

We welcome calls from new students, or parents of new students, that may have individual questions.

Contact us at (617) 300-0212.

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