Experienced Tolland County/Windham County Student Crimes Attorney
You've just received a horrifying phone call informing you that your child has been arrested! Now what?
If your son or daughter has been arrested, the Law Office of Jerome Paun can help you and your child.
Criminal defense attorney Paun has defended many school students against criminal, juvenile delinquency, and motor vehicle charges, including: assault, sexual assault, drug possession and sales, burglary, larceny, breach of peace, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, possession of alcohol by a minor, possession of false identification, operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and many other felony and misdemeanor charges. Jerome Paun, our attorney , has many years of experience and is prepared to protect the rights of your son or daughter.
In addition to the criminal charges, your child may experience other serious consequences. Your student may face disciplinary action by the school, including expulsion or suspension from classes. Your child may be evicted and barred from college dormitory housing. A felony conviction may make your child ineligible for federal student loans or other financial aid. Any criminal conviction may make student aid more difficult to obtain. It is important to properly dispose of criminal charges in a way that minimizes adverse collateral repercussions to your student.
Students, especially college students, pose special challenges for defense counsel in addition to the usual challenges of defending against criminal charges. Your college student charged with a crime in court will usually also be called to answer alleged violations of the student code of conduct and school rules by the college or university. Similarly, elementary, middle school and high school students are routinely interrogated by school teachers, principals and vice-principals in connection with school discipline that could also result in criminal charges in either adult or juvenile court. This may seriously complicate your child's criminal defense in court because the school interrogations and proceedings occur much more quickly than the court proceedings. Constitutional safeguards, such as, the right to remain silent and not incriminate oneself, can easily be lost if your child talks to school teachers and/or administrators or appears at a school disciplinary hearing and gives or makes a statement that might be construed as an admission or confession later in court. Such statements, while they may be helpful to preserving student status, may nevertheless be used by prosecutors in court to secure your child's criminal conviction. If a criminal conviction is obtained by the prosecution, your child is much more likely to suffer the adverse collateral consequences previously mentioned. Defending students against criminal charges requires defense counsel to be especially careful in not only resolving the criminal charges in court but also counseling the student to minimize adverse collateral consequences in school.
If your child was under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged crime, in most cases, he or she should be charged as a youthful offender . Being treated as a youthful offender has the distinct advantage of your child's case being treated as confidential. Courtroom proceedings in youthful offender cases can be closed to the public and conducted in a courtroom with only court staff present, if the defendant so chooses. Court records in youthful offender cases are also sealed from public scrutiny. If your child is discharged from court supervision and reaches the age of 21 without acquiring a subsequent felony conviction, his/her youthful offender records will be automatically erased by operation of law and your child will not have a criminal record . Once criminal records are erased in Connecticut, the person with the erased criminal record is deemed to have been never arrested and may even swear to that in court. Obviously, treatment as a youthful offender offers very significant advantages for students in or headed for college.
If your child was under 17 years of age at the time of the alleged crime, in most cases, he or she and a parent or guardian will be summoned to juvenile court. Juvenile court proceedings are always confidential and closed to the public. Similar to youthful offender cases in adult court, juvenile court proceedings and records are confidential and sealed from public view. Future employment and/or schooling will not be hindered by properly resolved juvenile delinquency charges because the juvenile court records are confidential and sealed. If you and your child have been summoned to juvenile court or your child was under 17 years old at the time of the alleged crime, please click on and read the juvenile defense link on this website to learn more about how the Law Office of Jerome Paun can defend your child against juvenile delinquency charges.
Though attorneys are not permitted to represent students at college or university disciplinary hearings, Attorney Jerome Paun can help your UConn, ECSU, Connecticut College, or community college student prepare for such disciplinary hearings, and will do what he can to defend your child against college or university disciplinary actions.
The Law Office of Jerome Paun understands that there is a lot at stake in these cases and is standing by, ready to help. For a free initial in-person or telephone consultation, call toll-free 866.787.0119 or send us an e-mail .
FAQ For Parents
Q. My husband and I live in upstate New York, and our son is attending ECSU. Do we need to come all the way to Connecticut to meet with you?
A. No. We can schedule initial consultations with you by telephone, then meet with your student in our law office here in Willimantic, Connecticut. We understand that you are probably upset with your student but still want to defend your child against unfounded charges or minimize adverse consequences to which they may be exposed. We are willing to follow-up by telephone with you as the case unfolds if your child authorizes us to do so.
Q. My daughter was arrested and we are paying for her legal defense, how involved can we, as her parents, be in her case?
A. We understand your concern and desire to be involved. However, your child, as our client, is protected by the attorney-client privilege. That means that anything your student tells us is not only confidential but also privileged and may not be shared with anyone. The same legal protection does not apply to you. It is very important that your son or daughter tell you very little about the incident because you could be called as witnesses for the prosecution and compelled to testify against your child about things he or she may have told you about his or her case. However, we will do our best to keep you up to date with the developments of the case.
Q. My son is under investigation by the police, should we retain criminal defense counsel now?
A. In our experience it is never too early to involve a criminal defense attorney when a person is under investigation. Attorney Jerome Paun will have some input into the police investigation if you retain him as counsel early in the process. We are happy to explain the entire legal process, including police investigations and the courts to you, and how pre-arrest legal representation may avoid arrest entirely or humiliation and other adverse consequences if an arrest becomes unavoidable.
Q. What will happen to my daughter's loans if she is convicted?
A. If convicted of drug possession or another felony, she may no longer qualify for federal student loans. Conviction may also affect college scholarships. She may re-qualify for federal student loans by completing a drug rehabilitation program or re-applying after a waiting period. We work hard to avoid convictions that will jeopardise a college education.
Q. Can my son or daughter stay in college during the proceedings?
A. That depends on a number of factors, including whether the alleged crime: took place on campus, is of a serious nature, resulted in harm or injury to another student or the school's property, etc. Your student may face various kinds of disciplinary action by the university.
Q. Can Attorney Jerome Paun represent my child at the school's disciplinary hearing?
A. No. Most colleges and universities, UConn and ECSU included, prohibit representation of students facing school disciplinary hearings despite the fact that appearances by students at such hearings may jeopardize their constitutional rights in court. Attorney Paun can provide experienced counsel on how to prepare for school proceedings in such a way as to protect your child's constitutional rights while still maximizing his or her chances for a more favorable outcome in the school disciplinary hearing.
If your son or daughter has been arrested, please call please call us toll-free at 866.787.0119 or send us an e-mail to arrange a free criminal defense consultation.