No parent looks forward to a phone call about his or her college student child getting in trouble, especially during final exams. After all the time and money spent on a college semester, getting pulled over towards the end, for example, can undermine everything. Whether the call comes from a law enforcement officer or your child, parents should prepare a responsive strategy.

First, getting upset is natural. Who wouldn’t get upset if their child was pulled over for an avoidable reason, like a DUI? Depending on the circumstances, a DUI or an arrest could lead to serious legal repercussions, not to mention school disciplinary actions. A fine, suspended license and even jail time could result, with a conviction potentially derailing school and a post-college career path.

For these reasons, it is important to talk with your college-age child and find out exactly what happened. Learning from mistakes is what life is all about, and everyone, even mature parents,  have made mistakes. Gathering details also can help determine your child’s rights under the circumstances. For instance, based on what your child says, did the officer have probable cause to pull him or her over? What if your child wasn’t drinking and driving, but was pulled over for some other unexpected reason?

Ask your child what the officer said, how he or she responded, and what other information was provided, particularly if he or she was arrested and released from custody. From a legal perspective, the best thing a parent can do is to try to learn about the incident and then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Dealing with school officials is another matter. Universities have broad policies pertaining to missed final exams, with the most lenient aspects applying to excused absences. At many Florida universities, a student with a death in the family, or perhaps a serious illness, can receive as much as sixty days to complete a make-up exam. The best option for an unexcused missed exam may be to seek an “incomplete,” rather than a failing grade. Again, your attorney may be able to help you speak with the school as well.

Depending on the institution harsh penalties may apply, even for criminal misdemeanor convictions. Some universities and private colleges may require expulsion, suspension or lost financial aid and scholarships. These are all the more reason to get the facts from your child and contact an attorney to begin the process of making your case.

We are here for you in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas to answer questions just like these. Do not wait to contact us any time of day or night to get the help you need.