It’s graduation time around Southern Connecticut and Fairfield County. Graduating seniors at Fairfield University, Yale University, Quinnipiac University, Southern Connecticut and UConn Stamford are gearing up for a few weeks of partying before they go into the working world. But watch out college grads – campus police at all of these universities and colleges are not taking any chances, and will be quick to hand out summonses and make arrests for rowdy partygoers who just don’t know when to say when.
So as college students hit the graduation party circuits around Connecticut, here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to ensure you get to the finish line safely…
DON’T Be Disrespectful to Campus Police – “Yes” Them Till They Leave You Alone
No matter which college or university you attend in Connecticut, campus police are real police with real authority to arrest you for 53a-181 Breach of Peace or 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct in Fairfield, New Haven, Stamford, Hamden, or Danbury. Understand that at graduation time, campus police do not want to spoil your fun, and are really not interested in locking you up during your graduation weekend. They just want to make sure everyone is safe. As many of the top Fairfield and Stamford criminal lawyers and attorneys will tell you, if you are approached by campus police, listen to them attentively, be respectful and compliant, and agree to whatever suggestions they are making so you can end the interaction with them as quickly as possible. (Always remember, however, that you have the right to remain silent and call an attorney). If you start arguing with them or give them a reason to think you are intoxicated to a point where you cannot comply with their orders, then they may detain or arrest you.
DO Select a Designated Driver for the Evening or Use Uber or a Taxi Service
In some of the suburban towns where graduation parties are held (Danbury, Stamford, Fairfield, Hamden), party-hoppers will sometimes have a few graduation parties to attend in one night. Be sure to select a designated driver for the evening, or line up taxi service, or car service. Uber (www.uber.com) has just launched its services in Connecticut so download the app. With Uber, a safe ride to your next graduation party is just a click away.
DO Remember that Marijuana is Still Illegal Even If It Has Been Decriminalized
With all the buzz around the country about states relaxing their marijuana enforcement laws, many college students think they can smoke freely around college campuses. They are incorrect. Under the recently enacted marijuana laws in Connecticut that decriminalize marijuana—specifically C.G.S. § 21a-279a and C.G.S. § 21a-267(d)—pleading guilty to possessing marijuana and possessing marijuana paraphernalia in Connecticut are infractions that will forever remain on your background checks. So before you check the guilty box on these tickets and send in a check (hoping your parents will never find out), think again: these marijuana infraction convictions will likely come up on every employer background check, housing application, loan application, and life insurance background check. So definitely call a top Stamford marijuana criminal lawyer prior to pleading guilty by mail or internet.
DON’T Go Into Court Alone on a 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct / 53a-181 Breach of Peace Ticket
Many Connecticut college and university students are given tickets and summonses for 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct and 53a-181 Breach of Peace in the Second Degree. While these tickets look just like speeding tickets and don’t seem so serious, they are. Each of these charges are misdemeanor crimes. They are punishable by jail, probation and court fines. I’ve seen many Connecticut college and university students try to go it alone to court because they don’t want to tell their parents, fearful of the punishment they may receive at home. However, the punishment in court is much worse. Prosecutors may lean on you to burn a one-time-only first-time offender diversionary program like the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (the “AR Program”). A top Stamford, Danbury or Fairfield criminal lawyer will tell you that if there’s a chance your criminal lawyer can negotiate a resolution of your case without burning the AR Program, you should explore that first. Typically, you only get one AR Program your whole life. To blow and burn it at such a young age for such a minor crime like 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct or 53a-181 Breach of Peace may not be in your best interest. Therefore call a criminal lawyer before you set foot in criminal court, even if it means getting your parents involved.
So Enjoy Graduation and Avoid 53a-181 Breach of Peace & 53a-182 Disorderly Conduct Charges
Hopefully the Dos and Don’ts above will help you survive graduation without any trouble from Connecticut campus police. However, if you are arrested at Fairfield University, Yale University, UConn Stamford, Southern Connecticut, or Quinnipiac, then give a Disorderly Conduct criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Our rates are reasonable and we are available 24-7 to take your call. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.