A run-in with the police is almost never a pleasant experience. Whether you are the one being arrested, or police just want to ask you a few questions, speaking with police can make most people nervous. This is especially true for young adults like Penn State students, many of whom have never had to deal with the police before.
Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity and 16 members are challenging the case against them in a preliminary hearing on the February hazing death of a pledge. According to a police detective testifying at the hearing, the 19-year-old pledge drank a dangerous amount of alcohol before falling down a set of basement steps. The detective says the young man's medical condition then went untreated. He died after suffering a skull fracture, spleen damage, and bleeding in the brain and abdomen.
I never even touched him, so I know I didn't commit assault.
One thing we certainly know from a deep well of personal experience and strong legal advocacy on behalf of students is that our representation often has both immediate and longer-term effects.
If you perchance happen to be a PSU student, you're undoubtedly a unique individual possessed of curiosity, a passion for learning and excitement for the future. Candidly, many older adults envy you for those traits and deeply respect your drive and aspirations (with your parents, of course, thinking about such things all the time).
In addition to misdemeanor and felony charges, Pennsylvania also has a category of offenses known as "summary offenses." These are less serious criminal offenses. However, a conviction could still mean spending up to 90 days in jail and paying a $300 fine.
As a college student, you have already encountered many new life experiences, and there are more to come. That also means there will be some mistakes. Most people accept that college students should have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Unfortunately, the law in Pennsylvania still regards some supposedly "harmless" mistakes as deserving of harsh punishment.