My suggestion is to have your daughter at Penn State (who is really YOU, right? - posting from State College, PA sort of gives that away) call up the receptionist at the law school there and describe your problem and ask if she could connect you to any pro bono legal service they offer in criminal law for Penn State students. My guess is the law school runs a legal aid service you could use to help extricate you from this mess. Hope you learned a lesson from this and do not become a repeat offender. The second and third strikes in criminal activities can result in increasingly harsh penalties.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
Legal Aid is not an option. The Centre County Public Defender's Office might be. Application with that office should be done without delay. One way of another counsel should be secured. There are some really fine criminal defense attorneys in your area who participate here. I would expect one or more of them to respond to your question. When they do, reach out to them. You will probably have an opportunity to speak privately in an initial consultation without cost other than a bit of your time. To me it would be the best expenditure of time you could make on behalf of your daughter. Good luck to you both.
There are a number of ways this could be handled. Assuming that she is charged (credit card fraud or theft by deception), the fact that she is a first offender could allow her to participate in a diversionary program (ARD), which would allow her to be on probation, do some community service, and earn a dismissal of the charges.
If charged, she will need a lawyer, from the Centre County Public Defender, or privately.
This is not intended to provide legal advice about your situation - just a few casual remarks about a legal question. We are a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy.
I would strongly recommend she contact a criminal defense lawyer, even if criminal charges haven't been filed yet. The law school does have a clinic in cooperation with the Centre County Public Defender's office, so that might be an option for her.
It is also important to note that since your daughter used an id Link, as opposed to a regular credit card, she may be facing disciplinary action from the University, in addition to any criminal charges.
Our law firm has experience, both in the criminal justice system, and the Office of Student Conduct at University Park. Feel free to give us a call (814.234.9500), so we can discuss your daughter's case further. Our initial consultation is always free.
The responses provided on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice regarding an individual situation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and Jeffrey S. Helffrich, Esquire, or between the reader and Masorti and Donaldson, P.C.
It is highly likely that your daughter will be charged with Access Device Fraud, which, regrettably, is likely to be a misdemeanor offense. If either the Penn State or State College police are the investigating agencies, they will contact the Penn State Office of Student Conduct. This means that your daughter will face punishment from both the criminal system and the school disciplinary system.
That is the bad news. The next issue is what is going to happen. Most likely, with regard to the criminal charges, your daughter would be eligible to participate in a first time offender program known as ARD that would allow for the dismissal and expungement of the charges. I will attach links to my website that contain an FAQ for ARD. With regard to Student Conduct, it is highly unlikely that they will seek to suspend or remove your daughter from school. They will want to meet with her and hear her side of the story, and, based upon her statements, they will issue violations of the student code of conduct along with recommended sanctions. To summarize, I believe that your daughter will take some lumps through this, but she will be okay overall. As a PSU alum and attorney in this area for almost 10 years, I have handled a lot of cases similar to this.
Give me a call to discuss.
Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
JD Law, P.C.
State College, PA 16801
The responses provided on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice regarding an individual situation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and JD Law, P.C.