LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Brian Christopher Jordan | Apr 3, 2013

East Stroudsburg University Students - What To Do If Charged With A Summary Offense

If you are a student at East Stroudsburg University and are cited for a summary offense, you may have concerns about what to do and how to handle the situation. Common questions are: "Do I need a lawyer? Will this be on my record? Am I facing jail time?"

There are two types of summary offenses: Non-Traffic Offenses, and Traffic Offenses. It is not uncommon for ESU students to be involved in something very minor and be charged with such an offense. The right attorney can make a difference.

Summary Traffic Offenses/Citations

Examples of summary traffic offenses are speeding, careless driving, driving without a license, driving under a suspended license, etc. The penalties vary and can potentially jeopardize your driving privileges, insurance, and driving record. Some offenses call for jail time and license suspensions. If you are cited for a Traffic Summary Offense and simply plead guilty, you leave no ability to potentially mitigate your situation and/or avoid automatic exposure to harsh penalties. Consulting with a lawyer who is familiar with Traffic Summary Offenses can help you decide what your best options are.

Summary Non-Traffic Offenses/Citations

Examples of summary non-traffic offenses are underage drinking, public drunkenness, public urination, disorderly conduct, retail theft, and harassment. These offenses are punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $300. If you plead guilty to any of these charges, you could put yourself at risk for stiff fines and the charge will show up on a criminal background check - even if you avoid jail time. Some can also trigger license suspensions. Consulting with a lawyer who is familiar with Non-Traffic Summary Offenses can help you decide what your best options are.

WHAT TO DO IF CHARGED

Do not just plead guilty. Talk first to an attorney who handles these matters. Do not go to court alone expecting an attorney to be appointed to represent you. You are not entitled to free legal representation for summary offenses.

You may be able to avoid potential jail time, harsh fines, license suspensions, and the risk of charges appearing on your criminal record. Further, you may be able to avoid negative impacts a summary citation could have on your status as a student at ESU. It is possible to have charges dismissed and ultimately expunged from your record. It is worth talking with an attorney.

Additional resources provided by the author

Brian C. Jordan, Esquire http://www.csmlawyer.com (570)421-5568 [email protected]

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