As we've discussed in past blog posts, being charged with a crime can have serious negative consequences. Those who have been convicted of a felony are usually required to disclose that criminal history to employers, which can easily take them out of the running for a prospective job. Landlords, too, may be reluctant to offer a lease to someone who's been found guilty of a crime.
High school and college students have an even tougher road ahead. Younger students trying to gain admission to selective colleges and universities may have a very difficult time getting in with a criminal record. Those who find themselves accused of a crime would be wise to do everything in their legal power to avoid a conviction, or at least one on serious charges. For many Wisconsin residents in their teens or 20s, these might include drug charges.
A group of 10 high school students in Pulaski, Wisconsin, recently found themselves in this situation. The students were expelled after being accused of selling prescription drugs at school. They're expected to be charged with selling schedule 2 narcotics, most of which were drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder, according to school and police officials. Most of the students -- including seven freshmen, one sophomore and a junior -- will likely be charged as juveniles, but one 17-year-old, a high school senior, could be charged as an adult.
The accusations came after other students told school administrators that they witnessed a possible drug buy. The students who reported the incident said they overheard two people discussing the sale of pills and saw money change hands. School staffers said they're confident everyone involved has been identified.
The sale of prescription drugs is a widespread problem -- not just in the suspects' high school, but in schools across Wisconsin and nationwide. But as many would agree, putting people behind bars for drug offenses is largely ineffective and in the case of these students, extremely damaging to an individual's future.
Each of the students charged will want to seek the help of an attorney with experience in defense of drug crimes. Even if the accusations are true, these students have much more to gain from learning from their mistakes and being allowed to finish their education than from a punitive sentence that leaves them with few education and employment options.
Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "9 Pulaski students expelled for selling drugs; 10 may face charges," Patti Zarling, Jan. 25, 2013