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How Intervention Programs Can Help USC Students who Risk Career Threatening Criminal Records


As Columbia criminal defense attorneys we have an impressive track record in helping University of South Carolina students after they have been arrested for crimes such as underage drinking, using false IDs or drunkenness.

A recent study by an academic from USC suggests large numbers of young people have been arrested by the time they are in their early 20s. The rate of offending is higher for young men than women. An arrest can lead to obstacles that will impact them for the rest of their lives. The study found roughly a third of the population ends up being arrested by their early 20s.

Arrests can prevent young men receiving financial aid, education, and jobs -- roadblocks the new University of South Carolina (USC) study finds stand in the way of many young adults. Our Columbia criminal defense attorneys are well familiar with how even a non-violent offense can mar a young career and we work at getting students into diversionary programs.

"Roughly a third of the population gets arrested by their early 20's," said Professor Robert Brame, a criminology professor at USC and lead author of the study.

Brame's study used statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He found that 49 percent of black males have been arrested by the age 23. That's compared to 38 percent of white males. The survey did not include arrests for minor traffic violations. The study also found 44 percent of Hispanic males in the USA have been arrested by the age of 23.

"Criminal histories can present real barriers and so it's important to understand the extent to which those barriers are facing America's youth," said Brame.

Charles Brown of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition was not surprised by the racial differences. He said cycles that lead to crime can only be broken by getting fathers involved again in the lives of their children.

"It's a known fact that if you have an actively involved father in your life, teenage pregnancy, committing crimes, all of that will decrease," Brown told KOAA5. "We try to eliminate or break that curse, so to speak, to get them involved in the lives of their children."

The research also found:

  • By the age of 18, 30 percent of black males, 26 percent of Hispanic males and 22 percent of white males have already been arrested.
  • While the prevalence of arrest rose for females from age 18 to 23, the variation between races was less marked than among males At age 18, arrest rates were 12 percent for white females and 11.8 percent and 11.9 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively. By the age of 23, arrest rates were 20 percent for white females and 18 percent and 16 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively.

At the Masella Law Firm we represent many younger people particularly in relation to drug and alcohol offenses and crimes of theft which are the most prevalent crimes in South Carolina. In terms of USC students we have been successful in getting tickets dismissed and in getting students into diversionary program such as AEP or PTI.

Diversion programs provide an alternative to traditional prosecution. They are offered throughout the state; however, each circuit has different diversion. Diversion can involve doing community service, attending counseling sessions and/or making charitable contributions and restitution.

AEP is the Alcohol Education Program. It's an alternative to pleading guilty or having a trial before a Judge in court and is designed to combat underage drinking and high-risk behavior.

PTI is Pre Trial Intervention. It's designed for first time offenders charged with non-violent offenses. It includes community service, a prison tour and programs that are specific to the charge such as alcohol education for an alcohol-linked offense.

If you are a student who has been caught with marijuana on the college campus, or an alcohol offense, or if you are a parent of a student in trouble with the law, we are there for you. Our aggressive representation could safeguard your future or that of your child.

We are well aware of how harsh sentences can destroy the careers of college students who we represent. If you need vigorous representation in a criminal case call the Masella Law Firm at 803.748.9990.

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