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College crimes still lead to penalties: Protection is necessary

In college, it's normal for teens and young adults to make mistakes. The important thing for your children to understand is that those mistakes could end up leading to criminal charges, even if it's a first offense and honest mistake.

There are several crimes that occur more commonly on college campuses than others. For instance, burglary is the most common crime on large campuses with 10,000 or more students, according to 2011 statistics from The Office of Postsecondary Education.

Another common crime that takes place on college campuses is motor vehicle theft. Many people head out with friends to go drinking or leave their vehicles unlocked believing that the campus is safe. While there is security on the college grounds, security won't prevent all instances of motor vehicle theft.

Other common crimes that take place on college campuses include assault, drunk driving and breaking and entering. In any case, these are often mistakes made by young adults who are intoxicated or making poor decisions while exploring their independence away from their parents.

Should you get legal help if you commit a crime on a college campus?

In most cases, yes. Unless you know that the situation is being handled by the college administration and won't affect your criminal record, it's in your best interests to talk to an attorney. Even if the case is only headed to the college administration, it helps to have a legal representative to protect your interests.

College-aged teens and adults often make errors in judgment, and courts recognize this. If this is the first time an individual has been in trouble with the law, the courts may be lenient with the right evidence that the person won't reoffend if let off lightly. This is good news for those who are charged, since a criminal record makes working, going to school and even finding a home more difficult.

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