If your son or daughter is going off to college this fall, you are probably filled with many different emotions. You are likely astonished at how fast the years have flown by, excited for your son or daughter’s future, and a little sad that there will be one less person at the dining table (until the holidays, at least).

It is normal to also feel a little worried about sending your child off to make decisions for himself or herself. College is a time for young people to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes. However, you don’t want those mistakes to have lasting consequences.

Even a minor alcohol or drug charge has serious results

Unfortunately, even a minor in possession (MIP) or a marijuana possession charge can change the course of a young person’s life. That’s because convictions for either of these offenses can lead to a permanent criminal record that stands in the way of scholarships, athletic eligibility, jobs, loans and places to live.

Your child could even get kicked out of school — the school he or she worked so hard to get into — for possessing alcohol under the age of 21 or a small amount of marijuana. If your son or daughter chooses to drive drunk, the consequences can be even more severe, especially if an accident results.

How to help your college student protect his or her future

No young adult wants to get a lecture about not having “too much” fun at college. But what you can talk to your child about is how poor decisions can affect his or her life going forward.

You can also remind your child that if something were to happen, he or she should let you know immediately. The reality is that many college kids end up facing minor infractions with the law. When this happens, it’s extremely important to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can help minimize the negative effects on the student’s future.

College kids are at an age where they feel invincible. As parents, it is our job to remind them that every action has a consequence, and that facing a serious situation head-on is the always the best option.

My name is Larry McDougal and I am an experienced criminal defense lawyer and father. I am here to answer your questions and provide your family with effective legal advice. Save my phone number in your phone, 281-725-6025, in case you should ever need me.