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Florida college students held back by criminal records

College is supposed to be a time for students to explore the world, get to know themselves better and test some boundaries. Of course this carries with it the risk of mistakes but more and more college students in Florida are seeing those mistakes haunt them for years.

According to a recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, thousands of people are arrested on Florida's college campuses each year. These arrests often revolve around seemingly minor crimes like underage drinking but in a time when jobs are scarce, any criminal record can hurt students who graduate and go on to look for work.

According to the United States Department of Justice, a criminal record can be an almost insurmountable obstacle to people seeking employment, even if they have paid their debt to society and moved on from their past mistakes. A Department report found that most employers would be extremely hesitant or unwilling to hire anyone with a criminal record.

Interestingly enough, imposing harsh charges and long-term records on students may not contribute to law enforcement officials' goals of deterring future crime and making Florida a safer place. Students whose futures are jeopardized by a record may be driven to turn to crime when they are unable to find work, leading them to cycle through the criminal justice system.

This is not only bad for the young people who are directly affected but the entire state and its economy. Florida spends massive amounts of money imprisoning people and running them through criminal courts when those people could instead be working good jobs and contributing to the state's economy.

If you are a student or other young person facing criminal charges it is important to act quickly to preserve your rights and start working toward the best possible outcome for you. Consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can review your case, tell your story and fight for you.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel, "Minor arrest records can keep college students out of job market," Desiree Stennett, Jan. 6, 2013

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