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Northampton, MA
413-585-9200

Amherst, MA: 413-549-0022

College Student’s Future Career Options Preserved

Posted on : March 1, 2015, By:  Tom Kokonowski, Esq.

The job market is brutal out there these days, in any field. It does not help your chances of landing any job, let alone your dream job, if you are coming out of college with a criminal record.

I recently represented a college student from this area on an assault and battery charge in the Belchertown District Court. Not only is that a criminal charge, but it is considered a crime of violence, despite only being a misdemeanor.

In my opinion, the charge should never have been brought because it stemmed from a situation which resulted in mutual combat between two willing, albeit intoxicated, participants. My client and the other combatant (each from different colleges-I will let you guess) basically had words and then threw down. In my day, the police would have let us go at it until we were tired, roughed us up a bit and then let us go (thank God because I would probably still be in jail, otherwise).

But because the fight took place in front of the police, both guys were arrested and charged. At court, each guy decided that they did not want to go forward against the other, now that the fog of war (and alcohol) had lifted and the reality of a criminal record was setting in. Because each was charged, each had the right not to testify against the other because of their 5th amendment rights.

Usually, this would have ended the case, but because the fight happened in front of the police, the Commonwealth could have gone forward without the actual “victim” testifying. Initially, the Commonwealth flexed its muscles and offered something that my client was not willing to accept. I agreed that he should not accept it too. So, trial was the only alternative and we set a course for the jury of 6 session. The Commonwealth finally decided that if my client did community service and paid some money (of course), they would dismiss the charge against him…done. I will next file the motion to seal his record to preserve his future career options.

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