Penn State is a great place for international students who want to learn more about living and working in America and take advantage of the school’s superior professors, curriculum and other benefits.
These students come from other countries for a semester or to complete their full four years at Penn State, and they experience everything the university has to offer, including the American college student lifestyle. This lifestyle can (and usually does) involve a fair amount of fun times, including sporting events, parties, drinking and other recreationally activities that may be a little more illegal.
When an international student is charged with criminal activity and needs to go to trial or work out a plea bargain, it can be especially challenging to provide a proper defense. A foreign student may face different consequences or restrictions as a result of criminal actions, and the court system, penalties, and process will be different than what he or she is familiar with. These challenges make international students’ criminal cases all the more complex.
International students who have been charged with criminal activity may find themselves barred from returning to classes or traveling home while the case against them is pending, and other restrictions may be applied as well. They may be unable to complete their coursework and could lose an entire semester or years’ worth of class time while they wait. In the meantime, they may find themselves out of a dorm room or campus housing because they are not attending classes.
Additionally, language is a challenge, even if the student speaks and understands English well. There are many different nuances and connotations specific to American English, and in a criminal investigation, there is so much potential for misunderstanding on the side of the accused or the police.
The officers who interrogate and question students will be on the lookout for any admission of guilt or suspicious behavior, and a person whose first language is not English may have a hard time adequately conveying an alibi or explaining his or her actions.
International students may also not be as well-versed in their Miranda rights as a U.S.-born student who grew up on reruns of Law and Order. The right to remain silent and obtain an attorney must be communicated by the arresting officer, but an international student should be able to take advantage of those rights immediately before saying anything that could potentially be incriminating.
Being arrested in connection with illegal activity is terrifying enough if you live in the country and speak the language fluently. For an international student, the ordeal can be even more traumatic, and can cause a host of complications with visas, traveling permits and more.
Anyone who is facing arrest in the country should be familiar with the American court systems and their rights, and the help of a criminal defense attorney in the area is critical to provide the best possible defense.
At Rehmeyer & Allat, Attorneys at Law, we represent any Penn State student who is facing criminal charges. To discuss your case, contact a State College criminal defense attorney at our firm today.