If you are a college student in a Lynchburg, Virginia-area college and police arrest you for an offense such as underage drinking, drug possession, assault, or another crime, you are likely wondering how your arrest will affect your academic and career future. An arrest can put a permanent mark on your record that can have consequences both on your college career as well as future employment opportunities.

There are specific steps you can take following an arrest to help ensure the best possible outcome for your future. Here are some tips on how to proceed after an arrest.

Inform yourself about school policies

Universities often have disciplinary committees that make decisions about students who are arrested or convicted of a crime. Some Virgina universities, such as the University of Virginia, have arrest self-disclosure policies in which they actively ask students to disclose any arrests or convictions for crimes. You should find out what your college or university’s policies are regarding arrests and convictions so that you understand how to proceed in terms of any potential disciplinary action the school may take.

Understand the next legal steps

You should inform yourself fully about the crime you were arrested for and the potential penalties if you are convicted of the crime. If your parents are assisting you in the post-arrest process, you can talk to them about hiring a criminal defense attorney who works with college students. An experienced attorney can protect your interests and help you by providing a strategic defense. An attorney will explain the next legal steps and advise you on the best course of action so as to protect your college career and future work career. This is a critical time in which the right decisions can make all the difference.

An arrest does not have to mean the end of your college career or doors permanently closed to your future. With the right legal defense and the appropriate post-arrest steps, you can face your future with a new start.