College campuses have unique issues with regard to crimes, law enforcement and criminal charges brought against students who are hoping to have a career after graduation.

I defend all people against every type of criminal charge, but I have found from years of experience that law enforcement tends to use the same charges, repeatedly, against college students, including:

  • Operating Under The Influence Of Alcohol or Drugs (Drunk Driving)
  • Assault and Battery
  • Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Minor Transporting Alcohol
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Inciting a Riot
  • Possession of Drugs

These charges repeatedly appear on criminal complaints in:

    • Belchertown District Court
    • Northampton District Court
    • Westfield District Court

against students from:

    • UMass
    • Amherst College
    • Hampshire College
    • Smith College
    • Mount Holyoke College
    • Westfield State University

My experience as a criminal defense attorney representing hundreds of college students has revealed that these charges are most frequently brought because students are engaged in the activities that best allow them to enjoy their college experience.

Unfortunately, many of those activities are illegal (often times because of the students’ ages) and multiple branches of law enforcement are specifically on the lookout for those students engaged in these activities.

For the students of UMASS Amherst, the number of law enforcement agencies that now have arrest powers on the UMASS Amherst campus has increased. In addition to the UMASS Amherst police department, Amherst Police and State Police have been given the authority to arrest students on the UMASS Amherst campus.


In 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court expanded the arrest powers jurisdiction of all Massachusetts college campus police officers.

In a case from Smith College,  a Smith College campus police officer arrested someone for operating to endanger on a street that ran adjacent to the college, but was not an actual part of the campus. After a legal challenge based on an argument that the officer had no jurisdiction to make the arrest, the SJC upheld the arrest as valid. Therefore, even if you are not on the actual college campus, but are near it, college police can arrest and/or charge you with college or non-college crimes.

Unfortunately, it can be devastating to most anticipated/potential careers to even be charged with these crimes.

I have dealt with hundreds of these cases in the Belchertown, Westfield, Northampton and Springfield District Courts in ways that not only prevent a conviction, but more often times than not, prevent a criminal charge from even issuing against a student.

If you are able to dispose of these charges prior to your formal arraignment, the charges do not appear on your criminal record. I have, oftentimes, been able to have these types of charges dismissed prior to arraignment.


  • I was hired by a UMASS Amherst student’s parents to represent him on a single count of Minor In Possession Of Alcohol. The UMASS Amherst told him that this single, seemingly “small” charge was going to prevent him from being able to study abroad, if he was actually charged and arraigned.
    • At the “show cause” level, I was able to convince the clerk magistrate to NOT issue a criminal complaint against the UMASS Amherst student. As a result, the student was allowed to stay in college without punishment and is now studying abroad.
  • A UMASS Amherst graduate student was arrested and charged with OUI in the Belchertown District Court. He was informed that he would be suspended, at least, if there was an admission to the criminal charge.
    • I was able to convince the district attorney to dismiss the charge, upon payment of a fine, as I intended to take the case immediately to trial otherwise. That UMASS Amherst student continues to study, without suffering any punishment from the school.
  • An Amherst College student was recently charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct after he engaged in mutual combat with a UMASS Amherst student after a party. His parents hired me from another state.
    • Although this case took a bit more time because of the negotiations with the other combatant’s attorney and the prosecutor and the setting of the case for trial, I was able to get the charges against the student dismissed. He remains in school and was not disciplined at the school.
  • A student from UMASS Lowell was visiting a student friend at UMASS Amherst this spring and was surprised by UMASS Amherst police while she had alcohol in her hand. She had not yet attained the age of 21 years. She retained me from the Lowell area.
    • At the “show cause” hearing I was able to convince the magistrate to NOT issue the complaint against her, and she was able to convince him that she should not have to pay a fine because of the nature of volunteer work she does.

What Clients Say

5.0 stars

Posted by Brad (A UMASS Student’s AVVO review)

Hired attorney


Tom did a fantastic job for me. It was clear when we walked into the courthouse that he was one of the most confident and prepared people in the building. 100 would recommend.
5.0 stars

Posted by a client (Parents of a UMASS student’s AVVO review)

Hired attorney

Professional and Responsive Attorney

Tom provided excellent defense and counsel for our son. He was extremely knowledgeable regarding the nature of the charges and provided us with very good advice. Tom was quick to answer any questions we had in addition to communicating well with our son. We were very happy with the outcome at the magistrate’s hearing.

Schedule an appointment today.

Northampton at 5 Strong Ave.

In Amherst at 150 Fearing St. Suite #14

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