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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA offers legal advice

Ashlee Salamon
Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat ASUA Lawyer discuses how students may benefit from her services, she say she wants to help students in what may or may not be a scary time for them.

For those who find themselves at odds with an unruly landlord or who have a question regarding a misdemeanor charge, Associated Students of the University of Arizona offers free legal consultation to all current UA students.

ASUA legal adviser Susan Ferrell has been advising students on legal issues for the better part of two decades.

“”I see my primary service to be helping students succeed in school by alleviating their legal worries,”” Ferrell said.

She said in a given week she advises about 50 students on issues ranging from misdemeanor charges to felonies.

While Ferrell cannot legally represent students in court, she can point students in the best direction to take when faced with a legal charge or when trying to get out of a lease.

“”One of the biggest problems I see is when students are taken advantage of by their landlords,”” she said. “”Students often come to me in regards to getting back a security deposit.””

In addition, Ferrell said it is fairly common for landlords to go after the credit of students’ parents after the students opt out of a lease.

“”Unfortunately, it’s a fairly successful business practice,”” she said.

Another common case that Ferrell addresses on a regular basis is students who have been charged with a minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana. She said students generally fall into one of two categories. Either they think one minor in possession charge will put them behind bars or they have received 3 or 4 minor in possession charges and don’t know what to do, she said. 

“”You have to put a misdemeanor in perspective,”” she said. “”Some students get so obsessed they forget about school.””

Ferrell explained that for a first misdemeanor offense, students are offered the option to take a diversion program either through the Dean of Students Office or through the city court system.

For more serious cases and felonies, students are generally appointed an outside attorney, she said. However, Ferrell said she has advised students on severe legal issues over the course of her career. For example, one time a man came in and said he was being investigated for child pornography.

“”He wanted legal advice on whether or not he could leave the country,”” she said.

Whether students have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, or are in need of general legal consultation, Ferrell is available to meet with students by appointment Monday through Friday at her office on the third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center.


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