When a student gets into trouble at their university, not only may they face criminal charges, but they may endure disciplinary action from their school as well. When this situation occurs, a New Kent student defense lawyer could help.
College students may forfeit important rights both in criminal court proceedings and student disciplinary hearings if they do not get the legal advice they need. If you are facing these accusations, a seasoned criminal attorney could be essential to preserving your freedoms and your future.
Some student disciplinary proceedings arise from criminal activity, but others do not. Even if the conduct code violation involves a criminal offense, the outcome of the criminal case does not determine the outcome of the college disciplinary hearing. As a result, even if a student gets arrests but does not face charges, they still may face disciplinary actions from their college or university.
In some cases, the behavior or conduct does not rise to the level of a criminal offense. Common examples of these types of violations may include plagiarism or other academic dishonesty, sexual harassment or misconduct, or underage drinking in student housing. While students may not face criminal charges as a result of their conduct, they may have to deal with school disciplinary proceedings that can have grave consequences to their future.
Criminal offenses that culminate in arrests or criminal charges also may lead to student misconduct proceedings. Underage possession of alcohol, usage of fake IDs, a DUI, and drug possession all may result in both criminal prosecution and student disciplinary violations. Retaining a lawyer in New Kent could help students prepare a case in their defense, whether they are facing criminal charges or not.
When facing criminal proceedings, students have inherent protections under the U.S. Constitution, such as a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Other such rights include the right to counsel, the right to confront their accusers, and the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. These protections are to guarantee a fair trial and require the prosecution to prove that a student violated the law.
In college disciplinary proceedings, however, these protections may not exist. While the rules for disciplinary actions vary from one school to another, many share the same characteristics. Students often have no right to counsel and no right to cross-examine witnesses providing evidence against them.
Additionally, the standard of proof in a university disciplinary proceeding typically does not require evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the standard requires evidence only that it is more likely than not, or a preponderance of the evidence, that misconduct occurred. These rules often require students to prove their innocence affirmatively, as opposed to the state definitively proving their guilt.
The penalties in criminal proceedings may include jail time, probation, fines, and driver’s license suspensions in some instances. A criminal conviction also creates a permanent criminal record that can be detrimental to personal and professional opportunities in the future. However, the outcome of a university hearing can be equally devastating, and even more severe in some cases.
Students may face a range of disciplinary actions from their colleges or universities, ranging from a reprimand to expulsion. They also may face suspension, academic probation, eviction from student housing, and a loss of college credits. These repercussions may affect an individual’s ability to enter graduate or professional schools, obtain valuable internships, and graduate. A New Kent lawyer could determine what penalties a student may face and help them prepare a case in their defense.
The potentially harsh consequences for a student facing criminal charges, school disciplinary actions, or both, makes getting legal advice essential in this situation. Without legal guidance, students may end up with serious punishments that could affect their futures. A New Kent student defense lawyer could help defend your rights and work to resolve your cases.
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