Every university views falsification differently depending on the university’s code of conduct, but typically this offense involves making some kind of submission with the intent to deceive.
Students can be charged with falsification for various scenarios including if they lie about their name to a representative of the school to avoid getting in trouble, or if they do not complete their information appropriately for housing eligibility or other types of aid eligibility. Falsification is something that would be a school-specific incident and school-specific sanctions will go with it.
Criminal charges from falsifying information also frequently occur on college campuses, however, this would be a separate criminal process from the school’s administrative process.
Although it depends on the university, generally, if a university in Virginia finds somebody to be in violation of their student conduct code or their code of behavior that involves falsification, there could be sanctions, some type of repercussion as far as forcing the student to complete community service or other activities, or the student could be suspended for a semester or longer or even expelled from the school, depending on the severity of the falsification.
In addition, there are many criminal consequences that can be associated with falsification. The falsification at its core is about misleading or providing false information to the school. The criminal version of that in Virginia would be a false ID, providing false information to police officers during the course of the investigation, and even leveraging false charges against somebody, which would be considered perjury if it is sworn under oath to a magistrate. There are many different ways that falsification could be brought into the criminal realm as a college student.
A student attempting to avoid administrative action on the part of their school can present a different set of information on their own behalf and in their own defense. They need to have a much more affirmative defense because they are required to provide a reason why they should not be held responsible for the allegation.
In a criminal case in Virginia, a student should compile whatever information they think will help their attorney poke holes in the prosecution of the case, because in that situation they need to prevent the prosecutor from finding them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For an administrative hearing at the school level, it is simply going to be at-fault or not at-fault situation, which requires a much lower standard of proof.
For these reasons, a student needs to find all the information that they think could be helpful, whether it be witnesses, information proving lack of intent or mistake, to assist in crafting a defense for the allegations.
As student that has been accused of falsification should immediately call an attorney and talk about the circumstances. If they received paperwork from the school stating that they are going to be the center of an administrative investigation or some other type of administrative action, an attorney can help them look that over and prepare potential defenses.
An attorney can also help the student understand whether or not they would be facing criminal liability for the statements or documents they falsified. Depending on the circumstances, the student may be able to either remedy the situation or prepare for future criminal investigation.
A student that is facing an inquiry for falsification should consult with a defense lawyer because what they say in administrative hearings is important. Somebody, who does not want an adverse note on their student academic record or who may be worried about their ability to stay in their college, should consult with an attorney because they only get one shot at the administrative hearing, and an attorney can help prepare for the questions that the advisory board will ask and what kind of sanctions they could be facing based on their conduct.