Being accused of a crime as a student could impact your life inside and out of school. If you are facing a criminal or disciplinary allegation as a student, you might benefit from the guidance of a Fredericksburg student defense lawyer. As a criminal defense attorney in your area, they could walk you through the step by step process of your defense and help you make informed decisions, supporting you along the way.
A student could be accused of any criminal offense, but some are more common than others. One common student offense is plagiarism, which is defined by universities as the taking of another’s work and claiming it as their own. While it is possible for civil claims, such as copyright infringement, to follow, criminal prosecution is less likely in these cases. However, students could be facing serious school-related punishments such as suspension or permanent expulsion. Other common student offenses might include:
Destruction of property is another common student offense, which, unlike plagiarism, does have criminal consequences. Virginia Code §18.2-137 states that if any person unlawfully defaces, damages, destroys, or removes any real or personal property or monument, without the intent to steal, they could be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for property valued less than $1,000. If the property is worth more than $1,000, then the charge could be increased to a Class 6 felony.
A felony charge is no trivial matter. Acquiring the counsel of a student defense lawyer in Fredericksburg could provide students with helpful guidance during a challenging time.
When a student has been accused of a crime, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. In a criminal case, the prosecution is required to prove that the student committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. To achieve an acquittal, a student defense attorney in Fredericksburg would have to show that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof. If a judge or jury has a reasonable doubt as to whether the student committed the crime, they could render a verdict of not guilty.
College or university disciplinary hearings may use a lower burden of proof than criminal proceedings. For example, a school may only need to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means a student could be acquitted of criminal charges and still face school sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion. A Fredericksburg student defense attorney could help the accused understand the differences between criminal and university proceedings and thoroughly prepare for each.
While attending school, being accused of a crime could cause problems that extend beyond your academics. The repercussions of a criminal charge could result in suspension, expulsion, or potentially a criminal record.
But there are solutions and ways to combat the allegations you might be facing. A Fredericksburg student defense lawyer could help you strategize and form your defense against your accusers. They could stand with you, advocating on your behalf to protect your future. To learn about how an attorney might be able to help your legal situation, schedule a consultation now.