Everyone makes mistakes in their youth, and college students are no exception. All too often, however, what may be a minor criminal charge for some individuals with few consequences can become a major problem for college students, who may face penalties beyond those imposed by the justice system. Regardless of the type of criminal offense involved, an arrest can trigger a series of college or university disciplinary proceedings that may impede your ability to pursue your higher education goals.
If you are a student or the parent of a student who is facing a criminal charge, seeking the advice of a Virginia student defense lawyer may be crucial to avoiding some of these unanticipated educational repercussions. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney today and set up a consultation.
Virginia college or university students may face a wide range of common criminal offenses, including DUI, possession of marijuana, vandalism, possession of alcohol, sexual assault, gun or weapons charges, or assault. Even if students are arrested off-campus, law enforcement officials typically will notify any college or university at which they are enrolled of their arrest.
An arrest, even if no charges are filed or they are later dismissed, still could cause students to face university disciplinary proceedings in some cases. College students also may face non-criminal offenses that may impact their future education and careers. For example, charges of plagiarism, social media misuse, and cheating all can result in student disciplinary charges and proceedings.
While there may not be criminal consequences for these offenses, there still may be penalties that adversely affect students resulting from student code of conduct violations.
In criminal cases, individuals are innocent until proven guilty, which means that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that the individuals committed the criminal offenses with which they are charged. In student disciplinary proceedings, however, students more often than not have the burden of proving that they did not violate the student conduct code or do anything wrong. This places the burden on the student rather than on the university officials who are determining whether violations occurred and what the sanctions should be. Even if students are never convicted of criminal offenses, they still potentially can face the loss of student privileges, suspension, or even expulsion.
Another major difference is the protections available for students who are accused of wrongdoing. In a criminal case, students enjoy constitutional protections, including the right to be represented by counsel in all proceedings. There are no such protections for students involved in administrative school disciplinary proceedings, although they typically have the right to have a representative or an attorney assist them during these proceedings.
A student defense attorney in Virginia may be able to assist students facing conduct code violations in presenting evidence, determining whether to answer questions and appealing any negative decisions and penalties that the school may decide to impose.
Dealing with the impact of a criminal arrest can be difficult enough for college students, but the potential penalties resulting from student disciplinary proceedings can be equally detrimental to your future.
If you or your child is facing any type of criminal charges and/or allegations of the student code of conduct violations, taking the time to consult with a Virginia student defense lawyer may give you a better sense of what to expect, what options are available, and how best to resolve these issues.