Petersburg Student Defense Lawyer

College students accused of a criminal offense are in a unique and unfortunate position. If the charges are deemed to be valid, college students could face administrative penalties from their schools in addition to criminal charges from the Commonwealth. For this reason, it would be wise to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney to handle the case.

If you are faced with a college or university disciplinary action or a criminal charge, a Petersburg student defense lawyer could be your advocate.

School Conduct Codes

Every college and university has its own unique code of conduct governing student behavior, and longstanding federal case law entitles college students to minimal due process rights from their school. When a student is accused of misconduct, they face a range of consequences under their institution’s conduct code, including academic penalties, expulsion from student housing, and suspension or expulsion from the university.

School conduct codes often govern behavior that both on and off campus. For example, an off-campus arrest for underage drinking, driving while intoxicated, or drug use can result in the school initiating disciplinary proceedings. Even if a criminal charge resulting from an off-campus arrest is dismissed, disposed of via a deferred disposition, or results in an acquittal, the school disciplinary proceedings can still move forward.

Student Consequences

A college student who is suspended or expelled will have to deal with the fallout of having their education disrupted. This penalty may make it difficult for them to gain admittance to a new school. Additionally, students may have to disclose this interruption to potential employers after graduating, which is why a local student defense lawyer’s participation in the case is crucial.

School Disciplinary Proceedings

Each school utilizes its own type of disciplinary procedure when adjudicating allegations of misconduct. These hearings, while well intentioned, can be unfair and biased in practice. College disciplinary proceedings contain none of the procedural safeguards or constitutional rights an accused individual receives in an actual criminal trial.

Disciplinary hearings are sometimes the result of incomplete or incompetent investigations. They often do not have a presumption of innocence or utilize rules of evidence. Moreover, there is a lower burden of proof, and they often provide no opportunity for an accused student to confront witnesses or their accuser. Due to the nature of a school disciplinary proceeding, assistance from a Petersburg attorney may be essential to building a strong defense.

Potential Criminal Proceedings

If misconduct allegations result in a student being charged with a crime, the potential consequences could be even more severe. Students charged with a criminal offense face the potential of a lifelong criminal record and a period of incarceration. These consequences can change someone’s life forever.

In order to succeed at a school disciplinary proceeding, a lawyer must utilize an effective defense or mitigation strategy. However, any evidence or testimony which a student gives during a school disciplinary proceeding could be used against them in a criminal prosecution. An attorney in the Petersburg area could guide someone through both the student defense and criminal defense processes.

Speak to a Petersburg Student Defense Attorney Today

Facing criminal charges or being subjected to a school disciplinary measure is a matter that should never be taken lightly. If you are a college student or the parent of a student facing a school disciplinary action, effective and competent legal representation is essential.

Call today to learn more about the representation that a Petersburg student defense lawyer could provide.