Students at colleges and universities work incredibly hard to gain the opportunity to earn a degree. However, graduating involves more than just attending classes and completing assignments. Across the board, every school implements a code of conduct that controls the actions of its students. Any potential violation of this code could lead to a loss of privileges, suspension, or even expulsion.
To complicate matters, campus security that responds to an incident might end up reporting the incident to local law enforcement. This could result in you facing both an academic inquiry and a criminal charge. A conviction in court could require the payment of fines or time spent in jail. Even if you manage to avoid this outcome, a school may still act on its own to implement discipline.
A Columbia student defense lawyer could assist if you got into legal trouble while working towards your degree. An understanding criminal attorney could provide representation in a local criminal court while aiming to preserve your ability to continue your education.
Many incidents involving college or university students stem out of apparently illegal activity. These could include:
In every example, a person’s primary concern should be fighting back against any criminal allegation. A Columbia student defense attorney could provide representation in any of these cases. They could protect students by investigating the incident, gathering exculpatory evidence, evaluating the legality of police work that led to the arrest, and promoting persuasive defenses in court.
Even if a case does not involve criminal charges, or a student manages to avoid conviction in court, schools still have the authority to conduct their own investigations. The outcomes of these investigations are independent of any criminal case and schools can hand down discipline on their own.
The consequences of a finding of fault in these cases can be devastating. Schools can order a student to change their housing or quit an activity. They may also suspend or expel a student. Sadly, these consequences often come with a student having limited means to defend themselves.
Schools do not need to follow the rights of due process that exist in the criminal courts. They may conduct investigations on their own terms, require a defendant-student to submit a written response to questions, and limit how a defendant-student may question witnesses. In some cases, they do not even allow students to bring legal representation to official hearings.
A student defense attorney in Columbia could push back against these unfair practices, providing a defense within the framework of the school’s procedures while simultaneously arguing for more extensive rights. If permitted, an attorney could appear in person to argue the case. If not, they could help students prepare written responses and provide other advice for a student to defend themselves in front of the investigatory bodies.
Students who are facing any kind of allegation concerning their behavior need to act swiftly to protect their future. If these accusations involve criminal charges, a conviction could have dire consequences.
However, you must also address the pending investigations from your school. Investigatory bodies have the power to issues revocations of privileges, and implement suspensions and expulsions. In many cases, this leaves minimal opportunities for students to defend themselves.
Reach out to a Columbia student defense lawyer now. They are ready to provide representation in criminal court, as well as take the steps necessary to protect your academic future.