Occoquan Student Defense Lawyer
Whether you are arrested on a criminal charge as a college student or receive notice of student disciplinary proceedings against you, you may need to take immediate action to protect your rights and safeguard your future. The outcome of student conduct code proceedings can be harsh and have a lasting impact on your ability to qualify for scholarships, find lucrative jobs, and seek admission to professional or graduate school.
An experienced Occoquan student defense lawyer may be able to represent your interests in both types of proceedings and minimize the impact of these events on your life. A single mistake made as a college student should not dictate the course of your life, either personally or professionally. Student disciplinary proceedings are far different from criminal court proceedings, so you will want to rely on a skilled criminal defense attorney who is accustomed to handling such matters. Taking this step may help protect you from potentially harsh consequences.
Differences Between Student Conduct Proceedings and Criminal Prosecution
In the criminal justice system, individuals are entitled to certain protections under the U.S. Constitution, such as the right to be represented by an attorney, the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination, and the right to confront accusers and other witnesses. Individuals accused of a crime also are entitled to a presumption of innocence, which requires that the attorney for the Commonwealth prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to attain a criminal conviction. Student disciplinary proceedings, however, are far different.
A student disciplinary proceeding may require students to affirmatively prove that they did not violate student conduct codes, which shifts the burden of proof to the students, who also have no right to counsel. In many cases, disciplinary charges may arise from the uncorroborated statements of one or more witnesses, who need not even appear at the proceedings. Since students may face parallel proceedings in criminal court and at their colleges, so representation by a dedicated Occoquan student defense attorney who has experience with both types of proceedings may be necessary.
College Students and Occoquan Criminal Offenses
College students may face any criminal offenses, like other adults, but some criminal charges occur more commonly than others for college students. Alcohol-related crimes in particular, like DUI, underage drinking, and providing alcohol to minors are typical for college students. The culture of drinking and partying that often pervades college campuses often results in college students facing alcohol-related criminal charges.
However, college students also may face charges for offenses such as:
- Possession and distribution of controlled substances
- Sexual assault and other sex offenses
A conviction on any of these charges may result in not only in criminal penalties in the form of a criminal conviction but may have collateral consequences, as well. A permanent criminal record, fines, probation, and even jail time, may accompany a criminal conviction, but the conviction also may result in the filing of student disciplinary charges. A steadfast student defense lawyer in Occoquan may be able to work toward resolving both proceedings more favorably.
Consequences of Student Offenses
While a college student can receive the typical penalties for a misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction, the nature of the criminal offense also may dictate additional penalties. A sex offense may result in mandatory sex offender registration. A DUI conviction could result in suspension of driving privileges.
A criminal arrest, even if a conviction never occurs or charges ultimately are dismissed, can cause a college or university to charge students with rules violations. The potential consequences of student disciplinary proceedings are independent of any criminal penalties and can include a period of probation, suspension, or even expulsion. A finding of misconduct further will constitute a black mark on school records that make students less likely to obtain coveted scholarships, internships, employment, and admission to graduate school.
Speak with an Occoquan Student Defense Attorney Today
The negative implications of a criminal arrest are many, both in the criminal justice system and in school disciplinary proceedings. From fines, criminal probation, and jail time, to suspension, loss of academic credits, and expulsion, attaining strong legal representation by an Occoquan student defense lawyer may be crucial to your future.
Even if you ultimately do not face criminal charges or a court finds you not guilty, a school conduct code proceeding still could result in disciplinary action against you that becomes a permanent part of your school records. Avoiding this outcome may be an easier task when you enlist the help of legal counsel.