We Understand What You're Going Through
It's a student's worst nightmare: sitting down in front of the university disciplinary committee, wondering whether or not they are going to be able to continue with their education. Student misconduct is taken very seriously by any university or college. For the student, a fun-filled night out can turn sour in a matter of minutes. Every situation is different, but one thing remains the same across all cases: university discipline action is harsh and swift.
Many university disciplinary committees will move quickly to sit the student down and deliver whatever punishment or sanction they believe fits the violation. Before they are really even aware what happened, students may find themselves on university probation, or worse, suspended or expelled. The initiation of code of conduct or disciplinary proceedings usually takes place within mere days of whatever events transpired. From the outset, students are at a major disadvantage. They have limited time to prepare themselves, and more importantly, they are unfamiliar with the disciplinary process.
Students and parents often do not recognize what is really at stake, as hearings can bring forth severe and unforeseen consequences. A disciplinary hearing is not the same as a trial, and universities do not need to follow the rules of "innocent until proven guilty." Students don't face a jury of their peers, and instead often sit before an intimidating panel of members of university administration. It is not uncommon for college students to get into trouble, but college disciplinary actions can cause a student to suffer negative repercussions throughout their entire life. Ultimately, a school disciplinary action can severely complicate your future or your student's future.
We Can Help
You may not know this, but having an attorney in your corner as early as possible will help you or your student get the most favorable outcome. Many schools welcome an attorney's presence during the disciplinary investigation and the hearing to provide advice and counsel for the student. Face to face meetings with school officials on your behalf can also greatly influence the direction and outcome of disciplinary proceedings. At other times, behind-the-scenes preparation works best, and the school does not even have to know you have an attorney protecting your interests. We know which approach is best for your situation because we have been there countless times before.
Regretfully, many students will wait until after an unfavorable ruling to get an attorney's help with an appeal, but this is a misguided approach. Universities tend to have a very short time for appeals, often the span of a handful of days. If you have an attorney from the beginning, you can be best prepared for the initial hearing, which is critical to success. Even in the event of an unfavorable outcome, you can also be ready with an appeal and respond quickly. Schools will not hesitate when they move forward with disciplinary action, and neither should you – Getting legal assistance as early as possible can greatly influence the outcome of an investigation, hearing, or appeal.
For more than a decade, Joseph D. Lento has practiced criminal defense in one of the nation's highest stakes forums while concurrently representing students in disciplinary proceedings at universities and colleges in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nationwide. He is an experienced attorney that will not back down in the face of adversity, and he will do whatever it takes to triumph against difficult odds.