College is meant to be a learning period for students. Their first experience outside of the home and without parental supervision is a valuable time period for a student's growth as a person. Unfortunately, this situation also presents the opportunity for a person to come into situations where they get in trouble, sometimes even with the law. When a student is involved in a criminal act on campus, their situation can become incredibly complex. One of the most common criminal charges a student can face on campus is assault. These charges are very serious and may place a student's academic and career goals in jeopardy.
Assault Under PA Law
In Pennsylvania, simple assault is defined as an attempt to cause bodily injury or a physical menace to put a person in fear of physical injury. In most cases, unless there are aggravating factors, simple assault will be a second-degree misdemeanor charge.
Common Situations Where a Student Can Be Charged With Assault
While it is seldom the case that a student will simply lash out violently, there are certain situations on a college campus where they may be charged with assault. Some of these situations include:
- Fighting: High tempers and alcohol consumption can often be the source of contention between two students. Sometimes harsh words can lead to harsher actions, and while it doesn't matter who started it, when students are engaged in a physical fight, they may face criminal charges and disciplinary action from their school.
- Intimidation: Sometimes students do not mean to physically harm anyone, but rather put on a facade of intimidation. While the intent may not be to cause harm, physically menacing someone can be the source of an assault charge. This can complicate a student's standing with the school, in addition to the criminal consequences of these actions.
- Verbal Disagreements: Sometimes students may have intense verbal disagreements with one another, however, neither really intends to do harm to the other. Unfortunately, words and body language can often be misconstrued, which may lead to further consequences.
How Can This Affect My Standing With My School?
Many schools will take any instances of fighting on their campus very seriously. Most schools keep their student's behaviors in check with a code of conduct. In most cases, a school's code of conduct will explicitly forbid a student from engaging in any violent acts. Many times, local police will work directly with a student's school when a student has been charged with assault in any form. Local authorities will likely provide all evidence of any assault allegations to a student's school for them to begin their own disciplinary proceedings.
Pennsylvania & New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
In many cases when a college or university student faces criminal charges, they will have to face complications and actions from two separate entities: the state and their college. This places a student in an immensely complicated situation and can endanger their future career and academic goals. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help. A student will want an attorney to defend them against their criminal charges, and may actually be able to have an attorney representing them at meetings and hearings with their college.