Hire a High School Conduct Defense Attorney Rather than a Local Criminal Attorney

Your Student Needs Qualified Attorney Representation

High schools use student codes of conduct to regulate student behavior. High schools also charge students with a violation of those student codes of conduct. Parents generally appreciate a high school's need to keep school order using school rules. But seeing your own high school student face the school's charge that your student violated its code of student conduct is a humbling, even frightening, experience. You know that your student needs to get through high school in the best possible shape and with the best possible record to have the best chance to succeed in life. High school is a formative time. A major crisis, poorly handled, can set a high school student off course so that they may take years, even a lifetime, to get fully back on track. If your high school student faces school charges of a student conduct code violation, then you know that your student needs help. You may already have thought of quickly hiring a local criminal attorney, someone whom you know or whom friends or co-workers recommended.

If you've already thought of hiring a local attorney, then your instincts that your student needs skilled attorney help are correct. Your student should not proceed without attorney defense and representation. But your impulse to hire a local criminal attorney is very likely wrong. Just because that may be the only local help doesn't mean it's the right help. You wouldn't hire a dentist to fix a broken arm. You wouldn't hire a plumber to fix your electricity. So, don't hire a local criminal attorney to play the role of a school conduct defense attorney. High school code of conduct proceedings are unique, academic, administrative, disciplinary proceedings. They are not criminal court proceedings. Instead, retain national school conduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school conduct defense team. Get the qualified attorney representation your student needs for the best possible outcome.

Why Your Student Needs Skilled Attorney Help

Your student has several reasons for needing a skilled school defense attorney to defend your student against school charges that your student violated the school's student code of conduct. The first reason is that you and your student won't generally have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to handle the matter on your own. Academic administrative dispute resolution requires an unusual set of skills, including investigation, communication, presentation, advocacy, and negotiation. Your school conduct defense attorney must know the school's procedures, personnel, and rules, and know how to influence school officials in your student's favor within those procedures and rules. You and your student wouldn't even necessarily know where to begin, no less how to strategically and consistently act in your student's best interest.

Another reason why you and your student need a skilled school defense attorney to defend your student against charges that your student violated the school's code of conduct is that you and your student won't generally be able to exercise sound judgment. Not only do you very likely lack the experience to evaluate what the school may and must do and to act accordingly, but your emotions and interests are also very likely to cloud your judgment. Even skilled lawyers hire other lawyers when they get in trouble. They do so because they know their personal stake could adversely affect their better judgment. Don't represent yourself or a close family member, or do so at your peril, their peril, and the peril of your close relationship. Instead, retain national school conduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school conduct defense team. Then you'll have the sound skills and wise and independent judgment your student needs for the best outcome.

Retain an Attorney from the Right Practice Field

When you retain an attorney for your high school student's defense of school code of conduct charges, you should retain an attorney from the right law practice field. If you retain the wrong kind of lawyer, you may be doing your student little good. Indeed, a poorly qualified attorney can, in some cases, do more harm than good. Law is a complex profession, so complex that attorneys tend to practice in only very limited fields. There are attorneys, and then there are attorneys. Yes, you may still hear of a general practitioner lawyer. But those lawyers tend to practice only in smaller cities and towns, doing less complex and sophisticated work than lawyers who specialize in larger cities. Clients in smaller cities and towns who have more difficult and more important matters rightly hire attorneys from out of their area, for their practice field knowledge, experience, and skills.

The right practice field for high school student conduct code violation defense is obviously the field of school student conduct defense. Don't retain a trusts and estates lawyer, an insurance attorney, a real estate attorney, a bond lawyer, or a local criminal attorney. Instead, retain a skilled school student code of conduct defense attorney. You might not realize that some attorneys focus their practices on school conduct defense. National school conduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is preeminent among those few attorneys. Attorney Lento travels the country defending hundreds of high school and other students against school code of conduct charges. The very good news is that you can find and retain a skilled and experienced attorney, Joseph Lento of the Lento Law Firm, who practices in the specific field and has the special skills your student needs when facing high school code of conduct charges.

High School Conduct Defense Is a National, Not Local, Practice

Don't be concerned that the school code of conduct defense attorney whom you hire is from outside of your area. Just the opposite is true: you should draw confidence from the fact that the school code of conduct defense attorney whom you hire maintains a national law practice focused on that field. Local knowledge can help an attorney in certain kinds of law practices and law cases. Jury trials are an example. Jurors in different locales respond differently to an attorney's accent, dress, demeanor, attitude, and idioms. An attorney who plays well before a jury in New York or New Jersey may not play so well before a jury in a rural western locale. Real estate practice is another field where an attorney's knowledge of the local real estate market and title and transaction conventions can make a difference. Hire a skilled local attorney for those fields.

In contrast, high schools generally seek to meet statewide and national education standards. High schools tend to use national or regional curriculums aligned to national or statewide instructional outcomes. Teachers earn college degrees and teaching certificates that similarly satisfy national standards. High school codes of conduct, and their enforcement by school officials, likewise have a national character. High schools everywhere tend to frown on bullying, hazing, alcohol or drug abuse, and the wide range of other common misbehaviors one routinely finds in high school codes of conduct nationwide. You gain little or nothing by retaining a local attorney for your high school student's defense. You gain much by retaining a national school conduct defense attorney who knows how schools nationwide handle code of conduct violations. Retain national school conduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm team for your high school student's defense. Take pride rather than concern in retaining a nationally recognized school conduct defense attorney.

High School Conduct Codes Differ from Criminal Codes

If instead, you give in to the temptation to hire a local criminal attorney who lacks experience in school conduct code cases, then you likely have an attorney representative who doesn't know the applicable school law and code. A local criminal attorney will very likely know the criminal code, probably stone cold. Criminal attorneys regularly deal with the state law of crimes. Yet high school codes of conduct differ markedly from state criminal codes. Criminal codes prohibit things like drunk driving, disorderly conduct, check fraud, and more serious crimes like rape, robbery, and homicides. In contrast, a high school code of conduct may prohibit some crimes, for instance, those involving physical violence, but instead generally focuses on regulating common student misbehaviors like:

  • Unauthorized classroom or office entries
  • Vandalism or other property damage
  • Hazing, bullying, and cyberbullying
  • Computer misuse
  • Misusing another student's password or identity
  • Lying to school officials
  • Disobeying school directives
  • Disrupting the classroom or other school activities
  • Disrespecting teachers or school administrators
  • Alcohol possession
  • Drug possession
  • Smoking or other tobacco use
  • Hiding or stealing classmate items
  • Possession of a pocket knife or other dangerous instrument
  • Excessive tardiness or absences
  • Misusing school fire alarms or equipment

A skilled and experienced school conduct defense attorney knows how high schools handle charges involving the above common forms of student misbehavior. A skilled and experienced school conduct defense attorney also knows how high school officials resolve cases involving those kinds of misbehavior. A school conduct defense attorney knows the potential and customary sanctions, plus alternative education, counseling, and service remedies the school may well accept. If your high school student faces school code of conduct violation charges, retain national school conduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm school conduct defense team. Get the qualified, skilled, and experienced attorney help that your student needs for the best outcome.

High School Conduct Cases Proceed Differently

High school code of conduct violation charges proceed differently than criminal court cases. School proceedings go through different procedures in different stages than criminal court cases. The two proceedings look entirely different. A local criminal attorney will know how criminal court cases proceed but not how high school conduct cases proceed unless the criminal attorney has substantial experience in high school cases. Criminal court cases generally begin with the prosecutor filing a court charge and the arrest and arraignment of the defendant. The criminal attorney may then demand a preliminary examination to challenge the prosecution's case and evidence. The criminal attorney may also file motions to suppress evidence or for other court relief. Cases then may settle for a plea bargain just before trial or proceed on to jury trial. A local criminal attorney will likely be skilled in those procedures.

But a local criminal attorney is not likely to be skilled in high school code of conduct violation administrative proceedings. A high school code of conduct administrative proceeding generally begins with an informal complaint to a school administrator who makes a preliminary investigation. If the preliminary investigation shows a probable violation, the administrator may notify the accused student of a probable charge. The administrator may then proceed with a formal charge if the administrator and student do not agree on how to handle the probable violation. The school then investigates the formal charge, often interviewing the accuser, accused, and witnesses. The school discipline administrator may then use the report to propose sanctions. If the student disagrees, the school may impose discipline or may hold a formal hearing for witnesses to testify. The student may have an appeal from a finding of a violation and imposed discipline. A skilled and experienced school conduct defense attorney will know these procedures and how to put them to your student's best defense.

High School Conduct Cases Resolve Differently

High school code of conduct violation charges not only proceed differently from criminal court cases, but they also resolve differently than criminal court cases. Criminal court cases resolve one way, while high school proceedings resolve another way. And let's face it: prompt and successful resolution is what every high school student facing school charges wants, needs, and seeks. A local criminal attorney will know that criminal court cases typically resolve by dismissal after a preliminary exam or the court's granting of a motion to suppress. Criminal cases that do not resolve at those stages may result in a plea bargain just before trial or go to trial for a jury verdict. A local criminal attorney would know how to focus defense efforts on achieving the best outcome at one of those criminal court stages.

In contrast, high school conduct code cases can resolve informally at several stages. A skilled and experienced school conduct defense attorney, retained early by the accused student's parents, may present information and options to the school administrator even before the school files charges. Heading charges off at the pass, before they gather momentum, burdening and embarrassing the student, can be the best possible resolution. School conduct charges also resolve informally after investigation. Proceedings that do not resolve may go to a formal hearing where a school conduct defense attorney's skilled presentation may carry the day, resulting in the school's dismissal of the charges. An appeal of an adverse decision may also be available. But a primary way in which national school conduct defense attorney Joseph Lento resolves school conduct cases successfully is through negotiation informally, outside of established procedures. A local criminal attorney would generally not have the knowledge, skills, and experience to pursue those outcomes.

Special Alternative Relief

When a high school conduct proceeding is over, one that unfortunately results in sanctions against the accused student, the proceeding may actually not be over. Unlike the criminal courts, the judgments of which are generally final other than formal appeals, high schools often have oversight offices and bodies that can provide an accused student with special alternative relief. An accused student may, with the help of skilled and experienced school conduct defense attorney negotiation, be able to gain dismissal of the sanction and charges, outside of the formal proceeding. Oversight offices can include a general counsel office, ombudsman office, civil rights office, student accommodations office, and other offices and officials who watch out for special interests of the school and its students. National school conduct defense attorney Joseph Lento has successfully resolved many school conduct cases through negotiations with those offices, even after the school's case had concluded with sanctions.

A local criminal attorney lacking experience in school conduct cases would generally be unaware of those opportunities for alternative special relief or lack the skills to obtain it. Criminal court cases don't generally offer any special relief. On the contrary, justice for one should be justice for all. Courts and prosecutors take pains not to show favoritism. They cannot lawfully distinguish among defendants. But high schools can, should, and appropriately do distinguish all the time among students. High schools have that liberty and responsibility because their goal is the education of students, not uniform justice like the courts. Educating students involves fitting the instruction to each student's peculiar character, interest, and needs. High schools appropriately treat each student conduct proceeding differently, according to the specific needs and interests of the involved students. Attorney Lento knows how to help schools achieve their educational mission within school conduct code violation proceedings. With attorney Lento's help, your student may get the unusual relief your student needs and deserves.

Reputation and Relationships Matter in School Proceedings

In criminal court cases, where a local criminal attorney would practice, the criminal attorney's reputation and professional relationships shouldn't matter to the case's outcome and generally don't matter to that outcome. A criminal defendant hires a local criminal attorney for skills and experience defending criminal charges, not for a big reputation and trusting relationships with judges and prosecutors. Indeed, a criminal defendant may be especially concerned if the defendant's criminal attorney has too good of a relationship with the judges and prosecutors. Criminal defendants want their attorney close to them, not to the opposition. Moreover, judges and prosecutors can't play favorites based on their high or low regard for the criminal defense attorney. Justice should be blind to the reputation and relationships of the professionals who advocate and administer it. A local criminal attorney would generally know better than to attempt to build trust and rapport with the judge or prosecutor simply to call in a favor for a defendant client. Ethics would sanction that misguided effort.

High school proceedings, though, are different. Everyone involved should be focusing on fashioning the outcome that best educates, grows, and matures the accused student. When you retain national school conduct defense attorney Joseph Lento to represent your high school student, attorney Lento brings to the dispute a sterling national reputation as a skilled and creative problem solver. School officials properly trust attorney Lento to see, propose, negotiate, fashion, and document outcomes that retain and promote the school's integrity while also preserving the accused student's educational interests and future. Attorney Lento also brings his preexisting relationships with school officials and attorneys across the country. If attorney Lento doesn't know your school's attorneys or officials, word still gets around. When you retain attorney Lento for your high school student's defense, you gain access to attorney Lento's network of relationships, built on a hard-won and sterling reputation.

Retain a High School Conduct Defense Attorney

National school conduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm represent and defend high school students against code of conduct violation charges nationwide. Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available for your high school student's defense no matter the school's location or nature of the alleged code of conduct violation. You can and should hire a school conduct defense attorney who has a national practice and reputation.

Don't let a high school code of conduct violation spoil your student's education, relationships, and prospects. Don't retain a local criminal attorney who lacks experience defending against student code of conduct violation charges. Premier national school conduct defense attorney Joseph Lento has the special skills and extensive experience that your student needs to achieve the best possible outcome. Attorney Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students nationwide against conduct code violation charges. Retain attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school conduct defense team now. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation, or use the online service.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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