The stakes are high for those accused of violating their school's code of conduct. Mere accusations can prolong the time it takes you to obtain a degree and ultimately prevent you from receiving it all together. Serious allegations (like Title IX sexual misconduct) can land the accused, whether they are guilty or not, behind bars with a permanent criminal record. However, this does not have to be the case. The steps that you take immediately after receiving notice of allegations against you will determine your fate. Handling accusations wisely and appropriately is the key to achieving a favorable outcome. Here are a few tips concerning how to handle accusations on campus:
Retain an attorney
Many accused students make the mistake of hiring an attorney after they have been subject to a suspension or expulsion from their school. A lawyer is much more useful before disciplinary actions are imposed, since they will be able to protect your rights before you are hit with wrongful penalties. Accused students who take accusations seriously know that hiring an attorney maximizes their chance of a desirable resolution.
Be aware of your behavior and actions
Perhaps you didn't do what you've been accused of, or you think that the allegations against you aren't a big deal. It's easy to for respondents to completely minimize the significance of allegations and disregard the weight of their potential consequences until it is too late. In college settings today, schools promptly and aggressively follow up on complaints of school violations, especially if these claims involve sexual misconduct. A school may put you under supervision, by thoroughly monitoring your every move. This is why accused students should be aware of their actions, as suspicious behaviors could make you look guilty and affect the overall outcome of your case.
Learn your school's processes
Once you receive notice of your allegations, make sure that you identify which rule you violated in your school's code of conduct, and the processes the school will carry out to determine your guilt or innocence. This will help you know exactly what to expect and notice when schools don't follow their own rules. In the event that you discover a school has denied you of rights that you are entitled or have strayed from the original process, you may be able to take legal action.
With the help of an attorney, you should gather any relevant evidence concerning your case. Evidence could be phone records, pictures, text messages, social media messages, clothing or any other items that support your account of what occurred. Also, creating a list of witnesses who know you, the accuser, or anything about the incident in question could help you build your case.