Retain a High School Sexual Misconduct Attorney, Not a Local Criminal Attorney

High School Sexual Misconduct Charges Are Serious

High school students facing school sexual misconduct charges need skilled and experienced attorney representation. Most high school students, and more of their parents, realize the need for skilled attorney representation to defend against school sexual misconduct charges. High school sexual misconduct charges are serious enough so far as the student's ability to complete high school is concerned. High school teachers and officials understand that high school students are still growing and maturing. Yet students committing sexual misconduct can nonetheless get suspended and even kicked out of high school.

Getting kicked out of high school means not getting to earn the high school diploma with one's classmates and graduating with the class. Losing classmate relationships can hurt a student's social, emotional, and character development. High school expulsion also means losing honors and awards. A student expelled from one high school may not get into another high school. The best that the expelled student may be able to do is to earn a general equivalency diploma (GED), perhaps years after the student would have graduated, delaying college or vocational opportunities. With all these things on the line, high school students and their parents generally appreciate the need to hire a skilled and experienced school sexual misconduct attorney to defend and defeat the charges.

Collateral Consequences of Sexual Misconduct Can Be Serious

The consequences of a poorly handled, lost high school sexual misconduct charge can go well beyond the accused student's high school education. If you and your student do not hire a skilled school sexual misconduct attorney to effectively defend and defeat the charge, your student can suffer long-term collateral consequences. Those consequences can include delayed or lost opportunities for college or vocational training, lost loans and scholarships, and lost mentors, friends, and other supporters. The consequences of a high school sexual misconduct violation can also mean lost opportunities for graduate or professional school and for professional or vocational licenses.

High school students found to have committed serious sexual misconduct may even lose job and career opportunities. With those lost educational, vocational, and employment opportunities come other losses and burdens. Mental and physical health can suffer, as can relationships with family members and friends. Handled poorly, a high school sexual misconduct charge can cripple a young person's overall development, changing the course not only of their education but also of the trajectory of their life. No parent wants to see their student start off adult life on the wrong foot, handicapped by a record of high school sexual misconduct. Collateral consequences of misconduct violations, and the risk of changing the trajectory of the student's life, are other good reasons to get the best available high school sexual misconduct defense attorney. If your high school student faces school sexual misconduct charges, retain national school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school sexual misconduct defense team. Put the best defense to work for your student.

Avoid the Impulse to Hire a Local Criminal Attorney

Most cities and towns of any decent size will have a local criminal attorney defending adult clients on drunk driving, disorderly conduct, bad check, and other petty crime charges. Your area's local criminal attorneys may also handle more-serious crime charges like rape, statutory rape, robbery, and even homicide cases. Your first impulse may be to hire one of those local criminal attorneys to defend your high school student against school sexual misconduct charges. Avoid that impulse. The kind of attorney you hire can make a huge difference to your high school student's school sexual misconduct charge outcome. A local criminal attorney whom you already know may be readily available, or friends and co-workers may recommend a local criminal attorney. You may even trust and believe in the good character and strong criminal defense skills of that local criminal attorney.

But the local criminal attorney's criminal defense skills aren't the question. Those skills don't matter to the effective defense of your high school student against school sexual misconduct charges. The local criminal defense attorney may be very good at what the attorney usually does, defending adults charged with crimes in the local criminal court. It doesn't matter. Those criminal defense skills are the wrong skills for high school student school sexual misconduct defense. If you hire a local criminal attorney, you may get a great criminal defense. But your high school student is not a criminal, and your student's high school hasn't charged your student with a crime. A local criminal attorney who lacks experience in high school sexual misconduct defense won't know or have the skills necessary for an effective defense of your student. Avoid the impulse to hire a local criminal attorney. Instead, hire national school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school sexual misconduct defense team. Hire the right kind of lawyer.

High School Sexual Misconduct Charges Are Administrative

The reason that a local criminal attorney is not the right kind of attorney to hire for a high school sexual misconduct proceeding is that high school sexual misconduct charges involve administrative proceedings rather than court proceedings. If your high school student faces school sexual misconduct charges, the high school will resolve those charges in the school or at a school administrative building. High school sexual misconduct charges don't go to court for resolution. High schools resolve sexual misconduct charges through their own procedures, not through court procedures, and through their own school personnel, not through court personnel.

An administrative proceeding is very different from a court proceeding. An administrative proceeding follows administrative rules. Those administrative rules relax or ignore the rules of procedure, rules of evidence, and other legal rules that criminal courts follow. You won't generally, for instance, see a party or attorney object to the other party's offer of evidence in an administrative proceeding because administrative officials may generally consider any credible information, even if it does not satisfy a court's formal evidence rules. Administrative officials may consider hearsay, personal opinions, unauthenticated documents, and other information that a criminal court's evidence rules would have barred. A local criminal attorney may be quite skilled at those criminal court rules, but those rules may mean little or nothing in the administrative proceeding. You need to retain an administrative attorney with skill and experience in high school sexual misconduct defense, not a local criminal attorney.

High School Sexual Misconduct Charges Are Academic

High school sexual misconduct proceedings, though, are more than just administrative proceedings. High school sexual misconduct proceedings are uniquely academic administrative proceedings. Academic proceedings have very different goals from criminal court proceedings. Criminal courts punish and deter crimes. Criminal courts seek to jail dangerous defendants, making examples of them for others who might commit the same crimes. In contrast, high schools educate students. A high school's first and primary concern is for the education of the involved students, both accuser and accused. High school sexual misconduct proceedings aren't seeking to punish but to educate, grow, and mature the involved students.

A local criminal attorney who lacks experience in high school sexual misconduct proceedings won't necessarily appreciate the opportunities for resolution that academic administrative proceedings present. Criminal attorneys are trying to keep their clients out of jail. They may mistakenly assume that any resolution of a high school sexual misconduct charge that keeps the student from getting charged in the criminal court and going to jail is an acceptable resolution. But that is not at all the case. The accused student's interest isn't simply avoiding jail. Jail is not a potential punishment for high school sexual misconduct charges. The accused student's interest is in preserving the student's clean record and reputation to proceed with the student's dreams of education, employment, and life. National school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how to work with high school officials to treat the charge as an opportunity for education, preserving the accused student's clean record and future.

High School Sexual Misconduct Differs from Sex Crimes

Another reason why a local criminal attorney isn't the right choice to defend your high school student against school sexual misconduct charges is that high school sexual misconduct differs from sex crimes. High school rules will, of course, prohibit rape, stalking, and other conduct that criminal codes also address. But by far, most high school sexual misconduct cases don't involve outright criminal conduct like serious sexual assaults. High school sexual misconduct codes may prohibit a much wider range of behaviors than the criminal code prohibits, including things like:

  • Sharing drugs or alcohol with another with whom the student engages in intimate or sexual activity
  • Observing intimate activity like disrobing and bathing, or sexual activity, or allowing others to observe intimate or sexual activity
  • Sharing intimate images by text, email, or through social media, whether of the one sharing the image or of others
  • Exposing one's own intimate body parts or exposing intimate body parts of another
  • Offering housing, transportation, food, money, or other benefits in exchange for sexual activity or exposure of intimate body parts
  • Transmitting sexual diseases
  • Aiding or assisting another person in any of the above acts, including helping that person avoid detection
  • Commenting on another student's appearance, whether positively or negatively, in a manner that offends the other student
  • Viewing pornography in the presence of others, sharing explicit images, or instructing another student how to access those images
  • Inviting another student to participate in intimate or sexual activity, even voluntarily, if the invitation offends the other student

A local criminal attorney lacking experience in high school sexual misconduct matters may not appreciate the lengths to which high schools may go to regulate student behavior that is not criminal. In contrast, a school sexual misconduct defense attorney will know the risk of a misconduct violation that the accused student faces with a school charge for non-criminal behavior. The school sexual misconduct defense attorney will also know how to help school officials see the charge as an opportunity for education rather than punishment. Retain national school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school sexual misconduct defense team to defend your student's sexual misconduct charge.

High School Sexual Misconduct Proofs Differ from Court Proofs

The evidence and information that high school officials typically collect, examine, and use in school sexual misconduct proceedings usually differ markedly from the evidence law enforcement officials use in criminal court sex-crime proceedings. In a criminal court sex-crime charge, the evidence is often medical and physical, showing that the defendant did or did not use force for sex with the alleged victim. What the accused defendant and putative victim say, which is often the opposite of one another, may matter far less than what the physical evidence shows. In a sex-crime case, doctors, medical examiners, and forensics experts are often the key witnesses and medical records, photographs, and test results the key documentary evidence. A local criminal attorney typically knows how to approach, use, and challenge medical and physical evidence.

In high school sexual misconduct cases, though, the evidence and information school officials typically collect and evaluate is instead the statements and accounts of the involved students. The important questions are often who said what, to whom, when, and with what intent. In a high school sexual misconduct case, the student context is often everything. High school students can also have notoriously inconsistent recollections and give highly unreliable accounts, often reflecting their peculiar high school biases, factions, and interests. A skilled and experienced school sexual misconduct defense attorney knows how to help school officials appreciate the student context, where the students may be exploring and experimenting with their identity and relationships while constantly misunderstanding one another. If your student faces high school sexual misconduct charges, the chances are good that your student needs a skilled and experienced attorney to give appropriate context to your student's words and actions. National school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how to handle high school misunderstandings leading to false or exaggerated sexual misconduct charges.

School Sexual Misconduct Laws Differ from Sex Crime Laws

Lawyers know the law. But any one lawyer doesn't know all the law. That's one reason why lawyers tend to practice only in certain fields: they simply cannot know all the law in all the fields in which they might have a chance to practice. Lawyers thus make dangerous dabblers. Clients should be especially cautious to hire a lawyer who hasn't practiced in the field in which the client needs a lawyer's services. The novice lawyer, one who is only dabbling in another lawyer's field, makes mistakes. Novice lawyers overlook nuances in the law. If your high school student faces school sexual misconduct charges, your student needs an attorney who knows high school sexual misconduct laws.

High school sexual misconduct proceedings don't fall under criminal laws. High school sexual misconduct proceedings instead fall under administrative law, education law, and sometimes contract law. In contrast, sex crimes involve state criminal codes. Defending a sex crime charge in criminal court requires knowing the law of constitutional rights and the laws of criminal procedure. A local criminal attorney probably knows a ton about criminal laws and the laws of criminal procedure. But a local criminal attorney who lacks experience in school sexual misconduct proceedings generally won't know the necessary administrative and school law. You don't hire a carpenter to fix your plumbing. If your high school student faces school sexual misconduct charges, then retain national school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school sexual misconduct defense team.

Alternative Relief May Be Available in School Proceedings

National school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento's hundreds of successful school sexual misconduct defenses have proven that alternative special relief is often available when routine procedures fail. Local criminal attorneys depend on criminal court procedures. They have few, if any, ways to go around the rules to win special relief for their defendant clients. Prosecutors and judges must play things by the book. The criminal defense attorney who goes around asking special favors in special cases won't get very far and may instead get in trouble. Criminal court cases must generally get consistent treatment. In criminal court cases, justice for one defendant should look pretty much like justice for another defendant. No one can get too creative. Shaping relief to each individual defendant would look too much like unequal justice and rank favoritism.

The opposite is true for high school sexual misconduct cases. Because high schools have an educational mission, high school officials generally have the authority, indeed the mandate, to fit every school service to the best interests of the individual student. High school services aren't supposed to look like cookie-cutter services. Every student is unique, and every student's situation is unique. Each student thus deserves services, treatment, and support fitting to that individual student's needs and circumstances. The high school's educational mission extends to its sexual misconduct proceedings. Attorney Lento has repeatedly found that a skilled presentation to high school oversight officials, such as superintendents, student-services directors, or school attorneys from the district's general counsel office, can lead to appropriate dismissal of the charges in favor of relevant counseling and education.

Reputation and Relationships Matter

The reputation of the attorney whom you hire to defend your high school student in a school sexual misconduct proceeding matters. A local criminal attorney may have a fine reputation for defending those whom criminal courts charge with crimes. The local prosecutor and judge will know the local criminal attorney and may genuinely respect that local criminal attorney as having a fine reputation for criminal defense. But little or none of that reputation translates to the high school setting. Indeed, high school officials may take the local criminal attorney's reputation for defending those charged with serious crimes as a reason to regard your high school student as especially suspect. Instead, your high school student needs a school sexual misconduct defense attorney with a sterling reputation for helping schools resolve sexual misconduct charges in ways that preserve both the education of the accused student and the integrity of the school. National school sexual misconduct attorney Joseph D. Lento has exactly that hard-earned reputation, won from hundreds of cases successfully defending students against sexual misconduct charges.

The professional relationships of the attorney whom you hire to defend your high school student in a school sexual misconduct proceeding also matter. In the course of representing hundreds of students at schools nationwide, attorney Lento has come to know many school in-house attorneys, outside retained attorneys, and key administrators. Attorney Lento may already have worked effectively with the attorneys or administrators involved in your student's sexual misconduct charge or with attorneys and administrators whom your student's high school officials know. Word gets around. Attorney Lento's sterling reputation for being a proactive and problem-solving attorney who can resolve sexual misconduct cases creatively, wisely, efficiently, and fairly may well work in your high school student's favor.

Retain a High School Sexual Misconduct Defense Attorney

National school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available to represent and defend your high school student nationwide, no matter where your student's high school is located and no matter the nature of the sexual misconduct the school alleges. Student sexual misconduct charges can have lifelong impacts if not properly handled. High school sexual misconduct charges warrant more than retaining a local criminal defense attorney who lacks experience defending student misconduct charges. Instead, retain premier national school sexual misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento. Attorney Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students against sexual misconduct charges. Your student's future is worth protecting. Retain attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm's school sexual misconduct 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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