Student Defense - University of California, Davis

To earn a law degree at the University of California, Law School students have to complete their course of study and adhere to the University's Honor Code.

The Honor Code of University of California, Law School

At UC Davis Law School (University), both students and staff play a role in maintaining an honest and secure environment.

For students, this includes:

  • Doing their own work unless otherwise instructed by the professor,
  • Respecting the copyright privileges of work produced by others,
  • Knowing what constitutes cheating, refraining from cheating, and helping to prevent others from engaging in cheating,
  • Not disrupting classes or interfering with teaching, and
  • Not threatening or intimidating instructors or interfering with grading

Faculty and staff work to maintain an honest and secure environment by educating students and other administrative staff about the Code of Academic Conduct, training staff about preventing and addressing academic misconduct, and providing an educational environment that minimizes opportunities for misconduct.

Student Misconduct

At UC Davis Law School, misconduct includes:

  • Plagiarism;
  • Creating false citations;
  • Taking credit for another person's ideas;
  • Copying from another student or allowing another student to copy from you;
  • Collaborating on an exam or looking at another student's exam;
  • Bringing pre-written answers to an exam;
  • Displaying or using unauthorized notes, cheat sheets, or electronic devices;
  • Altering assignments or exams for re-grading purposes;
  • Having another person take an exam for you, or taking an exam for another student;
  • Unexcused exit or re-entry during an exam period;
  • Talking, texting, or communicating during an exam;
  • Unauthorized collaboration on coursework;
  • Posting, purchasing, obtaining, sharing, or copying any course materials;
  • Forging signatures, or making false statements regarding attendance, requests for late drops, or incomplete grades; and
  • Intimidating, threatening, or harassing an instructor, teaching assistant, or staff person.

The Academic Hearing Process

The law school uses informal procedures to resolve disciplinary matters whenever possible. However, there are times when formal hearings are necessary.

Notice of Report

The first step in the misconduct adjudication process is the Notice of Report. Once the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) receives a report of alleged misconduct, it notifies the student by email and directs them to meet with the OSSJA.

The First Meeting

After OSSJA notifies the accused student, it schedules the First Meeting (Meeting). The Meeting is the student's first opportunity to respond to any allegations. During the process, an OSSJA officer will explain the adjudication procedures and the evidence supporting the report. The student can then respond, though they are not required to do so. If the student answers, they must do so with complete candor. Providing false statements may result in additional academic misconduct allegations.

Informal Misconduct Procedures

If eligible, the OSSJA may resolve allegations of student misconduct by informal procedures. Generally, the resolutions are a written agreement between the University and the student that outlines the violation and any sanctions. During an informal process, the OSSJA won't impose sanctions without the accused's consent unless the student does not participate in the adjudication process. Then the OSSJA may issue a unilateral decision without the accused student's participation.

Formal Misconduct Hearings

If the misconduct matter does not qualify for an informal resolution, then the OSSJA will move the case forward to a formal hearing. A formal misconduct hearing begins with a written notice to the accused student outlining the charges, the date, time, and location of the hearing, and the hearing procedures.

Formal misconduct hearings are not open to the public. The hearing body, the accused student, the reporting party, witnesses, advisors, a recording monitor, and a Judicial Officer are the only people allowed in unless the OSSJA gives prior approval. During the hearing, the accused and the reporting party have the opportunity to present evidence and question witnesses, though the accused does not have to testify. The hearing body may also question the witnesses. Though the charged and reporting student may have an advisor, neither can have an attorney represent them during the hearing. After the hearing, the panel deliberates in a closed session and issues a report containing findings of fact and a decision in the case.

Penalties for Misconduct

If it is a first-time offense and the accused admits the violation and accepts the penalties, OSSJA generally will place the student on disciplinary probation or deferred separation. The student also either will have to perform community service or complete an online Academic Integrity Seminar. However, law school students are held to a higher standard and may be suspended or dismissed for a first-time offense.

Penalties also may more severe if the violation involves:

  • pre-planning, conspiring with others, deliberate harm to another, or a criminal act;
  • more than one violation at the same time; or
  • The student's false statements about the incident or inaccurate information to try to cover up the offense.


For appeals to decisions based on unilateral action, a convicted student may appeal but must show reasonable grounds for failing to cooperate. For appeals to formal hearing decisions, the convicted student has 10 business days to file a written appeal.

Should Accused Students Hire an Attorney?

Even though the OSSJA has student members that may serve as advisors, they are still students no matter how well trained or well-meaning. There is just too much at stake to take such a risk for any law student accused of academic misconduct. A conviction for misconduct not only halts your academic progress; it also may prevent your admission to the bar.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the nation fight to protect their academic and professional careers. The misconduct proceedings at UC Davis Law School can be intense. You need professional help to navigate the proceedings, ensure a fair process, and secure the best possible outcome. Students and their families can reach out to the firm at 888-535-3686 or by using the firm's online form to schedule a case consultation.

Contact Us Today!

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.

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