When a student is accused of violating their school's code of conduct, some of these charges may encounter two different areas: their college or university's disciplinary hearings, and the law. In serious cases when criminal charges are likely, a student needs the assistance of an attorney to help protect their rights.
Common Criminal Charges Acquired by Students on College and University Campuses
Here are some of the most common criminal charges and offenses that students may face in a college environment:
Underage drinking: In college, students may find themselves in situations when they have the decision to drink alcohol when under the legal age of 21. Although most students aren't criminally charged with this crime, schools will impose disciplinary actions against students who are caught doing so. Students have been known to be suspended or expelled (if a student is caught on several occasions) for underage drinking.
Drug crimes: Although illegal drugs do often make an appearance on college campuses during parties or in dorms, the vast majority of schools prohibit students from possessing and using them on school property. Students who are caught committing such actions may be subject to administrative action by school authorities or pinned with criminal charges.
Theft: When a student has been accused of taking something that doesn't belong to them, they could be charged with a theft crime. The criminal penalties imposed as a result of a theft conviction depends solely on the value of what was stolen. This means that a person may be convicted of a felony if they steal an expensive item or take a lot of items.
Hazing: Students in Greek life organizations like fraternity and sororities are common perpetrators of the act of hazing. This misconduct occurs when a person or organization endangers the physical, mental and/or academic health of other students. There's been an uptick in criminal hazing charges in recent years, and schools have been known to dissolve entire Greek life organizations as a result of hazing allegations.
Piracy: Piracy is the illegal downloading, copying, distribution or use of copyrighted materials. Due to skyrocketing textbook prices, students are more likely to pirate textbooks than any other copyrighted materials. Since authors of stolen textbooks have lost millions of dollars due to piracy, law enforcement and school authorities have banded together to crack down on students who are found guilty of this crime.
Weapon possession: Many schools prohibit weapons on college campuses. In today's climate, where school shootings are rampant, institutions have been known to impose relatively strict disciplinary actions upon students who are discovered with weapons on campus.
Sexual misconduct: Every type of sexual misconduct - sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape etc. - is prohibited in each school's code of conduct, and also often in a separate Title IX policy. These actions also constitute crimes in every state. Schools take sexual misconduct cases extremely seriously since they are pressured by the government to handle these cases by a certain standard. Students found responsible for sexual misconduct are often subject to suspension or expulsion from their academic institution, along with the possibility of criminal charges.
Student Defense Attorney
As you can see, charges acquired in a college setting can result in serious consequences. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully representing clients who have received criminal charges for the violations and crimes listed above. Contact him today for help.