College is a time for learning, growing, and making decisions on your own, often for the first time. As a result, it is not unusual for students to make mistakes or have lapses in judgment. When this happens, the assistance of a Summerville student defense lawyer may be beneficial.

Breaking the law can have consequences both through the criminal justice system and the university disciplinary system. Even minor infractions impact your future educational and professional opportunities. A criminal defense lawyer could represent a student in both criminal and university disciplinary proceedings to mitigate penalties and preserve their future.

Criminal Charges for College Students in Summerville

Students often experiment with new activities in college, some of which may be illegal. Not surprisingly, many students end up with criminal charges related to alcohol consumption. Whether they are charged with DUI, underage drinking, or possession of fake IDs, students can face criminal charges, even if the offense occurs on campus.

Even a minor alcohol-related charge creates a permanent criminal record that will appear on background checks in the future. Furthermore, a criminal conviction comes with penalties, such as fines, court costs, probation, license suspension, and even jail time in some situations. Students who are first-time offenders may be able to take advantage of available diversion or deferral programs, which may help them avoid a conviction.

Student Disciplinary Proceedings

Unfortunately, even if students never face criminal charges following an arrest, or the prosecution ultimately dismisses the criminal charges, students can still face university disciplinary action at their schools. As a student defense lawyer in Summerville may advise, the penalties that result from student conduct code proceedings may have more severe implications than any criminal proceedings.

The rules for evidence and standards of proof for disciplinary hearings are far different than those in the criminal justice system. For instance, while criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, students charged with conduct code violations enjoy no such presumption.

What Evidence can be Used in a Student Disciplinary Proceeding?

There are no limits on the evidence that school administrators and disciplinary boards can use to find that students committed misconduct. Although the criminal justice system limits unreliable evidence, such as hearsay, disciplinary committees routinely consider uncorroborated and even anonymous statements from others. As a result, students have few protections against the claims of others, whether the alleged misconduct relates to underage drinking, plagiarism, or sexual assault.

What are the Penalties for University Conduct Code Violations?

The outcome of student conduct proceedings can be harsh. Students may be placed on probation, evicted from student housing, or removed from individual classes. Schools can prohibit students from participating in extra-curricular activities and sporting events.

Students may also lose their scholarships, which can cause significant financial hardship. In extreme cases, they may face suspension or expulsion from the university, thus significantly derailing their academic endeavors. A student defense attorney in Summerville could be instrumental in fighting back against student disciplinary charges and reaching a better resolution to their case.

Call a Summerville Student Defense Attorney

College students facing criminal charges are in a unique situation. They may face two separate sets of penalties – one from the criminal justice system and one from their university disciplinary board. These penalties can be extraordinarily significant and substantially impact their futures. As a result, consulting a Summerville student defense lawyer for advice may be wise.

Rather than allowing a single mistake to dictate the course of your future, contact legal counsel before engaging in either criminal or school disciplinary proceedings. In this manner, you may be able to avoid some of the potential negative implications of these proceedings.