Norfolk Student Defense Lawyer

Students attending Virginia colleges and universities have chosen to invest in their education in hopes of building a brighter future. As these young adults go out into the world on their own, often for the first time, they inevitably make mistakes, and sometimes, those mistakes have potentially disastrous consequences. Whether a night of partying leads to an unexpected arrest or a campus prank goes awry, a Norfolk student defense lawyer may be able to defuse the situation with law enforcement authorities and school officials, and potentially reach an acceptable resolution of the matter on your behalf. Contact a hard-working criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin reviewing potential legal strategies.

Criminal Offenses Common Among Students

Law enforcement officials commonly arrest college students for various criminal offenses, including many that are related to alcohol consumption. Underage drinking is a criminal offense that occurs rampantly on university campuses, which can result in DUI charges, as well as offenses such as disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault.

College students also may be arrested for possession of marijuana and controlled substances, vandalism, and sexual assault. While these offenses range from fairly minor to very serious, individuals need to be aware of all of the potential repercussions from criminal activity. Although college students routinely face the same criminal offenses as other members of the general public, they can face penalties that will follow them well beyond the courtroom. Aside from fines and other fees, and perhaps probation or jail time in the event of a conviction, a mere arrest on a criminal charge can trigger student disciplinary proceedings that may affect individuals’ ability to continue their education as planned. Even if the arrest results in no charges or any charges ultimately are dismissed, students still are likely to have to answer to school officials for their behavior.

School Disciplinary Proceedings and Student Conduct

In addition to arrests and accusations of criminal wrongdoing, college students also may become swept up in situations that may result in student conduct code violation proceedings. Plagiarism, cheating schemes, misuse of school resources, vandalism of school facilities, and the misuse of social media, even if meant as an innocent college prank, all can have harsh implications for targeted students. These incidents, too, are likely to initiate disciplinary proceedings, the results of which can include suspension, expulsion, and permanent academic records showing misconduct.

Criminal Penalties and Student Discipline

Consulting a Norfolk student defense lawyer may assist individuals not only in navigating the criminal justice system but also in traversing the likely unfamiliar territory of academic disciplinary proceedings. All colleges and universities have some form of student behavior code or rules in place, as well as disciplinary proceedings that are held when students are alleged to have violated the rules. While these proceedings can vary from one college to the next, they all are similar in that they seek to hold students accountable for their behavior, whether on or off the campus.

In a criminal proceeding, the burden is on the prosecutor or the state to show evidence sufficient to prove that individuals have violated the law. This level of proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt, and the criminal justice system assumes that individuals are innocent, rather than rendering them automatically guilty as charged.

Student disciplinary proceedings, however, are quite different. In many cases, individuals affirmatively must prove their innocence, plead their case, and prove to the college that they are worth giving a second chance.

There are no rules of evidence in place, which means that the school can consider any type of evidence in determining whether and how individual students should be punished for their actions, even if the evidence is not particularly relevant or reliable. This policy can open the door to a great deal of information coming before school authorities that may not cause them to look favorably upon the students charged with the violations.

Speaking with a Norfolk Student Defense Attorney

As the consequences of student code violations for any college student can be quite severe, such as being placed on probationary status, temporarily suspended, or even expelled, having a Norfolk student defense lawyer on your side may be invaluable to your case. A negative outcome, in either criminal proceedings or student disciplinary proceedings, can be highly harmful to your future. Minimize your risks by getting the advice of an experienced student defense attorney in Norfolk before taking any further actions with respect to your case.