Unique Aspects Of Virginia Beach Student Defense Cases

When a student enrolls in a university, they must abide by their school’s code of conduct. By agreeing to the code of conduct, the student agrees to behave a certain way and to refrain from certain behaviors as a condition of being a student at that institution. That code of conduct may also explain what the potential consequences are if a student violates any of its provisions. By agreeing to engage or refrain from the engagement of certain behavior, students can face disciplinary action even if that behavior is not necessarily a violation of state or federal law.

If you have been accused of violated your school’s code of conduct, you should speak to a knowledgeable attorney. A seasoned student defense attorney could help you build a defense against the charges. Reach out to learn about the unique aspects of Virginia Beach student defense cases.

Theft on Campus

Allegations of theft are taken very seriously at college campuses. A student could face disciplinary hearing that leads to suspension or expulsion. The charges could, and very likely would be, referred to local authorities for criminal charges.

Some universities will punish a student more harshly dependent on the value of the item alleged to be stolen. However, these amounts may differ from state or federal law. For example, the difference between misdemeanor and felony theft in Virginia is $500. That amount may not be relevant in university disciplinary proceedings. The university is able to decide on its own on how to punish theft with a certain dollar amount.

For example, somebody who is a student could be punished the same way for stealing someone’s phone or for stealing a computer from the university. The dollar amount may or may not matter, and they could still be punished the same way.

How Do Universities Handle Destruction of Property Charges?

A university handling of a destruction of property charge will be contained in its code of student conduct. However, just like with all criminal charges, that university will have discretion either to handle the matter internally or to refer it to local police.

Once again, unlike state or federal law, there may be no value amount that would cause it to be a misdemeanor or felony destruction of property. Theoretically, a student may be disciplined the same for destroying property worth less than $500 or destroying property that is worth more than $500.

What is Considered Trespassing at School?

The college or university has discretion on who is allowed on campus. It also has discretion whether to limit or expand the parameters within which an individual may proceed on campus.

If a campus is entirely residential, the school owns all the property and has the right to exclude anyone from the premises. A student who lives on campus and in a school building does not have the right to allow someone inside that has already been banned by the university.

Common Campus Offenses

A student can seek the services of an attorney for any on-campus incident. However, some of the most common ones on a non-exhaustive list are public intoxication, disorderly conduct, plagiarism, and any accusation on the statutes of misconduct.

The most obvious activity would be drinking. Some campuses are dry campuses and prohibit the use, possession, or sale of alcohol on the university premises. Possession or drinking of alcohol by persons over the age of 21 is not a crime. However, if a student violates a code of conduct that prohibits consumption or possession of alcohol, they may face disciplinary proceedings.

Reasons for Internal Disciplinary Proceedings

School campuses recognize the value of education and understand how devastating a suspension or expulsion can be to a student’s education and career. Depending on the severity of the offense charged, a school’s first step will not necessarily be punitive. Instead, a remedy can be fashioned that would allow the student to continue their education while avoiding further code of conduct violations.

Schools want to have control over their own disciplinary hearings. If attorneys are always allowed full participation, all disciplinary hearings could become full-fledged criminal trials. That is why schools have their own codes of conduct to act as a forum separate from the criminal justice system. If lawyers were allowed to have full control over that, there would be no separation, and universities would not be able to protect their students from some of the possible consequences of a criminal conviction.

Let a Student Defense Attorney Help

A student can be reprimanded, suspended, expelled, and also face criminal charges if they violate their school’s code of conduct. Often, depending on the severity of the offense charged, a school will try to work with the student to ensure further violations do not occur.

A student is always allowed to seek legal representation. However, a student in a disciplinary hearing is not constitutionally required to have legal representation. A school disciplinary hearing is not the same as a hearing in a court of law. A school disciplinary hearing is not bound by the same rules.

Even if an attorney is not allowed full participation in the disciplinary process, it would still be helpful to consult an attorney, so the lawyer can evaluate the evidence to get potential witnesses and investigate the case as much as the school would allow it. Call today to learn about the unique aspects of Virginia Beach student defense cases and how an attorney could help.