Fairfax County Student Defense Lawyer

Student disciplinary proceedings may arise from an arrest or criminal charge, even if the incident took place entirely off campus. These proceedings also may stem from allegations of misconduct on campus, such as plagiarism. If you receive notice of any disciplinary proceedings from your college or university, you may wish to contact a Fairfax County student defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

If you must appear before a disciplinary committee for a hearing based on a criminal charge, you will be facing two separate proceedings, each of which has its own set of harsh consequences.

A seasoned criminal defense lawyer who is skilled at handling both proceedings may be able to advocate on your behalf and represent your interests in both forums. This representation also may allow you to educate yourself about these proceedings and learn what to expect from each.

College Students and Criminal Offenses

Most college students are between the ages of 18 and 22, which means that the law generally treats them as adults. Students can face the same criminal charges as any other adult in Virginia, as well as the same consequences. When combined with the possibility of campus disciplinary proceedings, a student defense lawyer in Fairfax County knows that the overall repercussions for college students can be extremely severe.

Many criminal charges that students face are related to alcohol or drugs, either directly or indirectly. Charges can include underage drinking, possession of marijuana, and providing alcohol to minors. Other criminal charges may not be alcohol or drug-related offense, but they often result from a night of partying gone wrong; students may face assault, sexual assault, DUI, and reckless driving charges, among others.

Penalties for Student Criminal Charges in Fairfax County

Even for students with no previous criminal record, the penalties that arise from an arrest and subsequent conviction may be severe. An arrest can trigger administrative disciplinary proceedings at school, even if the prosecutor never files charges or later dismisses the charges according to a deferral program. Furthermore, a criminal conviction can result in fines, community service hours, probation, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time in some circumstances.

Additionally, a criminal conviction can create a permanent criminal record for students that may pose an obstacle to their future. College students routinely must disclose convictions on applications for graduate and professional schools. Prospective employers conducting background checks also are likely to discover any criminal convictions.

Consequences of Student Disciplinary Proceedings

There is a vast difference between criminal proceedings and student disciplinary proceedings at a college. While the criminal justice system treats defendants as innocent until proven guilty and extends constitutional protections to them, students in conduct code proceedings enjoy no such rights. Instead, they often must prove their innocence, which can be far more difficult without the assistance of a student defense attorney in Fairfax County.

Since no rules of evidence apply, a student conduct code committee may find that students violated college or university policies based solely on the uncorroborated statements of witnesses and other individuals. The resulting sanctions from these administrative proceedings may include academic probation, ineligibility for sports or student activities, curfews, suspension, and even expulsion in some cases.

Beyond the penalties that a student disciplinary committee may hand down, individuals may suffer consequences that affect them well into the future. A permanent stain on the academic record of students can cause an inability to get into graduate school, difficulties getting internships and jobs, and possible delays in earning a degree.

Allow a Fairfax County Student Defense Attorney to Help

The conduct code and disciplinary proceedings at every college and university are unique, which underscores the need to have experienced legal representation. Since the results of a criminal prosecution can directly affect the outcome of student disciplinary proceedings, getting the advice of a Fairfax County student defense lawyer could be critical to a positive result in your case.

Both criminal charges and student conduct proceedings can be frightening and stressful experiences in your life. Legal counsel and advocacy may be able to help you make the best of a bad situation and reach a better resolution in your case.