When a college student is arrested, they face more than just a criminal proceeding. Their educational institution is likely to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them as well.
Although prosecutors must prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt to get a criminal conviction, schools have no obligation to extend due process. Depending on the reason for the arrest, the student might face serious disciplinary consequences or expulsion.
A New Haven student defense lawyer recognizes the impact that one mistake could have on a student’s future. The legal team at Ruane Attorneys will work to resolve the situation and minimize the effect on the student’s educational and professional ambitions.
Defending Criminal Charges for Students
Most student arrests are for relatively minor offenses such as disorderly conduct or breach of the peace. Even when the charge is more serious, such as drug possession or assault, a New Haven student defense attorney could work to resolve the case and prevent the creation of a criminal record.
Criminal courts have full dockets, and prosecutors have punishing caseloads. In many cases, they prefer to have a student pay restitution for any damage they caused and perhaps engage in community service instead of proceeding with criminal prosecution. In some cases, they could refer a student to a diversionary program for assistance with mental health, substance misuse, domestic violence, or anger management issues. When the student has completed the program satisfactorily, the charges are dismissed.
In other situations, it makes sense to defend a criminal charge at trial. The student’s attorney could prepare a robust defense and challenge the prosecution’s evidence to obtain an acquittal.
Code of Conduct Violations Can Have Significant Consequences
Criminal defendants must be considered innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, students accused of Code of Conduct violations have no such rights.
A student could face disciplinary charges resulting from an arrest even if there is no conviction. Each school is unique, but Codes of Conduct typically require students to follow the law and uphold the institution’s reputation. Any activity that results in arrest by New Haven police is often enough to merit a proceeding.
A disciplinary proceeding is a consequential matter. The disciplinary committee has the right to punish the student in various ways, such as by:
- Suspending them
- Evicting them from campus housing
- Issuing directives that they stay away from specific people
- Demanding that they obtain mental health or substance abuse treatment
- Revoking a scholarship
A disciplinary committee could suspend or expel a student, which could impact their ability to go to graduate school, obtain a professional license, or work in certain fields.
Representation at Disciplinary Hearings
Institutions often conduct hearings like a one-sided trial. The school presents witnesses and documentary evidence establishing that the student violated the Code of Conduct. The student might be required to answer questions about the incident.
Some schools allow an accused student to present evidence and witnesses in their defense, but many do not. Some schools allow an attorney to be present at the hearing, but some require legal counsel to sit outside the hearing room.
Whatever the school’s policy, a New Haven attorney could prepare a student for the hearing. If the student and their family are unhappy with the hearing’s outcome, they could appeal the decision, advocate for a modification of the punishment, or prepare to take legal action.
Seek Guidance from a New Haven Student Defense Attorney
When a young life full of promise takes a hard turn because of one mistake, it is a tragedy. A New Haven student defense lawyer could provide tireless representation to mitigate the consequences of criminal and disciplinary proceedings.
When the stakes are this high, do not attempt to handle your case on your own. Call Ruane Attorneys now to learn how we could fight to protect your future.