Student misconduct in the confines of a school community is different from committing an offense elsewhere. There are several differences between a criminal court and a student disciplinary action, both in the hearing process and also what might happen afterward. In an informal or formal hearing, a student will not have the same amount of due process as a criminal court. In a student disciplinary action, there might not be any actual witnesses presented and the school may tell the individual what a witness said in summary fashion only. Also, the actual consequences are different. Instead of a set punishment that is listed, the school may give a range or multiple types of punishment including alerting the student’s parents. Even if there is no formal finding, they may still institute sanctions based on what they feel is appropriate and not on any set standard. Student offenses lead to a less legalistic and more holistic and subjective process than criminal cases.
If you are facing a student disciplinary action or campus offense, you should seek a seasoned defense attorney. A Chester County student defense lawyer could advocate for you.
Universities have individual codes of conduct that students agree to comply with. An act of agreement to behave a certain way impacts the consequences that a student may face when violating their school code. These agreements of students are signed or acknowledged when they enter universities. By attending, these agreements have been held by the courts to have a binding effect like a contract. This will put the student at a disadvantage if they are going into a misconduct hearing and are unaware of what they agreed to. For example, things that may not be illegal in the criminal court could have serious consequences on a school campus. Something that is not illegal by law, such as plagiarism or cheating a test, might lead to expulsion or suspension, even though an individual could not be prosecuted by the government for that offense. For more information, consult with a student defense lawyer in Chester County.
For student crimes on campus, the university could punish someone separately from a criminal court. A school has the ability to sanction a student with an informal warning, a formal warning in their school record, or a simple apology to the person effected when the crime is a low-level offense not reported to authorities.
Educational sanctions are the next possible penalty in which they might benefit from learning more about their behaviors. This might be something that contributes positively to the community, such as performing community service, organizing a project, and attending presentations. This might be a more rehabilitative-type model and be used for certain alcohol or drug-related offenses. Depending on the increasing severity, they may be required to move to a new location for their benefit or the benefit of their community, pay restitution for damage or vandalism, pay fines, and have restriction of privileges, such as from entering specific buildings or places.
After that, the penalties rise to removal from the school or one step away from removal. This includes residential probation to a full disciplinary hearing for suspension or expulsion. Students should keep in mind if the crime was reported to the local police as well as the school, then they will also be facing criminal charges which come with their own set of penalties separate from the school.
A Chester County student defense lawyer could fight for you and possibly help you reach a favorable outcome to your situation. If you are facing allegations of misconduct or campus charges, get in touch with a skilled attorney today.