Facing criminal charges at any age can have severe consequences in both your personal and professional life, but could be catastrophic if you are a college student. Even if you are not found guilty in criminal court, you could still end up facing significant sanctions from your college or university, including lengthy suspension or even permanent expulsion.
Hearings before collegiate conduct boards often work differently from criminal trials, and in order to pursue a successful outcome in your situation, you may need help from a criminal defense attorney experienced with both types of proceedings. A knowledgeable Atlanta student defense lawyer could provide critical guidance and support throughout your or your child’s case and help you prepare for both criminal prosecution and any investigation your school decides to undertake.
Some of the most common criminal charges that university students face involve age-restricted or substance-related behaviors like drinking alcohol while underage, simple drug possession, or using a fake ID to get into a bar.
While these are generally relatively minor offenses, a misdemeanor conviction could leave a young person with a permanent criminal record that could severely limit their occupational, residential, and further educational prospects. Additionally, a criminal conviction that does not result in any jail time is still punishable by a steep fine, as well as a potential period of probation.
More severe offenses such as repeated drunk driving, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and sexual assault may qualify as felony offenses, in which case expulsion may be the least of a student’s worries. In order to avoid life-altering fines and prison sentences, it could be crucial to retain an experienced student defense attorney in the area when facing these charges.
Every college and university in Atlanta has its own unique code of conduct, so the specific proceedings that may violate that code will vary between schools. Generally, any act that results in criminal charges will usually constitute a violation of any university’s conduct code. Violations may result in hearings before a conduct board or council that proceed completely separately from any ensuing criminal case.
In most student conduct proceedings run at the university level, defendants have some of the same rights they would have in a court of law—for example, the right to contest the allegations against them, and potentially the right to present exculpatory evidence or witness testimony. However, there is no constitutional guarantee of these or any other rights in this kind of hearing, so consulting a local lawyer skilled in student defense may be necessary to prepare and secure a favorable outcome.
Unfortunately, mistakes made in college can sometimes have permanent consequences—especially if those mistakes involve a violation of state law. If you or your child is charged with a criminal offense while enrolled in an Atlanta university, you may have a two-front battle ahead of you: one in criminal court, and one in the private conduct proceedings of your or your child’s school.
In either scenario, assistance from a qualified Atlanta student defense lawyer could make a significant impact on the outcome of your case. To schedule your initial consultation and discuss your legal options, call today.