College students charged with crimes face particularly unique—and potentially serious—consequences. In addition to any punishments stemming from a criminal conviction, these young individuals may also face conduct code charges levied by their college or university. In many situations, a school will initiate an investigation as soon as a student is charged, and may convict even if a court in Athens does not. An experienced Athens student defense lawyer may be able to help university students in both the courtroom and conduct committee hearings, protecting not just their freedom, but also their right to continue receiving their education. Read on to learn more about how a dedicated criminal lawyer could fight for your rights today.
What Happens When a Student is Charged with a Crime?
As soon as a someone is arrested, the police will refer the case to the local prosecutor’s office. That office will then decide whether to file formal charges in court. As soon as this decision is made, it is often essential for a defendant to obtain the professional legal representation that will protect their rights in court. The first hearing, known as an arraignment, will determine important issues such as the amount of bail, any protective orders, and pre-trial release conditions. The arraignment is also an opportunity to learn about the nature of the charges and obtain evidence in discovery.
The proceedings that follow arraignment can be just as critical. They will deal with important evidentiary issues and questions of what can be heard at trial. If someone wishes to come to a fair plea deal before trial, their skilled Athens student defense lawyer may be able to work with the prosecution to come to terms that are acceptable to everyone. On the other hand, a defendant has a constitutional right to a full trial in which they may attempt to prove their innocence.
Potential Consequences at School
As soon as the school hears that a student has been arrested, they will almost always initiate an investigation into the incident. Regardless of whether the incident involved another student, took place on campus, or even had anything to do with school, the administration will often look into it. Common crimes that student conduct councils often examine can include:
- Public intoxication
- Criminal mischief
- Drunk driving
- Drug possession
The mere accusation of a crime can be enough to trigger an investigation that severely limits the rights of the student. Every school has its own particular procedures for these hearings, but in general, the investigator will talk to witnesses, examine any documentation concerning the case, and speak to the student. The accused has the right to hire an experienced Athens student defense lawyer to assist them during this investigation. Depending upon the school, however, the student may have to face questioning on their own. Still, an Athens student defense lawyer could provide invaluable help to the individuals in terms of understanding what to expect and how to avoid incriminating themselves in their answers.
Working with an Athens Student Defense Lawyer
A student facing criminal charges must keep both their personal freedom and educational future in mind. A conviction in criminal court could jeopardize their academic future, in addition to other criminal consequences such as having a misdemeanor or felony offense on their record. An Athens student defense lawyer could provide college students with a thorough and diligent defense immediately after arrest, in court, and before disciplinary board hearings. Consider reaching out to a determined Athens student defense lawyer today for your initial consultation.