High school and college students are often in the midst of making life-changing educational decisions in their years at school. Students’ academic records not only impact their educational chances but their future employment opportunities as well.
When a student is alleged to have committed a teen crime, a rules violation at school, or a criminal offense, it is important to protect their permanent record. Fulton County students facing school disciplinary actions have the right to legal representation of a skilled defense attorney in criminal cases. Fulton County student defense attorneys understand how the school system works, how a charge can affect a student, and how to defend that student within the school system or criminal court.Disciplinary Hearing Defense
Many high school students and their parents do not realize they have the right to due process for school disciplinary hearings. When a Fulton County high school suspends or expels a student, that student is legally entitled to know why they are facing punishment.
Students facing a suspension of more than 10 days or an expulsion are also entitled to a formal tribunal hearing. At these tribunal hearings, students have many legal rights under the state Student Code of Conduct. These rights include:
- The right to legal representation
- The right to submit evidence in their defense
- The right to subpoena witnesses (requiring them to attend the hearing) from the school system
- The right to appeal the tribunal’s decision to the school board
If someone or their child is facing a school tribunal hearing, it is important to contact a Fulton County student defense lawyer right away.Alcohol-Related Offenses
Some of the most common student offenses are alcohol-related, particularly among college-level students. Often, students charged with alcohol-related offenses may face specific criminal charges if they are under 21 years old.
One example of how charges may differ if the defendant is under 21 is a driving under the influence charge. In Fulton County, driving under the influence (DUI) legally means operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or more. However, if the motorist is under the age of 21, the legally permitted BAC level drops to just 0.02%. This means that any driver under 21 could face a DUI with a BAC level much lower than the standard 0.08%.
Penalties for an underage DUI depend on whether the defendant has any prior convictions. For a first-time underage DUI, penalties upon conviction include:
- A fine up to $1,000
- Required attendance in a DUI and alcohol awareness program
- 40 hours of community service
- Between 10 days and 1 year in jail
- 1-year probation period
Drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of a DUI also face mandatory 6-month license suspension according to Georgia Department of Driver Services rules.Protecting Records
A student’s academic record greatly affects their current and future educational opportunities, and generally includes any disciplinary actions. Most, if not all, colleges and universities require a prospective high school or transfer student to report any disciplinary actions at previous institutions.
Similarly, most schools require prospective students to report any past criminal convictions. Schools consider this information when considering whether to admit a student. Students convicted of a crime, or those found guilty by a school disciplinary board, could lose out on educational or even employment opportunities in the future.Contacting a Student Defense Attorney
Your best chance at avoiding conviction altogether is by contacting a Fulton County student defense attorney right away. Skilled student defense lawyers can work hard to help you avoid conviction and keep your record clean when possible.