New York City Student Defense Lawyer

Whenever any person is accused of a crime, it is understandable to be confused and frightened. This situation can be even more stressful for students in colleges and universities.

On top of the daunting prospects of a trip through the criminal justice system, they may also face disciplinary action taken by their school. Regardless of whether the alleged incident took place on campus or off, the consequences can negatively affect the student’s future at the school.

A New York City student defense lawyer can work with students to not only defend them in criminal court, but also to protect their rights at school. If you or a loved one faces criminal charges, contact an attorney today.

Representation in Court

Whether the defendant has been accused of a crime by campus security or local police, the case will be heard in the nearest New York State Supreme Court. If the crime is alleged in New York City, it may be heard in New York City Criminal Court. Examples of charges commonly faced by students include:

Assault in the 3rd Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor is defined as:
  • With intent to cause physical injury to another person, they cause such injury to such person or to a third person
  • They recklessly cause physical injury to another person
  • With criminal negligence, they cause physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
Sexual Misconduct, a Class A Misdemeanor is defined as:
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent
  • Engaging in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person without such person’s consent
  • Engaging in sexual conduct with an animal or a dead human body
DWI or driving while intoxicated means:
  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol
  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle while such person has .08 of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood as shown by chemical analysis of such person’s blood, breath, urine or saliva

Penalties for this can include a fine of between $300 and $500, and/or a jail term of not more than 15 days. Penalties are much harsher for people convicted of DWI while under the age of 21.

Whichever charges a student is facing, a New York City student defense lawyer can help.

Can the Outcome of a Criminal Case Impact a School Disciplinary Hearing?

In addition to any consequences meted out by the criminal justice system, many universities and colleges have their own disciplinary boards dedicated to investigating and punishing any criminal activity undertaken by their students. This means that the outcomes of criminal cases and disciplinary hearings are entirely independent.

While university administration may provide evidence, the prosecutors must make their own arguments to prove the charges against the defendant are beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.

By contrast, school disciplinary boards are not bound by rules of evidence or such a high burden of proof. A mere arrest for criminal activity, whether on campus or not, could lead to a school investigation. Additionally, even if a jury acquits a student at trial, the school may still choose take action in the form of suspension or expulsion.

The SUNY schools have adopted student conduct regulations, allowing the schools to conduct their own investigations and give punishments like suspension and expulsion independently of the criminal charges.

Each school has its own policies concerning these matters and attorneys will work with each individual student to identify those policies and ensure that all due process for hearings is utilized to protect the student’s rights.

The Importance of Gathering Case Information

Allegations of wrongdoing at school take a far different tack than those in criminal courts. While prosecutors must rely on rules of evidence and disclose the results of their investigations to defendants, schools do not follow these limitations. Many school investigations may not be required to disclose any of their evidence or information regarding the allegations against the student. It is vital that students obtain as much information as possible.

A New York City student defense attorney could help conduct an independent investigation into school conduct hearings. They can talk to witnesses, gather documentary evidence, and discover holes in a case that can help protect the student. Armed with this information, students can present a more potent defense during disciplinary hearings.

How Can an Attorney Help Students Prepare for Conduct Hearings?

The exact processes by which a school will investigate and punish wrongdoing will vary on a school-by-school basis. However, most schools give students the opportunity to defend themselves. This can take the form of providing a formal written statement or in-person interviews.

While a school may not allow a student to appear with an attorney, a New York City defense lawyer can still help these individuals prepare for these meetings. For instance, an attorney may prepare responses to difficult questions or draft written statements that a student could read and submit to the disciplinary council.

Contact a New York City Student Defense Lawyer

When students are charged with a crime there is a lot at stake. While students are treated as adults in the criminal justice system, the unique circumstances surrounding their education cannot be ignored.

True, the accused will have to answer to the charges in criminal court just like anyone else, but they will also need to protect their right to continue pursuing their education.

A New York City student defense lawyer can work with students who have been accused of crimes to protect both their freedom and their education. Do not take any unnecessary chances with your future, contact a lawyer today.

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