Rockland County Student Defense Lawyer
Everyday life can be challenging for students. Most have to balance coursework with social obligations and other activities. Being accused of a crime can add another level of unwelcome stress.
If you are a student facing criminal charges or think you might be charged with a crime, call a Rockland County student defense lawyer. A skilled defense attorney could sit down with you and review your situation to make sure they offer you the best advice possible for your unique situation.
Drug-Related Charges for Rockland County Students
Students at the many schools in Rockland County including Nyack College, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and Long Island University may face charges for many different kinds of alleged crimes. Many involve driving under the influence (DUI), marijuana possession, or other drug-related crimes. Additionally, students may be accused of assault, disturbing the peace, or other similar crimes. Regardless of the specific charge, any student with a legal issue should contact a Rockland County student defense lawyer for a full review of their case.
Some of the most common charges students face are related to drugs, especially marijuana. Although some states have begun legalizing recreational marijuana, New York has not done so. New York Penal Law §220.00 classifies marijuana as a controlled substance, which means that the state has the power to punish those possessing marijuana.
Basic possession of marijuana results in a fine of $100 or less for a first offense, according to New York Penal Law §221.05. However, subsequent possession convictions result in harsher punishments. Possession of larger amounts of marijuana is also a more serious offense.
Additionally, New York punishes the possession of other illegal drugs more strictly than marijuana. Under New York Penal Law §220.03, such possession is, at minimum, a misdemeanor.
However, students could face felony charges depending on the type or amount of the illegal drug they allegedly possessed. A Rockland County student defense lawyer could provide an overview of applicable drug laws and help students understand and defend their rights.
Actions Universities Can Take
Students may also face potential civil or administrative penalties as the result of a criminal case. Universities have the power to conduct their own investigations and carry out their own punishments. Schools are also not bound by the law, meaning they can punish students without the evidence required in a court of law. Disciplinary actions such as suspension or expulsion have the potential to harm a student’s reputation and career even if they are innocent.
Whenever students are facing disciplinary action or even an investigation at their college or university, they have a right to representation. A Rockland County student defense lawyer can help guide students throughout the process to help them protect their rights and their futures.
What Rights Do Students Have During Disciplinary Proceedings?
The right to an attorney is not the only right available to students facing disciplinary proceedings. These rights largely depend on the rules developed by the school in question. Despite this leeway, these schools must give an accused student the right to provide evidence and make their case prior to rendering their decision. Likewise, the school cannot force a student to testify. This is important, as anything said during an administrative hearing could be used in a subsequent criminal case. Other rights, like the power to cross-examine witnesses, depend on the rules set out by the school.
What is the Student Disciplinary Process?
While no two universities rely on the exact same process for student discipline, these processes are often similar. Typically, once the school receives allegations of wrongdoing they investigate. During this investigation, the school determines whether the allegations are unsubstantiated or if they necessitate a formal hearing. Some schools inform the accused student of these investigations early on in the process, while others only do so upon the referral of the case to a disciplinary hearing.
If the student does not admit to the conduct, they will be given an opportunity to have a hearing. At this hearing, both the school and the student may present witnesses related to the incident in question. The accused may also call witnesses to testify about their character. Most disciplinary bodies have an array of options at the close of a case from refusing to discipline the student at all to expelling them from school. A lawyer in Rockland County who has experience with student defense could help someone prepare for the disciplinary process.
Can Universities Use Criminal Convictions as Evidence in Disciplinary Hearings?
Universities have wide latitude when considering evidence during a disciplinary hearing. Because a criminal conviction is a public record, there is nothing that prevents them from using this evidence during a disciplinary hearing.
That does not mean the school has unfettered authority when overseeing these cases. The school must have form written guidelines regarding their process, and they must follow these guidelines as written.
Reach Out to a Rockland County Student Defense Attorney
Students accused of a crime understandably may not know how to respond. Many likely have had no previous experience with the legal system. However, in order to best protect their rights, any student charged with a crime should respond quickly and be sure that they have a qualified attorney.
In New York, a Rockland County student defense lawyer is available to help students with all aspects of their case. An attorney could meet with you and review your case to see how they could help. A Rockland County student defense attorney is committed to defending your rights and making sure you receive the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Call today.