College students who are arrested face unique consequences. An arrest can mean the loss of a scholarship, loss of financial aid eligibility, or getting kicked out of school. Many university students are arrested for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. With so much at stake, it is important for students to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on their side to fight the charges against them.
Unique Challenges of UVA Students Facing Criminal Charges
College students often face challenging circumstances when charged with a crime. An arrest for a college student may be their first run-in with police and the criminal court system. It can be intimidating to be faced with police officers putting you in handcuffs, having your mug shot taken, being put in jail, and having to figure out how to post bail.
Many students are also away from home and the support network of family and friends. There may not be anyone to call in the middle of the night to get them out of jail. At a minimum, this distance creates extra stress and when under stress people are more likely to make mistakes in judgment.
In many cases, a student will take a plea deal that carries no jail time, only to later find out that it negatively impacts continuing enrollment in school.
College students face the potential threat of being suspended or kicked out of school. Even if the charges are dropped against the student, a university disciplinary board can still decide to suspend or expel a student for violating the Standards of Conduct.
It is important to talk to an experienced Charlottesville lawyer who understands the criminal court as well as the discipline system of the University of Virginia. This may require fighting for your rights in criminal court and also representing the student before any disciplinary proceedings with the University of Virginia to maintaining enrollment.
Criminal charges can also have potential consequences to access federally backed student financial aid. Certain convictions and punishments can mean limited or no eligibility for financial aid. Other university penalties may include the loss of a scholarship.
Common Criminal Charges for Students
The most common charges that University of Virginia students face deal with drug and alcohol violations. The good news for students is that many of these charges for a first-time offense will not have a significant impact on their university enrollment.
Common non-violent criminal charges facing students include:
- Drug Possession
- Underage Drinking
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Public Intoxication
- Vandalism and Property Crimes
- Disorderly Conduct
- Obstruction of Justice
- Theft or Larceny
In some cases, these non-violent charges can be dealt with through diversion programs. This can help reduce the anxiety of the situation and allow the college student to return his or her focus on school and the future.
More Serious Criminal Charges
Sometimes, college students face charges which carry far more serious potential penalties. These are often violent offenses or sex offenses. Felony offenses are generally not eligible for diversion programs. Some of these charges even carry mandatory jail time. Even after serving time, a felon cannot own or possess a firearm. Getting a job or a place to live can also be more complicated with a criminal record.
Examples of serious felony charges include:
- Sex Offenses (including Rape and Sexual Battery)
- Grand Larceny
- Drug Distribution and Intent to Sell
- Violent Offenses (such as Homicide, Domestic Assault, or Aggravated Assault)
- Firearm Offenses
School Disciplinary Hearings
After being charged with a crime or after being accused of something on school campus a student may find they are subject to a university disciplinary hearing. A student-run University Judiciary Committee administers the Standards of Conduct for students at UVA. Students can be subject to discipline for prohibited conduct on university property, which includes:
- Physical assaults of any person;
- Reckless or intentional conduct that threatens a person's health or safety;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Property damage; or
- Any violation of federal, state, or local law if it affects the university.
The committee can also impose penalties for any violation of the standards of conduct which are motivated by age, gender identity, disability, color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Disciplinary measures can include anything from admonition, to an interim suspension, to expulsion from the university. One of the more important points to consider when facing a disciplinary hearing is that any sort of conviction you receive or plea you take in criminal court can result in suspension or dismissal by the University of Virginia. That is why it is so important to have strong counsel throughout your process and to explain your rights and options all along the way.
Title IX hearings and investigations are becoming a common feature on campuses across the nation, including the University of Virginia. The evidentiary and procedural rules in these types of cases and other university disciplinary matters can have fewer protections for defendants' rights compared to criminal courts. When a student is allowed an attorney to represent them in these proceedings, students should have a lawyer with experience and passion to defend students facing criminal or disciplinary proceedings.
Contact Charlottesville Lawyer Representing UVA Students Facing Criminal Charges
University of Virginia students facing criminal charges need to think about the criminal charges as well as university disciplinary proceedings. Bryan J. Jones understands the UVA disciplinary hearing procedures and has fought for students to keep their records clear. If you have any questions about criminal charges for a college student, contact Bryan J. Jones, LLC today.