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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
When you enrolled in college, you agreed to adhere to a specific code of conduct, which applies to your behavior both on campus and off. The code details the university’s expected standards of behavior and the procedures in place to deal with student misconduct.
The Office of Student Conduct oversees the investigation of any student suspected of violating the school’s code of conduct and punishes those judged “responsible.” Punishments range from social or academic probation to deferred suspension, changes in the student’s living situation, which includes being forced to change dorms or being kicked out of student housing altogether, all the way up to expulsion. These penalties along with the unique process of a student defense case, make it extremely important that a Lubbock student defense lawyer is contacted immediately.
Unique Aspects of a Student Offense
The university’s investigation is carried out by a student conduct officer, a university-trained staff member, and their findings are presented at an administrative hearing. The administrative hearing officer, another university staff member, is the referee who decides whether you violated the student conduct code and assigns sanctions if you are found responsible.
In serious cases, such as sexual assault or harassment, stalking, discrimination, or other sensitive issues, the student conduct officer presents the findings not to a single administrator but to a discipline committee consisting trained staff members, faculty, and students.
Process of a Student Offense
When someone registers a complaint against you for a violation of the school’s code of conduct, an email is sent to your Texas Tech address alerting you that you have been named a respondent in a Student Code of Conduct Process. (The person filing the complaint is the complainant.) Depending on the circumstances, you may have criminal charges filed against you first, before a student code of conduct notification email is issued; or the state or complainant may file criminal charges against you later on. There is no set order of events.
The reason we point this out is that should a situation arise where you could potentially be subject to both criminal and university disciplinary proceedings, you should always weigh the decisions you make with the likelihood that both of these judiciary processes may occur. Never assume that because only one process is underway, the other won’t follow, or that they’re isolated from each other. This is precisely why it is so important to seek an attorney’s advice the minute a complaint is filed against you. The best defense is always a strong offense.
Right to An Attorney
Texas Tech provides some information on its website. What the website doesn’t tell you though is that you are entitled to use an attorney to work on your case and represent you in the Student Code of Conduct process and hearing. You have the right to an attorney, one who ideally has a private investigator to help collect evidence and interview witnesses. A private investigator can often gather evidence to bolster your defense that the university doesn’t dig deeply enough to uncover.
Exercising your right to an attorney is absolutely essential to stay in the dorms, stay in school, and keep a criminal charge off your record.
If you have been accused of a DWI, Possession of Marijuana or other charge as a Texas Tech student, you will be facing both a criminal trial and a Student Code of Conduct Process. Don’t go it alone, we can thoroughly investigate your case to build the strongest defense for both a criminal trial and a Student Code of Conduct Process.