College is a time of newly-found freedom for many young adults. Unfortunately, though, some students do not make the best choices when exploring their new lives, which can land them in trouble. If you or your child faces criminal charges or student disciplinary proceedings, you could benefit from the assistance of a Tarrant County student defense lawyer.

One misstep on one occasion is all it could take to create serious difficulties for your future. A student conduct code violation or a criminal arrest could cost you valuable job and educational opportunities, so consulting a criminal defense attorney for help contesting one may be a good move.

Student Disciplinary Proceedings

All colleges and universities require their students to adhere to a code of conduct, which typically prohibits behaviors such as academic dishonesty, fraternity hazing, or campus pranks that cause vandalism. However, an arrest on a criminal charge could also trigger student disciplinary proceedings, even if the alleged crime occurred off campus and/or did not result in a conviction.

Collegiate disciplinary proceedings are far different from criminal proceedings, in large part because the standard of proof may be much lower. Rules of evidence and constitutional protections are also absent in student conduct code proceedings, which can put students in the position of having to prove themselves innocent. Representation from a student defense lawyer in Tarrant County who routinely handles college disciplinary cases could be invaluable for students involved in these proceedings.

In some cases, the outcome of student disciplinary proceedings may be even more harsh than that of similar or equivalent criminal charges, in some cases. These verdicts could lead to a ban on students participating in athletics and other school-sponsored activities, a loss of scholarships, and even suspension or expulsion from school. Avoiding this kind of outcome is likely to be a top priority for students involved in college or university disciplinary proceedings.

Criminal Charges for College Students

Students tend to face charges for certain criminal offenses more often than others. These offenses range in severity from misdemeanors that result in a fine and perhaps a community service requirement to serious felonies that could lead to jail time.

Alcohol-Related Criminal Charges

While alcohol consumption may be widespread at many universities, drinking and possessing alcohol is still illegal for those students who are under the age of 21. More specifically, under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.02, it is unlawful for individuals who are under the age of 21 to buy, or attempt to purchase, alcohol. Minors also may not consume, possess, or drive after drinking any detectable amount of alcohol.

Other Common Criminal Charges

Aside from alcohol-related offenses, college students commonly face charges for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances, resisting law enforcement, assault, and sexual assault. Criminal charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, but a conviction almost always carries the potential for jail time and fines.

Furthermore, there may be collateral consequences arising from criminal convictions for college students, such as the loss of their driving privileges, mandatory community service, and student disciplinary proceedings at their colleges or universities. A student defense attorney in Tarrant County may be able to help defend students against whatever specific charges they may be facing.

Call a Tarrant County Student Defense Attorney for Assistance

College students have a lot to lose when it comes to allegations of criminal activity or misconduct on campus. Not only do they risk ending up with a permanent criminal record, they could also face collegiate sanctions that can forever mar their academic records. Assistance from a Tarrant County student defense lawyer may be valuable if you face accusations of wrongdoing.

Although your future may seem uncertain at this point, there is hope, particularly for individuals who have no prior contacts with the criminal justice system. A robust legal advocate could guide you through criminal or student disciplinary proceedings and fight for a positive outcome. Call today to schedule a consultation.