It is busy downtown as students at the College of Charleston finishing moving in and prepare for the fall semester. With the start of college, students are excited to be in Charleston and want to enjoy it with friends, which usually involves alcohol consumption. That is why we want to remind college students to review your college’s code of conduct prior to the start of the school year. Failure to comply with the code of conduct can result in a school administrative hearing where you can be suspended, placed on probation or expelled.
We usually see an uptick in arrests and citations this time of year for noise violations, underage drinking, Fake ID, public intoxication, open container, underage possession and driving under the influence. An arrest or citation can simultaneously trigger a student code of conduct disciplinary hearing. Therefore, if you are arrested for underage drinking, you would be facing the criminal proceeding in addition to the school administrative hearing. It is important to note that, even if your criminal case is dismissed, you could still be found in violation during your school’s disciplinary hearing. That is because the standard of proof is much lower in your college administrative hearing than in the criminal case.
The collateral consequences of an arrest or citation for a college student can be severe. If convicted in the criminal proceeding, you could face prison and/or a hefty fine. Even if you are not sentenced to jail, the negative stigma of a criminal record in society is very real. It may be brought up during a future job interview or impact your ability to seek housing.
If you are found in violation during a college disciplinary hearing, you could be placed on probation, suspension or expulsion. You could also be given a reprimand that goes on your permanent school record with little to no proof that a violation has occurred. As a result, potential employers, landlords and volunteer organizations may turn down applicants with criminal records. You may also lose financial aid or scholarships and be unable to get into any graduate programs.
Attending college is such an accomplishment and often a huge financial sacrifice for families. One minor mistake should not ruin a student’s future. It is imperative to consult with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling college hearings as well. At Young & Young, we have successfully handled countless false accusations at colleges and universities. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.