Crimes committed by college students either on or off campus are subject to both criminal prosecution and disciplinary action by the school. If you are a college student charged with a crime, it is important that you seek out an experienced Tampa college crime attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. who can help you fight the charges and avoid a harsh sentence or disciplinary action. In most cases, we are able to get your case dismissed altogether.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the most common crimes committed on college campuses are burglaries and thefts. This makes up 56% of total on-campus crimes. Other crimes include forcible sex offenses, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, and robbery.
Some crimes are generally unique to college campuses. These include bullying, hazing-related crimes, and underage drinking. College administrators take these crimes very seriously and without the right Tampa college crime attorney on your side you may face harsh penalties.
Many students do not understand that campus police usually have the same amount of power as the state police do. This means that they do have the power to arrest you or obtain a search warrant to search your home or dormitory, as well as file criminal charges against you. In some cases campus police are extensions of local police forces, just assigned to a specific area.
In the code of conduct of most colleges there is a statement directly applicable to student crimes. Usually, this states that any kind of student misconduct is subject to disciplinary action by the school, even if the crime was committed off campus or in another state. So if you are charged with a crime, you may be punished for both the criminal offenses and your student misconduct. Any criminal proceedings are separate from that of the college, and even if you do not end up being convicted of the crime, the college may find you guilty and can discipline you anyway. Since no two cases are the same, it is important to find a knowledgeable Tampa college crime attorney who can explore your options and seek the best possible outcome in your particular case.
This kind of practice seeks to ensure the accountability of the student—you remain a student of the college no matter where you go or what you do. Disciplinary action usually extends to crimes committed on college property, at school-sponsored events like sports games, or any crime that affects the college or surrounding community. Depending on the nature of the crime, the college can decide the kind of disciplinary action that is appropriate.
The typical procedure for dealing with college crimes is as follows. First, you must request a formal hearing with the school. If you do not request one, you may be waiving your right to contest the disciplinary action. This may include suspension, cancellation of on-campus housing, required counseling, or a ban from certain college facilities. At this hearing, you have the right to a lawyer and your right to remain silent. Our advice is to not make any statements or sign anything before consulting with a qualified Tampa college crime attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A.
At many public institutions like USF, you have the right to have a criminal defense lawyer at the disciplinary hearing. They can assist in helping you prepare your case, call witnesses and introduce evidence favorable to your case, and advise you on how to answer questions you may be asked. Contact Pallegar Law, P.A. if you or someone you know is a college student charged with a crime, at 813-444-3912 (Tampa) or 941-893-5816 (Sarasota) for a free consultation.