Common Charges on Maryland College Campuses
In addition to sex crimes and alcohol related offenses, there are a wide variety of other charges that a college student can face. Below, a Maryland student defense attorney discusses some of these charges and how they may take place on a college or university campus. To discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
Destruction of Property
The destruction of property on campus results when an individual is alleged to have maliciously damaged, destroyed, or altered in some way, the property of either the university or another student, without their permission. This includes things such as graffiti, or damaging another individual’s property like a computer or a phone. The motive behind these things is irrelevant. The question is always, “Did the property belong to somebody else and did the individual alleged to have destroyed it have permission to do so?” If those elements are met, then it will be violation of university and criminal statutes.
Academic offenses include cheating, plagiarism, or lying to university officials or professors about assignments not being submitted in a timely fashion. The most common academic offenses on university campuses involve honesty or honor code violations.
Who Is Typically Involved in Honor Code Violations?
Usually there is an honor board to handle academic offenses. An honor board is a little bit different from the student disciplinary conduct committee in that it is usually tasked with determining if any violations occurred.
Generally, a hearing takes place with a result or resolution from the honor committee. These charges remain on campus unlike criminal charges and outside authorities are not involved. While cheating is considered a major offense on campus, it is not something that the courts are going to enforce as a criminal act that carries jail time or any kind of probation. However, with that said, it could result a suspension or expulsion from the college or university.
Noise ordinances on campuses are tricky because sometimes noise violations on campus might not be a violation of a criminal statute, but a violation of university codes. For example, universities have requirements of quiet hours after a certain time at night that might be different from the quiet hours off campus.
Additionally, usually during mid-terms or final exams, there are other restrictions that are placed on the dormitory or the college buildings. These might require that there be certain rules and regulations that are enforced when people are trying to sleep or study. They are particularly sensitive to individuals being too loud or making too much noise. Violations of these types of ordinances are treated as minor infractions by university officials.
Cybercrimes are anything that would involve a person being involved in something illegal online. Cybercrimes could be identity theft related, where an individual is using another person’s identity to benefit themselves or to conduct some act as someone other than themselves.
On college campuses, cybercrimes often involve some kind of harassment or stalking taking place on social media. Which is an activity designed to annoy or make another individual, or member of the university community, feel unsafe.
What Makes Cybercrime Cases Unique From Other Types of On-Campus Offenses?
Cybercrime cases are unique because they involve a more detailed investigation. IP addresses, official records from websites and internet service provider companies are used to support the evidence. However, it is often difficult to determine exactly who is on the other end of the computer committing the criminal act.
There are many circumstantial pieces of evidences involved in cybercrime cases that are not necessarily involved in other kinds of criminal cases.
Theft charges involve taking the property of another individual or using the property of another individual without that individual’s permission and altering its value in some way.
Trespassing on college campuses in Maryland occurs when a person enters a location that is restricted or the person has been told they needed permission to be there. Trespassing on college campuses occurs when somebody enters a building after hours or is in a building after hours without permission to be there. Generally, these kinds of things happen as college pranks.
Substance Abuse Charges
Substance related charges are among the most common charges on campus because people have the opportunity to experiment with alcohol or recreational drugs for the first time. College campuses have a lot of drug related crimes and underage alcohol related crimes that happen in any number of ways. These could include parties visited by university officials or local authorities, typically in dorm rooms. It may also happen because a person is searched because of suspicion by authorities that they may be in possession of something illegal.
Consequences of Substance Abuse Charges
Substance related charges, particularly if they are first time offenses, are not treated as seriously as rape or acts of violence. University officials recognize that people on campus are unsupervised for the first time and there are a fair number of people who are experimenting with alcohol or marijuana.
People charged or found to be in possession of more serious substances such as heroin or cocaine face different consequences than people who are simply in possession of alcohol or marijuana. It isn’t likely that someone would lose their privileges to be students on campus or lose their ability to be on campus for first offenses. However, they may be required to participate in an alcohol or drug education program. They may face a brief suspension, or be required to participate in community service hours. Those are generally the consequences for first time offenses on college campuses.