Montgomery County Student Misconduct Offenses
Whether it takes place on campus or outside of the community, when a student commits a criminal act, it could have serious consequences. When there is a crime, the police and the court system have jurisdiction over it. Montgomery County student offenses could have additional consequences within the school community, including suspension or expulsion. An attorney who considers the criminal ramifications in the court system and the potential ramifications in the school system could work to make sure that all of the student’s interests are protected.
Understanding the Student Code of Conduct
A student code of conduct is similar to a rulebook that one must abide by to maintain their membership within the school community. The codes of conduct within a school might address rules that have nothing to do with the law. The consequences of violating these rules do not include jail time or a criminal record as they would in the criminal court system. Instead, they focus on the student’s ability to remain eligible to be a part of the school community.
For example, some dormitories on school campuses do not allow alcohol to be consumed, even by students who are over 21 years of age. Although having an alcoholic beverage might be legal outside of the dormitory, it is illegal concerning the code of conduct the student is required to comply with on the campus or within the confines of a particular school building.
Noise violations are generally minor, whether they are a school violation or off-campus. When it is a school violation, there may be consequences, such as community service.
A college campus is unique because students often live and go to school within the confines of the same community. A student may share a room with other people, the doors could be unlocked, and others may routinely have access to their property.
Schools strive to maintain a safe environment for students so they feel that their property is secure. Other members of the community who violate the expected level of trust face consequences that could be significant and may include their inability to remain a part of the school community.
Theft of university property or personal property charges are significant. Circumstances that may agitate the situation are the value of the item, the number of times theft occurred, and whether the theft was planned or someone took advantage of an opportunity to steal from the school or another individual. Those things usually influence the level of severity a situation carries.
Destruction of Property
Destruction of property has different consequences depending on the value of the property and the circumstances of the case. It is usually seen as a minor offense to the school’s code of conduct.
A student may be charged with trespassing on campus when they access a location that is closed during certain periods or is off-limits to specific students. Buildings and classrooms are locked at times, libraries have particular hours, and some dorms and campuses close at certain hours. There may be multiple floors in dorms or buildings that are separated by gender at times during the day and evening.
Rules are often put into place during midterm or final examinations to maintain a more productive environment. People who violate the rules could face disciplinary hearings for trespassing-related issues. Whether that is a residential area or another capacity, disciplinary action or sanctions may be put into place depending on the kind of conduct the individual engaged in.
Potential Consequences of Student Misconduct
Generally, the consequences of being found responsible for committing a crime on campus depends on the offense. When a person is responsible for committing a serious crime, they could face the consequences up to expulsion. A minor crime, such as a noise ordinance violation or having alcohol on campus, might have less severe consequences.
Additionally, an action like cheating on an exam is not necessarily a crime in the criminal justice system, but it may be a violation of campus policy. It is important to distinguish between a criminal offense and a school code violation to understand the potential consequences.
Internal Disciplinary Proceedings in Montgomery County
A school might keep some disciplinary proceedings internal to protect the interests of the school. By keeping certain proceedings internal, they help protect the privacy of students, as well as protect them from harm or a damaged reputation.
Every school has an Office of Student Conduct administered by faculty members with representatives from the student body. The conduct board can assist in making determinations about how matters should proceed, whether the case will be handled internally or if there should be a public hearing.
When to Obtain a Montgomery County Attorney
There are few times when a student is not entitled to seek legal representation. If a student is told they are not allowed legal representation in a campus proceeding, it is important to speak to an attorney about it. Being denied legal representation is often considered a violation of the student’s rights. One should not assume they cannot have an attorney just because the alleged behavior is not part of the criminal justice system. Speaking to an attorney about one’s rights is imperative before answering questions even if the individual believes themselves to be completely innocent of the allegations against them within their campus. If you have been accused of committing Montgomery County student misconduct offenses, call an attorney right away.