In our experience, parents tend to react, quite understandably, in a handful of ways upon hearing the news of their son or daughter’s trouble. Here are the most common scenarios we see, all of which, fortunately, are avoidable.
Too often we hear things like:
My son or daughter already spoke with the university and told them....
My daughter or son already had disciplinary conference and the recommendation is suspension/expulsion - what can we do?
We want to appeal the results of the hearing.
While we can help on an appeal (and even in post-appeal situations), the later in the timeline we get involved the more momentum builds against the student and the narrower the options for getting the most favorable outcomes.
Misunderstanding the system
College and university discipline processes are not court systems. There are no impartial judges to keep things fair.
Often, lawyers are not allowed to participate in the actual proceedings. Yes, this means that students and administrators act as judge and jury while having no judicial or investigative training.
Parents and other advocates on behalf of the student either too passive or too adversarial
Too Passive: I am paying this college/university tens of thousands of dollars they are not going to harm my student. A disciplinary charge will harm your student. They may lose campus housing. They may lose their education at the college/university they worked so hard to be admitted into. They will lose irreplaceable time and focus to dealing with the student disciplinary charge and punishment.
Too Passive: The school/university knows kids do stuff like this - I did stuff worse than this in college and I turned out okay. The atmosphere today is far more draconian. Zero tolerance policies abound. If your child is facing a college/university disciplinary charge then you must assume the worst possible punishment is a potential reality.
Too Passive: Let the school/university discipline my son/daughter; it will be a good lesson and a wakeup call. This is a wakeup call from which your student may not recover - the consequences are too grave to leave the disciplinary decision in the hands of the college/university. Even a slap on the wrist carries future repercussions in the event of a repeat offense. Often parents do not even know if there have been earlier offenses.
Too Adversarial: They can't do this! Yes they can. The college/university discipline and academic honor systems are worlds unto themselves.
Too Adversarial: I’ll hire a lawyer and sue them. I’ll have my lawyer take them on! Lawsuits based on student disciplinary and academic honor code violations have little chance of success. Blustery lawyers are for TV, not a college/university discipline system which is run by academics. A skilled student defense lawyer is half-lawyer and half-diplomat.
Misunderstanding the Consequences
The consequences of a mishandled discipline action can be far-reaching:
- Hurts graduate school chances
- Hurts career prospects
- Loss of financial aid
- Loss of athletic and/or academic scholarships
So What Should You Do First?
- Shut down communication by the student with potential witnesses about the issue. This includes friends, teachers, advisors, boyfriends, girlfriends - none of those conversations are privileged. No texting about it. No Facebook. Nothing.
- Learn what happened in an organized fashion. We are former prosecutors who understand how to investigate and we use professional investigators.
- Be prepared with a strategy and defense for all future interactions with the college/university and/or police.
- Contact us at the earliest opportunity.
What Will This Cost?
If you are looking at this website you already appreciate the seriousness of the situation and are probably weighing the potential cost of hiring us compared to the value of your son or daughter's education and his or her future earnings and reputation potentially jeopardized by the pending disciplinary charge.
There is no charge for the initial phone call to discuss your situation.
Fees depend entirely on the facts of the case and what is needed. We discount our normal criminal defense rates for students and their families. And we explain ahead of time what the anticipated fees and expenses will be given your son or daughter’s circumstances so that you can plan, and, in some instances, choose among tactics based on those fees.
We understand that college tuition, books and living expenses are expensive and we work with you to keep your student's legal defense costs as low as possible.
Call (202) 204-3053 Now.