Being accused or convicted of a criminal offense can have far-reaching repercussions not only in your private life but in your education as well.
Even when you’ve not been accused or convicted of a crime, the idea of facing a disciplinary hearing can be scary. If the proceedings do not turn out in your favor, the consequences can be dire.
Not only will these consequences damage your reputation, but it can also affect your ability to complete your education and may reduce your employment chances.
The disciplinary process can also be confusing for a student. Is it a second criminal trial conducted by your school? What are your rights during disciplinary proceedings? And what are the penalties that you can face afterwards?
Our team at DC Student Defense recommends hiring an attorney as soon as possible if you’re facing these types of hearings and charges.
What Actions May Require a Disciplinary Proceeding?
Disciplinary hearings involve a student who is charged with a violation of a law that is also a violation of the school’s honor code.
Code of conduct disciplinary charges, sexual misconduct allegations, academic misconduct charges, and Title IX charges can be cause for a disciplinary proceeding. Some of the acts that may lead to a disciplinary hearing include:
- Improper use of cell phones or other electronic devices
- Use of physical force against another person
This list is inexhaustive, and will generally depend on the misconducts contained in the school’s code of conduct.
What are the possible consequences of a disciplinary proceeding?
The penalty after an unsuccessful disciplinary hearing varies depending on the severity of the alleged offense. It may be any of the following:
- Temporary suspension
- Removal from certain classes
- Compensation paid to alleged victims
The consequences can, however, be more far-reaching than the listed penalties. It can affect your chances of completing your degree, as well as reduce your employment chances. If you intend to attend a graduate school like medical school or law school, it may hinder you from getting in.
What are your rights during disciplinary proceedings?
Your rights during disciplinary proceedings vary depending on the gravity of the possible outcome.
- For example, your rights when you’re facing a short term suspension are different from the rights that you have when the possible penalty is a long term suspension or expulsion. When the suspension is for less than ten days, your rights at minimum include:
- The right to know the specific charges and the proffered punishment
- An explanation of the evidence against you
- A chance to challenge the allegations before an objective person, usually in an informal hearing or conference.
Despite these rights, the school officials have the right to immediately suspend you if they believe that you pose a danger. However, they are obligated to schedule a hearing as soon as possible afterward.
- On the other hand, when the suspension is for more than ten days, you generally have a right to a more formal disciplinary hearing. The same goes for when the possible outcome is an expulsion.
- In the disciplinary proceedings, you are allowed to present evidence and call witnesses. Before the hearing, the school is obligated to send you a list of their witnesses and the events they’ll testify about.
- Additionally, your fundamental constitutional rights still apply during disciplinary proceedings. Depending on the circumstances, any school official who intends to question you may have to first inform you on your right to remain silent.
- Also, even though the school has the right to search you without a warrant, they must have a reasonable suspicion that you have done something wrong.
- Most importantly, you have the right to hire an attorney to help you through this process.
Contact Attorney Shan Wu for Student Defense
Being involved in a disciplinary proceeding is not something that should be taken lightly. An unsuccessful hearing can jeopardize the future of your education. It can affect your ability to transfer to other schools, and your capacity to get into graduate schools. It is, therefore, essential to hire an attorney to defend your rights if you’re facing a disciplinary proceeding. Contact Shan Wu today to discuss your case.
These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.