There are several prestigious and renowned colleges and universities in the greater Philadelphia area. Students at these schools can occasionally find themselves accused of committing acts that break the law, violate the student code of conduct, or possibly even both.
If a student is facing criminal charges, he or she could also be subject to disciplinary proceedings by his or her university or college. However, it is important to understand that the lack of criminal charges does not necessarily mean that a school will not take disciplinary actions against the student.
Philadelphia Student Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer
If you are a student who is facing disciplinary proceedings at your college or university, you should get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Joseph Lento assists students at schools throughout greater Philadelphia County, including the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), Drexel University, Saint Joseph's University (St. Joe's or SJU), University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and Temple University as well as many others.
Visit our companion site - StudentDisciplineDefense.com - for more information about attorney Joseph D. Lento's experience in representing college and university students nationwide for Title IX sexual misconduct charges, Code of Conduct disciplinary charges, and academic misconduct charges.
In addition to helping students with disciplinary proceedings, Lento Law Firm also defends students against criminal charges. Let our firm review your case by calling (215) 535-5353 to set up a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Student Disciplinary Hearings in Pennsylvania
- Which kinds of alleged misconduct typically result in these hearings?
- How would an attorney help a student in these kinds of cases?
- What are the possible consequences that a student faces?
- Where can I learn more about the expectations of students for colleges and universities in the area?
Types of Pennsylvania Offenses in Student Disciplinary Hearings
There are several different alleged acts that may result in a university or college wanting to take disciplinary measures against a student. Some of the offenses may include, but are not limited to:
- Drunk Driving or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Drugs
- Underage Possession of Alcohol
- Possession of Fake ID
- Traffic Offenses
- Drug Charges
- Marijuana Charges
- Firearm / Weapon Charges
- Violent Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Sex Crimes
- Property and Theft Offenses
- Internet / Cyber Crimes
- White Collar Crime
- Any Other Violations of Student Code of Conduct
Role of Attorney at Student Disciplinary Hearings in Philadelphia
Most schools in Pennsylvania attempt to limit the roles that lawyers play in disciplinary hearings for students. In many cases, there will be an informal hearing or conference at which the student can accept or deny the charges against him or her and possibly request a formal hearing to fight the allegations.
Students have several rights during this process, including the rights to review any documents or evidence, challenge any evidence or testimony presented at a formal hearing, question witnesses who testify against the student, and call witnesses to testify on the student's behalf. Additionally, the student can also testify on his or her own behalf.
However, the student retains the right to not testify, as guaranteed by the self-incrimination protections of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A skilled attorney can evaluate whether it is truly in a student's best interest to testify during a formal hearing, but can also provide such assistance as:
- Reviewing documents, evidence, and student's records
- Accompanying the student to any hearing
- Preparing witnesses and exhibits
- Providing cross-examination questions to be asked of witnesses testifying against student
- Making sure hearing officers or school officials obey all requirements of due process
- Filing any appeals
Possible Punishments Resulting from Pennsylvania Student Disciplinary Hearings
A student could face any one of a number of sanctions if he or she is found to be responsible for an alleged violation. Some of the possible punishments can include:
- Warning — The college or university may issue a warning that is kept in the student's file but is not formally reflected in his or her transcript. While a warning may not be reported to any outside agencies, the school may consider it if the student has any future disciplinary proceedings.
- Reprimand — Similar to a warning, a reprimand may not be reflected in a student's permanent record. However, as part of this action, the university or college might refer the student to complete a certain counseling or educational program. Failure to complete the program may lead to additional penalties, including the misconduct being added to the student's record.
- Probation — A student who receives probation will generally not have the alleged misconduct added to his or her permanent record, but he or she will be ordered to be satisfy certain orders or obey certain restrictions. These may include making restitution for money damages, being prohibited from driving on campus, or inability to participate in certain athletic programs, school functions, or campus activities.
- Suspension — Misconduct that is deemed serious enough to merit a suspension means that the student will be removed from the college or university for a set period of time. The suspension will be reflected on the student's transcripts, and he or she will have to obtain permission from the Dean's Office to re-enroll in classes. During the suspension, the student will usually not be able to take any classes at another school that can be transferred to the university or college, and he or she will need to disclose the suspension if the student applies to any other schools.
- Expulsion — If the college or university expels a student for the alleged misconduct, then he or she will often be permanently removed from the school. An expulsion becomes part of the student's permanent record and will be reported to all outside agencies and any other universities or colleges the student might apply to.
Resources for Student Disciplinary Hearings in Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia — This College Policies and Procedures page for the website of the city's public, open-admission institution contains information about student responsibility. You can find a link to the student handbook as well as student appeals procedures and the student code of conduct.
1700 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Drexel University — The website for this private research university has resources for new students, veteran students, and parents and families. There are also links to the university's student handbook, academic policies, and the code of conduct.
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Saint Joseph's University — The seventh-oldest Jesuit university in the United States, the Office of Community Standards section of this website contains links to the university's student handbook, standards and expectations, and interim sexual misconduct policy. There is also information about administrative hearings, alternative resolutions, and sanction compliance.
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
University of Pennsylvania — The only Ivy League school in Pennsylvania, the Office of Student Conduct section of this website has information about the university's student codes, disciplinary process, and mediation. In addition to UPenn's code of student conduct and code of academic integrity, there are also sexual violence, sexual harassment, anti-hazing, and alcohol and drug policies.
Office of Student Conduct
236 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6303
Temple University— The website for this public research university contains an online policies and procedures manual. Here you can find student information regarding academic rights and responsibilities, drug and alcohol policy, confidentiality of records, and the school's student conduct code.1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Find the Best Student Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer in Philadelphia
Are you a student at a Pennsylvania college or university who is facing disciplinary action by your school? You will want to immediately seek the advice of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm helps students throughout Philadelphia County at such colleges and universities as CCP, Drexel, St. Joe's, UPenn, and Temple. Call (215) 535-5353 right now to take advantage of a free consultation that will let our firm review your case and discuss your legal options.