There are a number of colleges and universities within the bounds of Bucks County. Students who go off to college are experiencing their first time away from home, and away from the guidance of their parents. While this experience is a crucial part of their growth into adulthood, this experience often opens the doors to trouble. Many times, students who engage in activity that, though to them seems like harmless mischief, may have run-ins with the law.
Student Defense in Bucks County
When students are involved in criminal incidents, they will be confronted on two separate fronts. Students are likely to face criminal charges, on top of disciplinary actions from their college or university. Much of the time both the college and the local law enforcement in the community will work together in their investigations against the student. Evidence obtained during the investigations from either side is likely to be shared with the other one. In addition to this, even if a student is able to have their criminal charges dismissed, the university or college may wish to continue their own disciplinary actions against the student. An attorney can help a student in these situations. An attorney will be able to negotiate a student's criminal charges, and may also be able to help a student through any disciplinary actions against them from their college.
Common Criminal Charges Faced by Students in Bucks County
There are many circumstances that can lead a student to a potential situation where they are facing criminal charges. Some common criminal charges a student may face can include:
- Hazing: Many times, fraternity and sorority organizations will task students who wish to enter their organizations with difficult entry requirements. Sometimes, these requirements can potentially be considered hazing. Hazing rarely results in criminal charges, except in the most serious situations, however, the college may choose to begin proceedings to disband the organization.
- Sex Crimes: Crimes such as rape or sexual assault are taken very seriously by both Pennsylvania state law, as well as colleges and universities. The law can impose serious consequences to a student, while the college may attempt to expel a student. Most universities and colleges nationwide implement strict Title IX policies that outline the steps to be taken when a student has been accused of sexual assault. Title IX violations almost always result in a punishment of expulsion or suspension of the student.
- Harassment: Harassment can come in several forms, such as online harassment, sexual harassment, and stalking. On a college campus, some of these instances can result in Title IX charges, in addition to any associated criminal charges.
- Underage Drinking: College is an environment that exposes a student to a variety of circumstances where underage individuals may be consuming alcohol. Although an individual rarely incurs criminal charges for this, a college authority may take action against the student. In addition to this, impairment from alcohol can hinder a student's judgement, which may lead to criminal activity.
- Fake I.D. Possession: Many students on college campuses may possess fake I.D.'s to purchase alcohol or sneak into bars. Although the individual who possesses a fake I.D. will rarely suffer criminal consequences, liquor stores or bars will usually confiscate and destroy these documents. A student can encounter criminal charges if the document is discovered.
- Violent Crime: Actions such as assault, domestic violence acts, or fighting on campus can result in both criminal charges and disciplinary actions from the student's university. Academic institutions will likely attempt to expel students when they fight others or commit violent acts.
- Property Crimes: Property crimes typically encompass actions that deliberate vandalize or destroy school property and buildings. Students will often face both legal consequences as well as administrative action from their college or university if they face accusations of this nature.
- Theft: College students typically carry an array of expensive electronic devices with them. Items such as televisions, phones, laptops, video games, and the like are highly likely to catch the eye of a thief. Crimes of theft are often treated with both authorities, the state, and the college, investigating the matter when a student is accused of theft. A student is likely to face charges from both authorities as well.
- Possession of Weapons: Most colleges forbid students to own any weaponry on campus, including firearms and knives of any sort. These rules are sometimes reinforced by the rules of the jurisdiction the college is located in, as bringing a firearm on campus is sometimes a crime. Students may face criminal charges in addition to their college actively pursuing disciplinary actions against them.
Bucks County Criminal Charges and How Your College or University Will Respond
Criminal charges against Bucks County college students will often result in disciplinary proceedings at the school level. The following links provide specific information as to the respective Bucks County schools' Code of Conduct disciplinary procedures when students are accused of conduct that may result in criminal charges, or did in fact result in criminal charges:
- Cairn University Disciplinary Charge
- Delaware Valley University Disciplinary Charge
- Holy Family University Disciplinary Charge
The following links provides information regarding how individual Bucks County colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and Title IX sexual misconduct against students:
- Cairn University Sexual Assault Charge
- Delaware Valley University Sexual Assault Charge
- Holy Family University Sexual Assault Charge
Criminal charges may be filed before a student's college or university initiates disciplinary proceedings against the student, or they may be filed after such proceedings have started or even concluded. Because the risk of criminal exposure as well as potential civil liability can be so great, a Bucks County student and his or her family, regardless of whether the student is facing criminal charges that have already been filed or the prospect of criminal charges, must make sure the student's interests are protected both in the criminal forum and at the school level.
Bucks County Student Defense Attorney
An attorney is a necessary advocate in the courtroom, but an attorney acting as a student's advisor in disciplinary actions can also influence the outcome. If you or your student has been charged with a crime or has faced disciplinary actions from their college in Bucks County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.