Delaware County has nine colleges and universities within its borders, as well as a few other academic institutions and trade schools. Sending a student off to college provides an educational opportunity for them, however, students often learn more than just what is in their classes. While the higher educational environment fosters knowledge and learning, many students first time away from their parents and guardians also fosters an environment for partying and potentially unwise decisions.
Student Defense in Delaware County
When a student is accused of a crime, there is often pressure from two fronts. Criminal charges are pressed from the state, while an academic institution will take its own actions against a student. While criminal charges carry the consequences of a criminal record and potential jail time, action from a college or university often means suspension, expulsion, or other consequences. In either case, a student's future goals may be in danger. In these situations, guidance from an attorney can be especially helpful.
Common Charges Against Students in Delaware County
The college environment is known for education and also partying. There are a number of situations a student may be involved in that can result in criminal charges. Some common crimes a student may face can include:
- Fake I.D.'s: Many students, in an effort to contribute to partying, may attempt to purchase and use a fake I.D. While many liquor stores or bars may simply respond by destroying the document and turning a student away, the situation may be different if a police officer were to somehow get ahold of the fake I.D. Criminal charges may follow and may end up being reported to a student's academic institution.
- Underage Drinking: One of the most common sources for criminal charges or university disciplinary action is underage drinking. This is a common activity on any college campus, however, if an underage partygoer is caught, they may face criminal charges and action from their respective academic institution.
- Drug Possession and Sale: Drugs frequently make their way onto college campuses. Students are often charged with drug possession, and sometimes sale if there is enough evidence to support it. In the criminal realm, these charges may mean a criminal record. Action from the University may result in the loss of housing privileges.
- Hazing: It is no secret that the culture of Greek life on college campuses often involves initiations that encourage sorority and fraternity hopefuls into somewhat risky behavior. Sometimes, these activities can result in charges of hazing. While hazing seldom results in criminal charges, these acts often will attract the attention of the university. This can result in expulsion or suspension for the students involved and may result in the termination of the organization as a whole.
- Sex Crimes: Not only are sex crimes some of the most harshly punished crimes, they are also taken incredibly seriously by academic institutions as well. Nearly every academic institution in the United States must maintain a Title IX policy. A Title IX policy governs how the college or university will handle allegations and charges of sexual misconduct within a student body. Title IX allegations from the university can result in expulsion or suspension. Criminal charges are likely to carry the potential for jail time.
- Harassment: Harassment can come in many forms. On a college campus, harassment can come in the form of stalking, internet harassment, sexual harassment, online stalking and more. Some of these instances may constitute Title IX violations as well.
- Weapons Charges: Weapons, from firearms to a simple utility knife, are often banned from college campuses as part of the institution's policy. In some jurisdictions, this can warrant criminal charges. In most cases, the university or college will take action against the student, and the consequences may result in a loss of housing, or worse.
- Property Crimes: The "partying" mentality of many younger students can often result in acts of recklessness, which may end up causing some unintended results. Property crimes, such as vandalism or damage to school property, can result in both criminal charges as well as actions from the school.
- Theft: College students have laptops, books, phones, and other expensive devices. The mere possession of these devices puts them at risk for theft. Theft is common on college campuses, and if a student is charged, they may lose their housing privileges, and face criminal consequences as well.
Many times, campus and city police will report any criminal offenses to an academic institution. Both of these forces will work in tandem with one another in these situations. Evidence from one institution is often provided to another, both working against the student.
Delaware County Criminal Charges and How Your College or University Will Respond
Criminal charges against Delaware County college students will often result in disciplinary proceedings at the school level. The following links provide specific information as to the respective Delaware 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:
- Cabrini University Disciplinary Charge
- Cheyney University Disciplinary Charge
- Eastern University Disciplinary Charge
- Neumann University Disciplinary Charge
- Penn State - Brandywine Disciplinary Charge
- Swarthmore College Disciplinary Charge
- Villanova University Disciplinary Charge
The following links provide information regarding how individual Delaware County colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and Title IX sexual misconduct against students:
- Cabrini University Sexual Assault Charge
- Cheyney University Sexual Assault Charge
- Eastern University Sexual Assault Charge
- Neumann University Sexual Assault Charge
- Penn State - Brandywine Sexual Assault Charge
- Swarthmore College Sexual Assault Charge
- Villanova 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 Delaware 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.
Delaware County Student Defense Attorney
Whether student faces disciplinary action from their university or college, criminal charges from the state, or both, an attorney can strongly influence the outcome of any situation. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience defending both criminal charges and administrative actions from colleges and universities. If you or your student is facing either criminal charges or action from an academic institution, contact us today.