Lehigh County is a populous county located in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania. The region has 4 four year college level academic institutions, as well as several other technical institutes, and community institutions. College is meant to be a learning experience for students, however, some lessons are learned from a student's first time away from home. Without parental guidance in their lives 24/7 students undergo the valuable experience of learning how to live on their own, unfortunately, this exposes them to the potential to end up in some troublesome experiences, which can, in turn, lead to trouble with the law.
Lehigh County Student Defense
When a student finds themselves in a troublesome situation, they are likely to face accusations from two different places: the state of Pennsylvania, and their own college. Colleges have their own policies that students must adhere to, lest they suffer consequences that may jeopardize their standing with the institution. Many times both the college and the local law enforcement office will work together to bring punishment down upon students. In these situations, it may be in a student's best interest to retain an attorney for both their criminal charges and the actions their college is taking against them
Criminal Charges That Students Face in Lehigh County
- Violent Crimes: When a student engages in activity such as fighting, assault or domestic violence, they will likely be charged with a crime as well as facing adverse consequences from their college. Violence can be grounds for a person to be expelled from their college.
- Possessing Weapons: Many times, bringing weapons onto a college campus can be a crime. This can include firearms and other deadly weapons like knives. In addition, these charges will be likely to be acted upon by a student's college authority as well, and may even result in an expulsion as punishment.
- Property Crime: The "party" environment of many college campuses can contribute to a student's involvement in acts of vandalism or destruction of college property. These acts can sometimes constitute criminal charges in addition to any actions that the university may take against a student.
- Theft: College students have a variety of expensive items with them when they move onto campus, making them easy prey for theft. If a student faces an accusation of theft, they will be facing accusations from both the state and the college. This can mean criminal consequences as well as administrative consequences, such as being removed from housing.
- Hazing: Hazing accusations are most often directed at campus Greek life organizations, such as sororities and fraternities. These organizations often have difficult or strenuous entry requirements of their hopefuls. Sometimes these requirements may be considered hazing. Although hazing seldom results in criminal charges, it can bring consequences from the university. Colleges and universities may seek to disband Greek life organizations.
- Underage Drinking: Much of the time, when a student goes off to college, they will eventually be involved in a situation that exposes them to underage drinking. While this act is technically a crime, it is more common for a student to suffer ramifications from their college, rather than law enforcement. Underage drinking accusations can mean that a student is facing
- Drugs: Drug usage and sale are common on college campuses. This can constitute both criminal charges, as well as action from the student's college. Colleges may revoke a student's rights to living in on-campus housing if they are caught possessing or selling drugs, in addition to any criminal charges that a student is facing.
- Fake I.D.'s: One of the most common ways a student can get into trouble is through the possession of a fake I.D. to purchase alcohol or to enter bars. Most often, a student will simply have their fake I.D. disposed of by a bar's bouncer or liquor store's cashier, however, if they are caught with it by an officer of the law or authority of the college, they may face consequences at the either the legal or administrative level.
- Sex Crimes: Crimes such as rape or sexual assault are treated very seriously under both Pennsylvania law and a college's own administration. Many colleges uphold a Title IX policy that outlines how these specific sexual misconduct instances must be dealt with. In these investigations, colleges will often work directly with local law enforcement to rally evidence against a student. Students face expulsion from their university as well as criminal consequences.
- Harassment: On a college campus, harassment accusations can arise from several different circumstances. Some forms of harassment can include sexual harassment, stalking, or online harassment. Some of these may even constitute Title IX charges, in addition to any criminal charges.
Lehigh County Criminal Charges and How Your College or University Will Respond
Criminal charges against Lehigh County college students will often result in disciplinary proceedings at the school level. The following links provide specific information as to the respective Lehigh 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:
- Cedar Crest College Disciplinary Charge
- DeSales University Disciplinary Charge
- Lehigh University Disciplinary Charge
- Moravian College Disciplinary Charge
- Muhlenberg College Disciplinary Charge
The following links provide information regarding how individual Lehigh County colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and Title IX sexual misconduct against students:
- Cedar Crest College Sexual Assault Charge
- DeSales University Sexual Assault Charge
- Lehigh University Sexual Assault Charge
- Moravian College Sexual Assault Charge
- Muhlenberg College 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 Lehigh 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.
Student Defense Attorney in Lehigh County
Facing criminal charges as a student can be daunting. This situation is exacerbated by responsive action from a college as well. An attorney representing a student's interest can improve the outcome of their situation. If you or your student is facing criminal charges in Lehigh County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.