Northampton County has 3 four year college level academic institutions, along with a community college, and several other trade and specialized education schools. College is meant to be a learning period for students, and being away from home is a valuable experience for students beginning their adult lives. Although college is often a time of growth, a lack of parental guidance or supervision can sometimes mean that students who are off to college for the first time may experience situations that place them in danger of suffering criminal charges.
Student Defense in Northampton County
Students that are involved in criminal incidents are in a difficult situation. They often face action on two fronts, administrative action from the school, and criminal charges from the state. Most of the time, both the college and the local police will work together, sharing evidence and information against the student. Even if a student is able to have their criminal charges withdrawn or dismissed, they will still face disciplinary actions from the college. Colleges have policies in place that are not bound by the same "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard as the law. In these situations, it may be in a student's best interest to consult with an attorney. An attorney can help both in and outside of the courtroom and will improve a student's chances at a favorable outcome, from both fronts.
Common Criminal Charges for Students in Northampton County
Some of the most common scenarios where a student may face criminal charges on a college campus can include the following:
- Underage Drinking: On a college campus, it is very common for a student to come across situations where people are drinking underage. Students will seldom face criminal charges for simply drinking under the age of 21, however, the influence of alcohol may prompt students into more pervasive behaviors. In addition, a student may face consequences from their college, such as loss of housing privileges.
- Fake I.D. Possession: Students on college campuses often possess fake I.D.'s in order to purchase alcohol or sneak into bars. Much of the time, students who are caught with a fake I.D. rarely suffer consequences beyond a liquor store owner or bar bouncer confiscating the document. If a student presents the document to an officer, however, criminal consequences may follow. Similarly, if it is found by campus authority, the student may suffer consequences from the school.
- Drug Crimes: On college campuses, a student can face serious consequences for possession, sale, and use of drugs. Most drug crimes can land a student with criminal charges and may result in action from their college that can result in a loss of housing.
- Violent Crimes: Crimes involving assault, fighting, or other acts of violence often mean that a student will face both criminal charges, as well as actions from their college. Colleges may revoke a student's housing privileges or may begin moving towards expulsion.
- Theft: College campuses are often times the sites of several crimes of theft, due to the presence of laptops, tablets, televisions, and other items a person may keep in their dorms.
- Property Crimes: Vandalism and damage to property are considered property crimes. These instances are often spurred on by alcohol induced bravado. Significant damage or violations can result in both criminal charges and consequences from the college.
- Sex Crimes: Sex crimes can include acts of rape or sexual assault. These actions are treated very seriously by both the university and the state. Many schools uphold Title IX policies, which set forth specific guidelines for disciplining students who are accused of sexual misconduct. This will be in conjunction with any criminal charges a person faces.
- Harassment: Harassment can include several different forms, such as online harassment, sexual harassment, or stalking. These acts can sometimes even constitute Title IX violations as well. In addition to this, criminal charges may follow.
- Weapons: Many times, bringing weapons onto a college campus is forbidden by both the college as well as the jurisdiction of the state. A student found with weapons on campus may lose housing privileges, and may sometimes even face criminal charges and additional consequences.
- Hazing: Fraternity and sorority organizations are notorious for having difficult entry requirements. Some of these requirements may involve risky or dangerous behavior. Hazing is rarely charged criminally, however, many schools may seek to disband the organization after they have been accused of hazing.
Northampton 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 Northampton 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:
The following links provide information regarding how individual Northampton County colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and Title IX sexual misconduct against students:
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 Northampton 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.
Northampton County Student Defense Attorney
While an attorney's expertise is often thought of as a courtroom advocate, an attorney can also lend a hand to a student facing disciplinary actions from their college or university. If you or your student is involved in disciplinary action or a criminal case, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.