Steps To Take After Receiving Disciplinary Charges in DC

Due to the potential impact of disciplinary charges on your education, it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to keep your situation from getting any worse, and then consult with an experienced DC student defense lawyer to discuss your case. Call today to learn more.

Step 1: Contact An Attorney

The first thing a student should do when they receive a notice of a pending allegation they violated the student code of conduct is to call a lawyer experienced in dealing with university proceedings, specifically university judicial proceedings. While it’s often difficult for a student to talk to parents about these situations, if a student receives such a notice, talking to parents about the situation can make finding a lawyer much easier.

Parents can help judge whether a certain lawyer is experienced enough or knowledgeable enough to assist the student. They can also help a student decide how to research a lawyer who can advise and provide representation in the event that there is a pending criminal charge and a pending student judicial allegation arising from the same course of events.

Students should understand that a lawyer defending a student in a university hearing is very different from representing a defendant in a criminal case. The role of the attorney is much more limited in university hearings. It is important to have a lawyer who understands the different roles that a criminal defense lawyer serves compared to those of a student defense lawyer.

Step 2: Follow University Conditions

The student must follow any conditions imposed by the university while their hearing is pending. That means no contact and no communication at all with an accuser including through Facebook, text messages, or any direct face-to-face contact. Those conditions can also include staying away from certain areas and not having contact with possible witnesses.

Step 3: Do Not Discuss Your Case

If a student hasn’t yet received a disciplinary notice but believes they might in the near future, it’s very important to not attempt to discuss the situation with a possible accuser or possible witnesses until they first talk to a lawyer. Any attempts to communicate with witnesses or communicate with an accuser can place a student at a disadvantage. It could give the impression that a student was attempting to manipulate the process or that the student was trying to sway possible witnesses one way or the other before the case got to an actual hearing.

How A Student Defense Attorney Can Help

The defense attorney’s role is more limited in a college or university disciplinary hearing. The attorney cannot speak on behalf of the student and, depending on the school, sometimes the attorney can’t even be in the same room as the student during the hearing.

The attorney, in most situations, does not have the ability to serve as an advocate on behalf of the student during the hearings. An attorney can serve as an advisor. That means that the attorney can assist in investigating possible witnesses, they can help a student prepare possible testimony, and serve as an advisor during hearings. The attorney ensures that the university is following proper procedures and is conducting the hearing in a fair and impartial manner.