What to Know About Criminal Charges Against Students

Just like anyone else in Upstate New York, students in high school and college can face criminal charges for a range of offenses. Students can face serious consequences in the event of a conviction, and you should never assume that the court will go lightly on a student because it is a first offense or because of the student’s educational background. Accordingly, if your teenager or university student has been arrested for a criminal offense or has been charged, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced Rochester student crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. In the meantime, the following are some important things to know about criminal charges against students.

Students Can Face a Wide Range of Criminal Charges

Students can face charges for many different types of criminal offenses, but some types of charges are more common than others. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, sex crimes offenses and assaults are particularly common charges on college campuses. In addition to charges for rape or sexual assault, students often face charges for alcohol-related offenses like DUIs or open-container violations, hazing violations, and drug possession. When criminal charges involve hazing, the student may also face additional criminal charges if another person was seriously injured or killed.

Students Can Face Criminal Penalties and School Penalties

When a student faces criminal charges in Rochester or elsewhere in Upstate New York, it is important to understand that the consequences can involve both criminal penalties and school penalties. While you may be focused on the criminal penalties and helping to ensure that your child avoids having a criminal record, serving jail time, or being required to register on the sex offender registry, it is also critical to keep in mind that many criminal offenses also violate student codes of conduct. As such, even if your child ends up facing only minor criminal penalties for a misdemeanor, the student may still face serious school-related consequences such as suspension or expulsion.

Student Charges Can Be Misdemeanor or Felony Offenses

Like any other person charged with an offense, most of the kinds of offenses for which students face criminal charges can be brought as misdemeanors or felonies depending upon the circumstances. Felonies carry much steeper penalties upon conviction and can prevent a student from receiving any additional federal student loans in the future.

Students May Be Tried in a Juvenile or Adult Court

Depending upon the particular facts of the case, a student who is accused of a criminal offense may face trial in a juvenile court or in an adult court. If the student is tried in a juvenile court, the student may be eligible for certain types of deferred prosecution or diversion programs so that the student can avoid having a criminal conviction. Most high school students who face charges, especially for misdemeanor offenses, are under the age of 18 and may be eligible for diversion programs designed specifically for 16-year-old and 17-year old defendants. Although most college students are adults, juvenile court may be an option in some types of cases for college students under the age of 21.

Students Have the Same Rights As Other Types of Defendants in Criminal Cases

Although it can be easy to think of students as occupying a different category of offender, it is important to know that college students have the same rights as every other defendant in a criminal case in New York, including Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches, Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, and Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial.

Seek Advice from a Rochester Student Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are a college or university student who is facing criminal charges, or if your child has been charged with a criminal offense, it is important to seek advice from a Rochester criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling student criminal defenses. Our firm has years of experience defending high school and college students in a variety of criminal cases, and we can speak with you today about options for developing a strong defense strategy. Contact King Law for more information.


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