Big Valley Law Is Here For You

Criminal Charges Can Put A Promising College Career In Jeopardy

With one mistake at college, you can find yourself facing serious criminal charges.

Perhaps you just found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time — the drugs that police found in your car belonged to your friend, but he got out and ran. Maybe you made an honest mistake, gave in to peer pressure and had a few drinks at a party; when the police busted the party, they charged you with underage drinking.

Mistakes Happen And We Can Help

Mistakes are part of growing up. Does that mean your life has to be defined by something you did at age 19? At the same time, police make mistakes. Should your college career be put in jeopardy because of a misunderstanding?

At Big Valley Law, we have decades of experience helping college students in Harrisonburg. Whether you go to Eastern Mennonite University or James Madison University, we can help.

Our attorneys will explain all your legal options and work closely with you to determine the best course of action.

College Student Crimes

Criminal charges we see most often for college students include:

  • Underage drinking
  • Drunk driving
  • Public drunkenness
  • Drug possession
  • Drug sales and trafficking
  • Reckless driving
  • Sex crimes
  • Internet crimes

Our attorneys will walk you through all the possibilities. We know that every case is unique, and our extensive knowledge of the legal process will help us guide you every step of the way.

The Ramifications Of A Conviction

Remember, a conviction is more than just fines or time behind bars. You could get kicked out of school. It may be impossible to get an internship or a job. You could lose the ability to get professional licenses needed in your chosen field. You may not be able to rent an apartment or take out a mortgage loan.

If you have already been convicted, we still might be able to help. For instance, an expungement may be used to clear your record and help get your plans for the future back on track.

Frequently Asked Questions About College Student Defense

Losing the opportunity to fulfill your college degree because of a criminal conviction can have great consequences on your future. Protecting your legal rights requires a great deal of knowledge in criminal law. Our goal at Big Valley Law is to help answer all of your questions. Here are some questions we hear frequently from clients:

Do students have the right to an attorney during campus disciplinary proceedings?

A college student who is accused of criminal offenses, such as DUI, illegal substance possession, violence or theft is entitled to the help of a college defense attorney during a campus disciplinary proceeding.

Legal representation can help assist students who are accused of violating conduct codes from collateral consequences of a criminal accusation and prosecution. Our college student defense lawyers can help minimize punishments, such as probation, suspension, expulsion or loss of academic credits. Our goal is to protect students from marks on their academic records that could prevent them from getting loans, grants, scholarships and internships.

Can information from a university disciplinary hearing be used in a criminal court?

Student records are protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This grants privacy to students who have had disciplinary proceedings. In some cases, however, a student’s record could be released to authorities or subpoenaed for a criminal investigation.

What are student’s rights during a Title IX proceeding?

A Title IX violation often means that a student is suspected or accused of sexual harassment and violence, including abuse, stalking, inappropriate touching and nonconsensual misconduct. The consequences of an accusation of a Title IX violation are severe. Students have the same rights during a Title IX investigation as they would a criminal investigation.

This means that college students have the right to be notified of allegations and any following disciplinary hearings. Students can seek legal representation during a hearing at which they can defend themselves. The entire process should be given privacy and concluded promptly. Our college student defense lawyers will help educate clients on their rights.

Taking Action

Do not take this lightly. To find out how the lawyers at Big Valley Law can help, call our office in Harrisonburg, Virginia, at 540-904-0243 or contact us online.