College often seems like a miniature world, complete with its own transportation systems, places to live, and even a body that functions like a government. Using this model, it is easy to see that the administration and university president have enormous power to make demands on students and harshly punish them for infractions.
As with the state or federal government, you have rights that the school administration cannot infringe upon. One of those rights is the right to have an advisor at academic hearings. If you are being accused of academic dishonesty, violating your school’s code of conduct, or other disciplinary matters, hire an attorney to represent you in your academic disciplinary hearings. You could face expulsion or other serious penalties for many academic violations. Darwin Overson of Overson and Sheen has experience handling serious criminal trials, and can put those skills to use in your academic hearings. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (801) 895-3143.
Lawyer for College or University Hearings
Most college and university codes of student conduct include multiple sections about how disciplinary matters are handled. Many college students may not read these sections – but most universities do include a section that guarantees your right to have some sort of advisor at your diciplinary hearings. They also lay out the rules regarding how much notice the school needs to give you, what types of people will be on the hearing board, how to challenge members of the board, and other important procedural issues. This kind of information is incredibly helpful to an attorney representing you during academic hearings.
Your school’s specific rules will list what kind of person can be an “advisor” for academic hearings. Usually, these lists include parents, faculty members, “student advocates” from various organizations, or an attorney. Many disciplinary actions are tied to other criminal charges or citations you receive on or off campus, while others are wholly academic issues. If you are facing criminal or civil penalties for the conduct in question at your academic hearing, you may be better off hiring a criminal defense attorney for your disciplinary hearing rather than choosing one of these other advisors.
In a court case, all communications from opposing counsel, the judge, or the government go through your attorney, except notices of court dates and times. This means your attorney can act as a buffer between you and everyone else, helping you protect your rights as you go. In an academic hearing, you do not have this same buffer. Instead, the school and hearing board will continue to make all communications directly to you, and it is up to you to keep in contact with your attorney at each stage. Our attorneys are willing to work with our clients to help advise them as the process moves along.
What Should I Expect at an Academic Hearing?
An academic hearing is much like a court case. First, you should expect that you will be told times and places to appear, much like a court summons. Arrive on-time, dress professionally, and always use polite language. Working with an attorney, you may be able to entirely avoid having to speak on your own behalf.
Second, expect that there will be multiple people administering the hearing. Universities typically set up a disciplinary board, rather than having a single “judge” figure. Some of these may be representatives of the staff or student body, but you should assume that none of them are on your side in the matter. This means you should not share extra information about your case with them without first consulting an attorney.
Otherwise, an academic disciplinary hearing may be much like what you would expect from a court case. There may be initial meetings where the charges are discussed and potentially resolved without a need for a formal trial process. In other cases, things may progress to a formal adjudicatory hearing (much like a trial). You and your attorney will usually have the right to call witnesses, present evidence, and challenge the case against you. Your attorney may even be able to give opening and closing statements, question witnesses, and object to certain issues.
When Do I Need an Attorney for Disciplinary Issues at School?
Hiring an attorney to help protect your rights is not a sign of guilt or admission that you did something wrong, but rather exercising your rights. In many cases, it is important to have someone in your corner who understands the process and the potential penalties you face.
It is never too early to consult with an attorney. Even before formal charges are issues by the university, you may be able to start discussing your case with an attorney to prepare yourself for the process. Darwin Overson offers free consultations to help you see if hiring a lawyer is right for your case.
Salt Lake City Academic Hearing Lawyer
If you or your child was accused of plagiarism, cheating, academic dishonesty, or another violation of their school’s code of conduct, you may be facing an academic disciplinary hearing. The consequences may be dire, including expulsion. Help protect yourself by hiring an attorney to represent you during your hearings. Darwin Overson of Overson and Sheen represents students during academic disciplinary hearings, and offers free consultations. For your free consultation, call our law offices today at (801) 895-3143.