Criminal Defense Lawyer for Utah Valley University Students

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Students can experience unthinkable losses if charged and found guilty of a crime. If your son or daughter attends Utah Valley University (UVU), he or she stands to face potentially severe penalties due to the criminal prosecution. They also face disciplinary actions. UVU’s disciplinary proceedings can come with serious penalties, including the possibility of being expelled or terminated. With so much at stake, you need an experienced student criminal defense lawyer who will fight for your son or daughter’s rights throughout criminal and disciplinary proceedings.

Anyone admitted to UVU worked hard through high school to maintain a very good GPA. Whether the criminal charges involve a sex crime, drugs, weapons, violence, property crimes or other criminal offenses in Utah, your son or daughter doesn’t have to lose what they worked hard to achieve. Darwin Overson can provide a vigorous defense. Call (801) 823-6909 to discuss the details of your case.

Fighting Against Criminal or Academic Penalties for Students

Our primary goal is always to begin by seeking dismissal, or for the charges to be dropped. If the case goes to trial, we will fight vigorously work to obtain a “not guilty” verdict. We will fight for the best results possible, even if the case reaches a point of sentencing where a student’s life can change drastically. Utah’s criminal sentencing guidelines are designed to take into consideration a wide number of factors with an emphasis on rehabilitation. Your attorney can explain at greater length how we can advocate on your son’s or daughter’s behalf at this juncture.

Utah’s judges must consider many factors before imposing a sentence, including:

  • Criminal and personal history
  • The impact sentencing will have on future employment
  • Whether alternative sentencing programs are more appropriate than jail or prison in view of the person’s criminal record and mitigating factors

Depending on the type of charges your son or daughter is facing, a skilled attorney can advocate for a sentence that will not impact the student’s future significantly. There are also circumstances judges take into consideration that your attorney can explain in detail.

Utah Valley University Code of Conduct

When a good student makes a mistake, it’s important to give them realistic and thoughtful legal advice about the academic repercussions. Every college or university implements their own code of conduct. UVU’s code provides very specific rules as to what is expected of students in accordance with:

  • The Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG)
  • Standards of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • The Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act
  • The Board of Regents Policies and University Policies and Procedures
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities are contained in UVU Policy 541

UVU’s students are expected to conduct themselves responsibly and avoid criminal behavior. UVU’s Policy 541 prohibits a broad range of actions in the premises of the university, at institution-sponsored events, and even off-campus. You should contact your attorney to look at whether UVU’s actions are reasonable and consistent with Utah laws.

UVU students can be asked to withdraw from the university while a disciplinary matter is pending.  Some of the less severe sanctions include:

  • Probation with specific conditions
  • Loss of privileges

The harsher sanctions include:

  • Fines and restitution of losses
  • Interim suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of admission or degree
  • Withholding degree until the conclusion of a disciplinary process relating to any possible violation of students’ rights and responsibilities

All the severe sanctions listed above tend to have constitutional due process consequences. While UVU’s Policy 541 specifies that the “interim suspension” doesn’t replace the regular due process, every time a student is subject to suspension, a due process violation can occur if the period and terms of suspension are arbitrary. The same legal concepts apply to expulsion, revocation and/or withholding a degree.

Due Process in College Criminal or Disciplinary Proceedings

Due process is an important constitutional right. There are two types of due process at stake whenever a student is subject to disciplinary proceedings:

Substantive due process relates to the right to receive knowledge as implied in the words “liberty” and “property” as provided under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Procedural due process pertains to the actual procedures required to ensure the student receives proper notice, an opportunity to be heard, and a fair hearing.

In the seminal case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized students’ right to substantive due process. Courts understand that there is an interest in education within the scope of the constitutional legal concepts of “liberty and property.” However, courts have a great deal of discretion in the implementation of procedures. For this reason, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney representing your or daughter and protecting their interests.

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Utah Valley University Students

It’s essential for a criminal defense attorney to keep a proactive stance when protecting the constitutional rights of a student who is facing criminal charges. If you or someone you know attends UVU and is facing criminal charges, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 823-6934. With over 16 years of criminal defense and trial experience, Darwin will give you strategic and clear legal guidance throughout the process. He will fight hard to defend your son or daughter at every stage and will not stand for unconstitutional or unethical practices that could hurt your family’s future.