Columbia Student Defense Lawyer

Nearly every place of higher education (universities and colleges) in the United States has a code of conduct with which all students are expected to comply.  These codes of conduct are generally interpreted and enforced by student conduct boards, who conduct hearings on alleged code violations.

At the University of South Carolina, such hearings are often led by the Carolina Judicial Council, which is composed of USC students and which acts under the Office of Student Conduct.

During the consideration of student conduct code violations, University of South Carolina students should be aware that they have the right to consult with legal counsel.  Despite university decisions not having the force of law behind them, a negative outcome can cause severe harm to a student’s academic and even professional career.

If you have been accused of a code of conduct violation, a Columbia student defense lawyer can help you to protect your reputation and your future.

Drug or Alcohol-Related Misconduct

The University of South Carolina explicitly prohibits many behaviors pertaining to the use and possession of drugs and alcohol.  If a student is found to violate a drug or alcohol-related rule, the student will be subject to a fine or even expulsion.  Common drug or alcohol violations that a Columbia student defense lawyers deal with include, among others:

  • Public intoxication
  • Possession of false identification or fake ID
  • Possession/consumption of alcohol while under 21or minor in possession
  • Public Disorderly Conduct
  • Simple Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession of Controlled Substance such as Xanax or Adderall
  • Presence of alcohol in an underage or “dry” residence
  • Providing alcohol to an underage or intoxicated individual
  • Open containers in vehicles or public areas
  • Possession of alcohol-related paraphernalia (this includes empty beer bottles and beer pong tables!)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Distributing any illegal or controlled drug, including prescription medications
  • Possession of illegal or controlled substances without a valid prescription by a doctor

If you have been accused of violating an alcohol or drug-related rule, a University of South Carolina student defense attorney will help you best present your case to university authorities.

Academic Misconduct

If a student is reported to the Office of Academic Integrity for a violation of academic integrity (for cheating on an exam or plagiarizing a paper, etc.), the student will be called upon to explain the alleged violation.

After being informed of a conduct administrator’s decision, the student will choose from two options—sometimes with very little time for deliberation: accept the decision or request a hearing in front of a panel composed of faculty and other students.

At any step in the process, the student can benefit from the advice of an adviser who supports and coaches the student during his or her defense. Being accused of an academic violation can have serious consequences, and the student will want to do everything in his or her power to reach a good outcome.

Pre-Trial Intervention for Criminal Charges

One option that may be available to some students facing criminal charges for the first time is the pre-trial intervention program (PTI).  PTI offers first-time offenders an opportunity to resolve a criminal charge outside of the normal justice system.

The purpose of PTI is to rehabilitate those who have committed a criminal offense.  Instead of requiring jail time and fines, participants must complete community service, attend counseling, or pay restitution to the victims. The specific terms are ultimately up to the court to determine. Following the successful completion of pre-trial intervention, the student may avoid a criminal record.

PTI is not available to everyone.  Applicants must be 18 years old or older. Additionally, the program is only available to first-time offenders that are not facing charges of DWI or violent crimes.

Why You Need a Columbia Student Defense Attorney

Even if the allegation against you is minor, you may still need the advice or guidance of a lawyer.  But if you are accused of a violation with more serious consequences and you want to protect all the time and money you’ve invested in your education, then you should consult with a University of South Carolina student defense lawyer in Columbia who’s been through this before.

For more information about how a Columbia student defense lawyer can help you, contact us today.