Every institution of higher education has a code of conduct, and within that code are violations that could result in disciplinary action. Universities, in a way, have their own justice system. If you are caught on campus violating one or more rules, you may find yourself facing a disciplinary hearing and potentially serious consequences, such as expulsion.
If you or your child are a college student who is in trouble with the college or university, it is time to call a Fayetteville criminal defense lawyer with experience handling university student disciplinary hearings in Arkansas. By hiring an attorney, you or your child will have someone to guide you through the university’s disciplinary process. You will benefit from having an experienced attorney to prepare you and support you during your hearing or advocate for you during your appeal. Also, a lawyer will make every effort to mitigate the consequences of a disciplinary hearing finding against you or your child, up to and including appealing the hearing officer’s decision.
We Represent Students at Colleges and Universities Throughout Northwest Arkansas
There are many higher education institutions in Arkansas, including 10 four-year universities, 22 two-year colleges, and several private universities. Our firm has attorneys licensed in Oklahoma and Missouri and can help navigate systems in those regions as well.
Do not hesitate to call us if you attend a college or university and are facing disciplinary action at:
- University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
- University of Arkansas Fort Smith
- UAMS Northwest
- John Brown University
- Northwest Arkansas Community College
- Ecclesia College
- Bryan University
- Northeastern State University
- Arkansas Tech University
- University of the Ozarks
- Carl Albert State College
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
- Crowder College
- Messenger College
- Missouri Southern State University
- Ozark Christian College
- Vatterott College
Common University Disciplinary Issues
College and university students tend to get in trouble for alcohol- and drug-related violations or academic dishonesty.
Alcohol violations may include:
- Possession of a fake ID to purchase alcohol
- Manufacturing or altering an ID
- A minor in possession of alcohol
- Knowingly furnishing or selling alcohol for minors
- Unknowingly furnishing or selling alcohol to minors
- Public intoxication
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI)
Drug-related violations often entail:
- Possession of marijuana
- Possession of other controlled substances
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession with intent to deliver
- Selling or providing controlled substances to minors
- Selling or providing controlled substances on school property
Other reasons you or your child may have to face a disciplinary hearing is due to accusations of plagiarism, cheating, harassment, hazing, sexual misconduct, firearm possession, or other conduct which violates student codes.
The University Disciplinary Process
When a student is arrested for a crime while enrolled in a college or university, ticketed for a violation on campus, or the subject of a complaint from another student or university faculty/staff member, this information often gets to the institution’s student disciplinary office for review. This office may go by a variety of names. At the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, it is known as the Office of Student Standards and Conduct.
Members of the office review the situation and decide whether or not to perform a more thorough investigation. If it appears the student is responsible for a violation of the institution’s policies, then the next step is a disciplinary hearing.
The student will be notified of the date and time of the hearing and they are required to attend. Failing to show up to the hearing or properly rescheduling the hearing can lead to additional sanctions, including monetary fines. Additionally, the student will be notified ahead of time regarding the specific policies they allegedly violated.
At the hearing will be a hearing officer. This is a professional employed by the college or university—they are not a criminal court judge. The student has the right to put forth evidence, such as their own testimony, that they did not commit a violation.
While the hearing officer is not a judge, the disciplinary hearing is much like a courtroom, and that can be overwhelming to handle on your own. It is far better for young students to have guidance through the university disciplinary process. By hiring an Arkansas university student disciplinary hearing lawyer, you have someone to tell you what to expect at your hearing, help you to prepare your strongest defense for the hearing, and guide you in how to present your defense effectively to the hearing officer.
Another reason to hire an experienced attorney is that colleges and universities tend to have a limited system for appeals. This means you need to fight hard against the initial accusations.
Potential Consequences of a University Disciplinary Hearing
Colleges and universities are all unique. They each have their own disciplinary processes. However, the sanctions they can administer are all similar, such as:
- Private or public reprimand
- Community service
- Academic probation for a period of time or the student’s academic tenure
- Conduct probation for a period of time or the student’s academic tenure
- Loss of certain privileges on campus, including parking
- Additional academic or informational requirements
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Suspension for a period of time with conditional or unconditional readmittance
- Permanent expulsion
For example, if you or your child attend the University of Arkansas, alcohol and drug violations are sanctioned in accordance with specific guidelines. Each violation is assessed on a level between 1 and 5. A Level 1 violation is the lowest kind, and if you are found to have committed a Level 1 violation, you will be censured, required to complete an alcohol education program, and required to complete 15 hours of community service. The penalties increase with the levels and may include fines, restitution when applicable, loss of parking privileges, probation, parental notification when you are under 21 years old, and suspension with conditional readmittance. If you are found to have committed a Level 5 violation, the most serious, you can, and likely will, be expelled from the institution.
Other academic institutions have similar violation and disciplinary schemes. To avoid facing the embarrassment of being found responsible for a violation and the potentially harsh outcome of a disciplinary hearing, you should work with an Arkansas university student disciplinary hearing lawyer.
It is important to note that many of these prohibited activities are both violations of university policies and crimes. You or your child can get into trouble with their college or university and with the police. For drug crimes, especially, the university may refer the case to the prosecutor for Fayetteville or Washington County. You may need an attorney to represent you or your child in the university disciplinary process and within the local criminal court system.
Let an Arkansas University Student Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer Help
If you are a college student who is currently in trouble at school, or your young son or daughter is facing a disciplinary hearing, we recommend giving us a call at The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas PLLC. We understand how frightening this can be. You have worked hard to get into college, and no doubt, you and your family are paying a great deal of money for your education. You want to remain in school and maintain a clean disciplinary and academic record. To avoid being disciplined, or worse yet, expelled, it is best to call a lawyer right away at (479) 316-3760 or use our online contact form to reach out.