If you are a college student or plan to get a college education, and you are also facing criminal charges in South Carolina, you are probably wondering how this is going to impact your educational goals. If you haven’t thought about it before now, then this is certainly the time to do so. The reason you need to consider this issue is because criminal charges can prevent you from being accepted into a college or university as well as your ability to get financial aid for your educational expenses.
Beyond that, criminal charges might prevent you from being able to live on the campus of your school. Even if you are already in school, your ability to continue with your education could be hampered by the consequences of any criminal charges you’re currently facing, depending on the outcome of your case and the type of crime you are accused of and potentially convicted of.
Which Criminal Charges Could Impair Your Educational Goals in South Carolina?
There are many different criminal charges that college students can face, just like anyone else, and many of these happen on the campus. Every year there nearly 80,000 reported student crimes in the US. Close to 40% of those are related to property damage or violence, while the rest are mostly associated with alcohol and drug offenses. With some crimes, the students face disciplinary action from the school. Besides drug and alcohol related crimes (like public intoxication, underage drinking, or drug possession), there are also the crimes of burglary, robbery, arson, physical and sexual assault, homicide, weapons charges, and motor vehicle theft. If you are a student facing any kind of criminal charges, you would be wise to seek the representation of a South Carolina criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and minimize the damage that such charges can have on your educational goals.
What Sort of Consequences Might You Face As a Student Convicted of a Crime?
College and university students in South Carolina can face consequences from the campus law enforcement and the city and state law enforcement, depending on the nature of the crime. If convicted of a crime, you might wind up facing such consequences as probation, community service, or fines. If your crime was related to drugs or alcohol, then you might be ordered into a program that is designed to prevent further substance abuse crimes. In many cases, you may face jail time.
If your crime is a misdemeanor, such as marijuana possession or public intoxication, then you may have a jail sentence, but these crimes are not considered as serious as felonies. Thus, you will likely still be able to continue your education, though you may also face other consequences as described above.
If your crime is a felony, such as aggravated assault, sexual assault, or distributing drugs, then this is much more serious, and you can face much more serious consequences. This is much more likely to prevent you from being accepted into a college or allowed to live on campus, not to mention spending more than a year in jail. Felony crimes can completely derail all of your future goals.
What Do You Do If You’re a Student Facing Criminal Charges in South Carolina?
Because the consequences of being convicted of a crime as a student in South Carolina are so severe, you should contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you to decide if you should plead guilty or fight the charges. You should not plead guilty or make a statement until after you have consulted with a lawyer. Within 24 hours of your arrest, you will have a bond hearing, and you should have an attorney on your side by this time.
What About the School’s Code of Conduct and Response to Criminal Acts?
All schools have a code of conduct. When a student breaks this code of conduct, whether criminal charges are filed or not, they may end up facing campus law enforcement or security. If this happens, then the school will likely notify your parents and then subject you to sanctions based on the offense. For example, you may have to participate in a drug or alcohol program, you may face suspension, or you might be forced to move out of the campus dorms. In worst cases, you can lose your financial aid or scholarships or even be expelled permanently.
You Have a Right to Due Process Even in Campus Administration Matters
Some students believe that when the campus administration handles the case, they do not have the same rights of due process as they do when the city or state law enforcement are involved. This is not true. You always have a right to due process. There will likely be a disciplinary hearing in which you still have a right to legal representation. Contact the David Aylor Law Firm to learn more about your rights as a student facing criminal charges or disciplinary actions in South Carolina.