Articles Posted in Title IX/Student Discipline blog

November 12, 2018

Student Crimes

By Brian Manchester

Every parent wants their child to reach their full potential. However, your child’s future can be seriously compromised if he or she is accused of committing a crime, or accused of violating a high school, college, or university’s Code of Conduct. Depending on the type of allegation, your child may be required to attend a student disciplinary hearing and could potentially be criminally prosecuted. Irrespective of whether the allegations are mere violations of school policy or involve breaking state or federal law, your child needs aggressive legal representation to preserve and defend their future if charged with student crimes.

Common Student Crimes

Student disciplinary hearings can stem from behavior either on or off campus. The hearing may be instigated in one of several ways, for instance, an investigation by the Office of Student Conduct, or by a similar group or department. If the alleged behavior is criminalized, for example, assault, rape, or theft of property, criminal charges may be filed by a prosecutor.

Students are commonly charged with or accused of several code violations and criminal offenses, which can include:

  • Alcohol-Related Charges
  • Intoxicated Driving
  • Public Intoxication
  • Underage Drinking
  • Drug Possession and Distribution
  • Cocaine Possession
  • Ecstasy Possession
  • LSD Possession
  • Marijuana Possession
  • Selling Marijuana
  • Drunk Driving/Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Breathalyzer Refusal
  • Marijuana DUI
  • Open Container Violations
  • Fake ID Charges
  • Making Fake IDs
  • Selling Fake IDs
  • Using a Fake ID to Buy Alcohol
  • Sex Crimes
  • Rape
  • Revenge Porn Offenses
  • Sexual Assault
  • Statutory Sexual Assault (Statutory Rape)

Other Offenses:

  • Bomb Threats
  • Cheating
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Gun Possession/Possession of Weapons
  • Hate Crimes
  • Hazing
  • Identity Theft
  • Plagiarism
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism/Destruction of Property

Penalties for Violating a School’s Code of Conduct

The punishment for violating a student Code of Conduct – or for breaking state or federal laws – is varied and depends on factors like:

  • School policies, if the matter is non-criminal.
  • The severity of the alleged offense.
  • The student’s history and background.
  • Whether there were aggravating or mitigating factors.

Depending on the specific policies at the particular academic institution, the school may impose a variety of sanctions ranging from minor punishments to permanent expulsion. These potential punishments could include:

  • Expulsion
  • Letters of Reprimand
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Transcript Notations
  • Written Warnings

If law enforcement and prosecutors become involved in the investigation and charges are filed, the student can face much graver consequences. The consequences are particularly grave if the student is 18 or older, and if the charge is especially serious. The penalties for a criminal offense depend largely on whether the crime is a felony, summary offense, or a misdemeanor, as well as the degree of felony or misdemeanor. The criminal penalties for these offenses depends on the severity of the charges, the student’s age and history, and other factors. These penalties could include fines and restitution, mandatory community service, probation, and even jail or prison time. Further, there are certain allegations that cause a juvenile to be charged and tried as an adult.

 

Both parents and students need to remember that every scholastic institution has its own procedure for dealing with student Code of Conduct violations. Hiring a defense attorney who understands the procedures and regulations used at your child’s school is paramount.

If You or a Loved One Are Facing Charges While in School – Call Now!

If your son, daughter, or grandchild was arrested and charged with a crime at college, or is under investigation for suspected violations of their school’s Code of Conduct, defense attorney Brian Manchester is ready to fight aggressively to protect their rights. For a free and confidential legal consultation about a student hearing or criminal charge against a student or minor, contact our law offices at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Title IX/Student Discipline blog ,

November 12, 2018

Drug use in College | How it can Affect One’s Life

By Brian Manchester

Statistics show that drug use in college is very common, with over 50% of college students having tried marijuana, over 30% have abused Adderall and 10% have used Ecstasy or Molly. However, few college students understand the consequences of their actions. The punishments associated with drug use will have a lasting effect on a student’s life.

  1. Fines and/or jail time

If you are a student convicted of drug possession in Pennsylvania, you will have to spend a lot of money on fines, and possibly spend some time in jail. It’s true that marijuana laws have become more relaxed as of late, but it’s still possible to be sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined up to $500 for possession of marijuana, even with a small amount. Medical marijuana patients will be considered exempt, but anyone with an expired prescription, or without any prescription, will still be charged and sentenced for marijuana possession.

Possession of other illegal drugs will result in much more serious charges. Getting caught with controlled substances such as Heroin, Cocaine, and prescription drugs can result in:

  • Up to one year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine
  • Up to two years in prison for a second offense
  • Up to three years for a third offense

Unfortunately, consequences for students go beyond legal repercussions.

The effects of having a charge on your record can overflow into school and future employment.

  1. Student aid can be revoked

Your federal student aid may also be revoked if convicted of a drug charge, yet few students realize this. This can be potentially devastating for students, especially because more are depending on their own financing for their education, rather than on their parent’s.

  1. Academic probation or suspension 

Policies for drug use vary for every educational institution and the situations are evaluated on a case by case basis. Students very commonly are placed on academic probation or sometimes suspended for getting caught with drugs. For example, the University of Pennsylvania prohibits any drug use. Drug use on this campus can result in a wide range of disciplinary actions, ranging from a mere warning to expulsion. The results will depend upon the type of drug, the amount, and if you have repeat offenses.

  1. Delayed graduation

If a student misses too many classes because of jail time, probation, or suspension from school, the student might not be able to graduate on time. If your charges are severe enough, your college might decide to withhold graduation until you have complied with rules and penalties.

  1. You might get turned down for grad school

Grad school applications ask whether the applicant has been charged or convicted with a criminal offense. Additionally, graduate schools will also run background checks in order to scan for offenses. While graduate schools might not turn down students outright, a mark on your record could give someone else a better chance over you for admission.

The side effects of an arrest and spending time in jail for a drug possession conviction can be upsetting. Many students feel like their future is jeopardized.

If you or a loved one was charged with possession of drugs, contact Brian Manchester today for help with your case. Brian Manchester will fight for you every step of the way and ensure you receive aggressive representation.

He has extensive training in alcohol and drug defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

 

Posted in: Drugs , Title IX/Student Discipline blog ,

August 9, 2018

Common Examples of Title IX (Nine) Sexual Misconduct

By Brian Manchester

The Office for Civil Rights has described specific forms of sexual misconduct that is prohibited under Title IX.

In order to provide you with more information about Title IX, we have outlined the most common examples below.

Rape/Sexual Assault

This is the clearest and most commonly thought of form of sexual violence. Intercourse, and any other sexual act, requires consent. Without consent, a student could be accused of rape or sexual assault.

Drugs and alcohol, which are extremely common at college, can easily muddy the waters on consent: According to the Office of Civil Rights, a student may be deemed incapable of giving consent because they were intoxicated. This means that even if you have intercourse with someone who seemed to be consenting at the time, it is possible for that person to claim they were severely intoxicated, and a Title Nine Sexual Assault investigation may be brought.

Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion is a Title Nine violation and is similar to sexual assault, as it takes place without the victim’s consent. The difference between sexual coercion and sexual assault is that sexual coercion focuses on the use of verbal or emotional pressure put on the victim. However, it may also include physical force in an attempt to persuade the victim into sexual activity. In addition, drugs or alcohol can further speak to whether an alleged victim was coerced.

Videotaping/Taking Pictures

It would be difficult to find even one college student without a smartphone these days. It is important to keep in mind that videotaping or taking pictures of sexual activity, or the other person while naked, is a Title Nine violation if you did not have the other person’s consent. This includes taking videos or pictures on Snapchat where the content will disappear after a few seconds. Remember, Title Nine uses the lower, preponderance of evidence, standard of proof. This means that you could be found guilty of Title Nine sexual misconduct even if witnesses say you sent them such content, even if the proof has disappeared.

Free Consultation | We’ll Fight For You

If you have been accused of Title Nine Sexual Assault, Brian Manchester will fight for you every step of the way and ensure you receive aggressive representation. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

 

Posted in: Title IX/Student Discipline blog ,

July 19, 2018

Title IX Sexual Assault Investigations

By Brian Manchester

Title IX: A Major Issue For Universities

One of the biggest issues affecting universities lately are accusations of sexual assault under Title IX (Nine). Title Nine is a federal civil rights law, and universities will lose their federal funding unless they follow certain Title Nine procedures that seek to prevent sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Given university funding is on the line, universities are quick to conduct a full investigation even when there is little to no evidence that Title Nine sexual misconduct actually occurred.

Low Burden Of Proof

In addition, the burden of proof for a Title Nine violation is far lower than the “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” standard seen in criminal trials. Rather, if the disciplinary board determines that it is more probable than not that the Title Nine sexual misconduct took place, the board will bring down a harsh punishment. Given the current always “believe the victim” mantra, an accused may find themselves expelled or suspended from school even if the evidence was nothing more than “she said/he said.”

First 3 Phases Of Disciplinary Process

If you are accused of a Title Nine Sexual Assault Violation, it is important to contact a Title Nine defense attorney as soon as possible.

There are five phases of the Title Nine disciplinary process, and you will want an experienced defense attorney by your side for all of them.

First, staff at the university will file a report and inform the accused student of the allegations, and an investigation will occur whereby students are interviewed as witnesses.

Second, if the university employees determine there is a reasonable chance the Title Nine Sexual Assault violation did occur, the accused will be formally charged and a hearing date will be set.

Third, a hearing will be conducted. This is where the accused student is asked to admit, deny, or remain silent as to the alleged sexual violation. The hearing is not similar to a regular criminal trial and the rules of evidence do not apply.

Certain evidence can be used against you that would otherwise not be admissible in a regular trial. After hearing the evidence, the disciplinary board will then decide whether the accused student is guilty or innocent.

Last 2 Phases Of Disciplinary Process

If the disciplinary board determines that the accused student is guilty of the Title Nine Sexual Assault violation, phase four is for the disciplinary board to render a punishment.

Even if you are found to be guilty, your defense attorney can argue for a more lenient punishment by presenting evidence that raises doubts about the likelihood of your guilt.

The punishment can be anything from expulsion or suspension, to requiring the student to obtain counseling or substance abuse treatment. The university will also commonly hold the accused student’s degree until the student complies with the terms of the punishment.

The final stage is the appeals process. If found guilty, you can appeal to another panel which will be set forth in the university’s code of conduct handbook.

As you can see, Title Nine Sexual Assault violations carry severe punishments, and the process can be arduous. Brian Manchester will fight for you every step of the way and ensure you receive aggressive representation. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

 

Posted in: Title IX/Student Discipline blog ,

August 8, 2017

Can I lose my Federal Student Aid for just a marijuana possession charge?

By Brian Manchester

The short answer YES.

If you are convicted of a drug charge you may become ineligible for student aid. In some cases this ineligibility could be for life. Any federal or state conviction from simple possession to possession with intent to deliver can disqualify you from receiving federal student aid grants and loans. The way the government calculates these disqualifications is dependent on whether or not you were receiving aid at the time of the charges, however there needs to be a valid conviction before your aid can be affected.

How this works.

If you are on summer break and not taking any classes thus not currently receiving any aid and are charged in Pennsylvania for Small Amount of Marijuana. Even if you are convicted sometime later during the fall semester this should not affect your ability to receive federal student aid. This is because you were not currently receiving aid when the violation occurred even though you were convicted during a period of time when you were receiving aid.

However if you are charged in Pennsylvania for Small Amount of Marijuana during the spring semester when you are receiving federal student loans, but are not convicted until over the summer break this would count against you for receiving federal aid in the future; because the offense occurred during a time when you were receiving federal student aid.

In addition if you are determined to be a drug trafficker (in Pennsylvania this would be a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver). The state or federal Judge could specifically deny you federal benefits including federal student loans.

If you received a drug conviction ten years ago that would have meant a total loss of federal aid for life. Now the laws have become less final by creating a tiered system. For a simple possession charge you would become ineligible for aid for one year from the date of conviction. If you are convicted a second time for a possession charge you would face an additional two years of suspension from federal student aid. If you are convicted for a third offense then you would have a lifetime ban. However if you are convicted of the more serious offense such as a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver then the first offense carries a two year suspension, a second conviction would be a lifetime ban.

If you are serving a suspension of your federal aid you can complete a program to regain your eligibility early. First and second offenders can regain their eligibility status for federal aid by completing a drug rehabilitation program that is approved and meets certain requirements; in addition you will have to pass two unannounced drug tests. If you are able to regain your eligibility early it is important that you work with the financial aid office at your school to start receiving loans again.

Obviously the best way to prevent any of these issues is to not be convicted at all. If there is no conviction then there is no strike against your eligibility to receive Federal student aid.

It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Title IX/Student Discipline blog ,