As the home of Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford is also home to thousands of students who, in many cases, are living away from their families for the first time in their lives. An environment like this can be ripe for self-exploration and personal growth, but it also provides numerous opportunities to run afoul of Florida state law. A young person could be prosecuted as an adult if an incident ends with an arrest.
If you or your child are facing criminal charges as a college student at Seminole State or any other academic institution around this area, you can seek help from a Sanford college student defense lawyer. A knowledgeable defense attorney could help you resolve criminal allegations and also handle school disciplinary proceedings that put the student’s academic standing at risk.
With a few exceptions, nearly everyone who attends college or university in the state of Florida is at least 18 years old when they first enroll, which means they are old enough to be prosecuted in adult criminal court rather than juvenile court if they are accused of violating the law. Experienced defense attorneys know how to handle both misdemeanor and felony charges against college students in Sanford, including:
The best strategy for fighting back against a college student’s criminal charge will depend on the charge itself and the circumstances surrounding it. In general, though, effective defenses tend to focus on proving either that: (1) some necessary element of the offense was not present, (2) that available evidence does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that a particular offense occurred, or (3) that law enforcement did not have jurisdiction in privately owned buildings on campus.
Importantly, any criminal violation of Florida state law by a college or university student will almost always could as a violation of their school’s student code of conduct. This means that in addition to criminal prosecution and sentencing, college students facing criminal allegations in Sanford are also likely to find themselves dealing with disciplinary action from their school. This could even include suspension or expulsion.
Unlike with criminal trials, neither the United States Constitution nor the Florida Constitution guarantees any specific rights to students facing disciplinary proceedings from private or public educational organizations. They do not technically have the right to remain silent without it being held against them, or the right to have legal counsel provided if they do not have representation. Additionally, student conduct boards are not required to prove guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The evidence they accept in support of a guilty finding—as well as their interpretations of the evidence—can be surprisingly subjective.
Even if they are not allowed into a disciplinary hearing with a student, a skilled college student defense lawyer in Sanford can still help prepare for this proceeding and build a strong defense. Legal counsel could also potentially assist with non-criminal school disciplinary proceedings, such as allegations of cheating.
College students charged with criminal offenses in Florida often have a complicated fight ahead of them if they want to minimize the negative impact that these allegations have. Fortunately, there is help available from qualified legal professionals who are highly experienced in working with college students.
A conversation with a Sanford college student defense lawyer could provide you with much-needed clarity about your best path forward. Call today or fill out a contact form to schedule a meeting.
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