NY College Arrests & Title IX Disciplinary Hearings

New York City and the surrounding counties are home to some of the premier colleges and universities. From Columbia, NYU, Fordham and Baruch to Pace, Brooklyn Law School, St. Johns and Purchase, there are well established private colleges and graduate schools as well as those administered under the SUNY and CUNY system. Just as these colleges, universities and graduate schools offer students the prospect of a bright future, they also have their own rules and regulations that students must abide by to graduate. Some infractions may be criminal in nature and a violation of the New York Penal Law while others may not be criminal or result in an arrest. Either way, the consequences of wrongdoing on a college campus, arrest or otherwise, is arguably greater than that elsewhere in New York State or New York City. Why? Not only must an accused deal with the potential of an arrest, arraignment, indictment, trial and incarceration where a crime has been committed, but whether or not one’s actions rise to the level of a misdemeanor or felony, each college has its own procedures to investigate and “prosecute” violations of their ethics, harassment and related Title IX rules. Foreign nationals possessing a study visa such as an F1 have further concerns because if they are expelled from school, their status may be terminated at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing.

Simply, even without the humiliation of an arrest, you may not be able to escape the embarrassment and life altering ramifications of a suspension or expulsion investigation and the associated Title IX disciplinary hearing. Being prepared and knowledgeable, along with advocacy from your lawyer, is not merely the best, but only way to protect yourself and the investment you made in your education. Arguing you are young or naïve or that you were intoxicated and sorry is not a defense.

Crimes Committed on College and University Campuses

Most colleges and universities have their own public safety divisions or units. For lack of a better term, while not the NYPD, these officers make up the college police. Some infractions may be mild and when the NYPD is called a person is issued a pink summons. Maybe the offense is only a violation for Disorderly Conduct or Minor in Possession (underage drinking). In such a scenario, you are given a pink summons. Alternatively, the police may arrest and finger print you for possessing marijuana, cocaine, molly, a gravity knife or other misdemeanor crime. If you are lucky or your criminal lawyer advocates for a Desk Appearance Ticket, you will be released after a few hours at the local precinct. That said, you have still been arrested. A criminal case is pending. You will be seeing a judge and arraigned on charges. Compounding matters, unlike many other states, New York does not expunge criminal records as a general rule. If you are convicted of PL 220.03 (Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance) or PL 155.25 (Petit Larceny) for example, the offense will be publically available for future schools, employers and business associates to see even if you never set foot in jail.

More serious crimes, felony offenses, are even more concerning. Your criminal defense lawyer will explain the process, but in New York State an arrest for a felony can lead to an indictment by the Grand Jury and a sentence involving prison. For some crimes incarceration is mandatory. For example, if you have no right to be in a dorm room and you steal someone’s wallet, you could face the charges of Burglary in the Second Degree, a “C” violent felony with a 3.5 year mandatory term of incarceration. If you steal even one credit card you could face an “E” felony for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. Too many crimes to list here, felonies are devastating to anyone’s future especially a young man or woman studying hard to get through school and make a future for him or herself.

Whether you have a misdemeanor or felony consisting of a fake identification, breaking a roommate’s cell phone, punching a fellow student in the eye, or taking unwanted pictures of a person’s intimate areas, you are facing serious consequences and ramifications. If you are a foreign student on an F1 visa, the concerns are magnified even further. Don’t be naïve or foolish. Being intoxicated or young won’t be a shield from prosecution. Hiring the best New York criminal defense lawyer can.

Gender Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Title IX and Other School Policies

Every college has its own policy and handbook on student conduct. Some violations of this policy may rise to the level of an arrest while others may not. Regardless of which category of infractions are alleged to have occurred, any one of these can land you in an administrative of school hearing. When a complaint is made against you an investigation will commence and may do so without your knowledge or warning. Do you make a statement? If you do, how could that statement be used in a parallel criminal investigation? What are your rights? Is there due process? Who are the fact finders and who ultimately makes a decision on a sentence should there be a finding against you? If there is a “trial”, can you have your attorney present to combat allegations of your violation of Title IX or the policies of sexual harassment, sexual violence or gender based harassment? What if the offense you are accused of is one of cheating or ethics? Simply, there are countless “what ifs” that you will face and your answers will not be addressed if you proceed alone and without an attorney or lawyer. Ultimately it is your decision, but should you improperly handle these hearings and the investigations that precede them, then it is more than likely that you will face a suspension or expulsion when the matter is closed.

Criminal Lawyers, School Hearing Attorneys & Former Manhattan Prosecutors

One simple mistake can brand you for life. One regrettable moment in time can lead to the decimation of your college career as well as certain career paths. Even worse, these missteps can land you in jail and with a criminal record. Whether you are accused of criminal conduct or “merely” a violation of college or university policy, treat the matters the same. Work with your attorney to identify witnesses, locate corroborative evidence and even implement a mitigation defense. Do not be misguided, naïve or careless. Just because there may not be a threat of an arrest, a Title IX hearing or university disciplinary investigation whether it relates to sexual violence, sexual abuse, gender-based harassment, sexual harassment or some other conduct, deserves equal and immediate attention.

Call our New York criminal defense attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

New York Criminal Lawyer Blog - Title IX Investigations and Hearings
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