When a student at Towson University is charged with a crime, he or she will face Maryland’s court system to plead guilty or not guilty to felony or misdemeanor charges. In addition, your child will need to attend disciplinary hearings, which are held not by a criminal court, but by the University. The purpose of a student disciplinary hearing is to determine what action, if any, should be taken against the student as punishment for an alleged violation of student code. Depending on the nature and severity of a violation, outcomes of a school disciplinary hearing could include suspension or even expulsion from Towson U.
The course of your child’s academic and professional future will be sculpted by the outcome of his or her hearing. When the stakes are so high, make sure that your son or daughter is represented by an aggressive, effective, and experienced defense attorney for college students at Towson. If your son or daughter is facing a disciplinary hearing at Towson, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online to set up a free legal consultation, or call (410) 694-7291. We are standing by 24 hours, seven days a week, to provide your family with guidance on your legal rights.
Common Criminal Charges Against College Students
College students are frequently charged with DUI/DWI (driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated), disorderly conduct, and marijuana possession. Other offenses that college students are commonly charged with in Maryland include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Assault in the first or second degree
- Attempted rape in the first or second degree
- Cultivation of marijuana
- Distribution of controlled substances
- Drug possession (such as possession of marijuana)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of prohibited assault weapons
- Rape in the first or second degree
- Reckless endangerment
- Resisting arrest
- Revenge porn
- Sexual offense in the third or fourth degree
- Theft (larceny)
- Vandalism and graffiti-related charges
- Wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun
If you or your child was charged with any of these offenses while attending Towson University, or was arrested for another crime not listed above, Randolph Rice may be able to help you. Contact our law offices today to schedule your free consultation.
What Happens at a Disciplinary Hearing at Towson?
If a student is accused of breaking the law, he or she will be subject to disciplinary hearings at Towson following University procedures. Disciplinary hearings may be necessary for serious charges that cannot be resolved at one of the University’s Conduct Resolution Meetings, which are used “to help reduce the need for unnecessary investigation, meetings, hearings, or other proceedings.” The student will also receive written notice detailing the charges against him or her, similar to what would happen in actual court proceedings.
At the student’s disciplinary hearing, a Hearing Board of at least three people appointed by the University will review all available evidence, including “hearsay” evidence, which would not be admissible as evidence at an actual criminal trial. Hearsay evidence is second-hand, indirect evidence, such as a statement that was made outside of court. As University policy explains, the student has a right to “reasonable access to the evidence [that] the University intends to consider,” eliminating the possibility of surprise evidence. Other than hearsay evidence, examples of evidence that may be used include text messages, emails, photographs, social media postings, eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, and other sources of information.
Importantly, the University follows a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which also differs from real-world court cases. Having a preponderance of the evidence simply means that it is more likely a crime occurred than did not occur – in other words, that there is a greater than 50% likelihood that the violation alleged took place. This standard, often applied in civil (non-criminal) cases, is less rigorous than the standard of finding a defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Towson Student Disciplinary Hearing?
The outcomes of a disciplinary hearing can be very serious for the student, who will be notified of the University’s decision with an outcome letter, which explains the University’s decision and on what grounds it was made. These outcomes may include being suspended from Towson, being expelled from Towson permanently, or being removed from on-campus housing.
It may be possible to challenge, or appeal, a University decision, but only under specific circumstances. For example, it may be appropriate to appeal if the student’s due process rights were violated in a significant way, or if there comes to light “[n]ew information which was not available at the time of the original Hearing” for the student. However, third parties are prohibited from filing appeals on behalf of students.
Towson University Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer for Students and Parents
If your son or daughter was accused of serious Towson U student code violations, including breaking state laws, he or she may be required to attend a disciplinary hearing, which could lead to suspension or expulsion. Make sure you are prepared by hiring an experienced disciplinary hearings attorney for college students at Towson University. Contact criminal defense attorney Randolph Rice online to arrange a free consultation, or call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.