College and the Court System: How an arrest and/or a conviction can affect your degree

As Columbus, Ohio is the home of the Ohio State University, many of our past and current clients have some affiliation with the university.   For those that are students, a criminal charge can have much further-reaching consequences than just a fine or a weekend in jail – it can mean action by the university that could result in suspension or dismissal.  Certain criminal convictions can even mean the end to federal aid, which most students rely upon to go to college.

Almost every university has a student code of conduct. The Ohio State University’s Code of Conduct can be found here and includes the following important language:

The code applies to the on-campus conduct of all students and registered student organizations, including conduct using university computing or network resources. The code also applies to the off-campus conduct of students and registered student organizations in direct connection with:

A. Academic course requirements or any credit-bearing experiences, such as internships, field trips, study abroad, or student teaching;

B. Any activity supporting pursuit of a degree, such as research at another institution or a professional practice assignment;

C. Any activity sponsored, conducted, or authorized by the university or by registered student organizations;

D. Any activity that causes substantial destruction of property belonging to the university or members of the university community, or causes or threatens serious harm to the safety or security of members of the university community; or

E. Any activity in which a police report has been filed, a summons or indictment has been issued, or an arrest has occurred for a crime of violence.

This means that a conviction is not required for the University to take action against you.  All that is required is one of three circumstances:  a police report, a summons or indictment, or an arrest for a “crime of violence.”  It is important to note that a police report can be filed without an arrest and vice versa (although not as often).  A summons or indictment occurs when you have been formally charged with a crime.  Finally, a “crime of violence” is just what it sounds like: some action against another involving violence.

Many think that if they try to handle incidents on their own that the university will be less likely to find out about it.  This could not be further from the truth.  Having an attorney who understands both the legal and non-legal ramifications of a charge is key to making sure that you do not undergo unduly harsh consequences in either the criminal or academic systems.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can contact the necessary people and help you navigate the system to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.  If you are a college student and facing a criminal charge, don’t wait.  Contact Columbus Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney W Joseph Edwards as soon as possible.

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