To be a college student facing accusations of any kind is terrifying. Aside from any potential sentence issued by the court, a criminal record will affect your career prospects, graduate school opportunities, professional licensure applications, financial aid eligibility, campus housing, and academic enrollment.
As a former prosecutor and experienced defense attorney, I will analyze the evidence in your case to determine if there are grounds to file a motion to dismiss, negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, and ensure that you receive the benefit of any available diversion or first offender programs if you wish to resolve your case. I can be reached at (978) 704-9223 to advise you immediately following your arrest, and I will appear in court on short notice whenever possible.
Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing
If you have been summonsed for a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing, you have the opportunity to prevent a criminal complaint from issuing. This outcome is even better than having your case dismissed, as it will not appear on any criminal record database.
You should not appear at a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing without a defense attorney to argue reasons to exclude evidence and speak on your behalf. This will not only make it more likely that the Clerk Magistrate will decide not to issue a criminal complaint, but also protects you from your words being used against you.
I am committed to resolving your case with the best results possible, and I am sensitive to the fact that you may be extremely nervous about the pending charges. I will return calls promptly, explain your options and the court procedure, and present every argument in your favor.
If you or your child has been accused of academic or social misconduct at a college or university, your financial investment, future networking contacts, and the opportunity to earn a degree are at stake. An experienced defense attorney can prepare you for your hearing even if your school does not allow legal representation at the proceeding.
Having served as a voting member of my college’s Community Standards Board when I was an undergraduate, I have a rare understanding of misconduct hearings. Although the consequences are so severe, misconduct hearings are far more informal than proceedings in a court of law and the standard of proof is often a preponderance of the evidence or “more likely than not”.
Your constitutional rights may not apply at private institutions. Enclosed in the “big envelope” that high school seniors hope to receive is a Community Standards agreement that an accepting students must sign, agreeing to abide by the school’s self-created guidelines for handling misconduct accusations, searches of dormitory rooms, and hearings. Obtain a copy of your school’s Community Standards Handbook if you do not have one, as this is the law of the land.
You will most likely have the opportunity to testify as well as to cross-examine the school’s witnesses. While you may have the right to remain silent, the low standard of proof along with a lack of procedural safeguards make this more difficult. I will advise you regarding the risks and benefits of testifying, and prepare you to respond to difficult cross-examination questions and to avoid reactions that could make a bad impression on the adjudicating panelists.
A criminal record or disciplinary action by an academic institution can affect your future. If you or your child are facing accusations, whether in a court of law or at an academic institution, call (978) 704-9223 or email Lance Law LLC to schedule a consultation.