It’s the worst sort of phone call. Your child, a college student, has been charged with a crime on campus. Now, there will be a disciplinary hearing and the possibility they will be kicked out of school. Even worse, criminal charges could follow.
If you or your child attends an institution of higher learning in Chattanooga and surrounding areas, you should know that Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers provides private, nonjudgmental defense in school disciplinary proceedings and in criminal cases.
We know that college students are still learning to make their way, and they often make mistakes or engage in risky behavior without fully understanding the consequences. We know that college life brings all kinds of new freedoms and new situations and that sometimes an innocent or consensual situation can be taken out of context by school authorities or others. And, we know that people are sometimes falsely accused.
We can help if you or your child attends the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of the South at Sewanee, Chattanooga State, Southern Adventist University, Covenant College, Lee University, Miller-Motte College, Bryan College or other institutions of higher learning in Tennessee.
Serious issues are at stake in campus crime cases
It used to be that college was a place where kids could make mistakes in a relatively safe environment. Unfortunately, because there has been a spotlight on campus crime in the last few years, colleges and universities are increasingly taking a hard line on what they perceive could be a crime.
That puts students directly in line for harsh consequences that could last for years. For example, a serious violation of your school’s policies could get you kicked out. A drug offense committed during the school year could make you or your child ineligible for government student loans. If the state of Tennessee steps in to prosecute the offense, the penalties could include large fines, time behind bars, or even registration as a sex offender.
Common campus crimes being actively prosecuted in Tennessee include:
- Possession of a fake ID/using false identification
- Underage drinking, public drunkenness or other alcohol-related offenses
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Possession or sale of drugs
- Disorderly conduct
- Burglary or breaking and entering
- Rape, sexual assault or Title IX violations
Allegations are not proof
There is often a wide gap between what is alleged and what actually happened. You have the right to due process and a vigorous defense.
We can help you understand the law and procedure, perform a thorough investigation, help you understand what to expect and all of your options.
Beware of college administrators who may advise you to “leave the lawyers out of it.” They are looking out for the best interest of the college, not your best interest. It is in your interest to have someone on your side who can work to minimize the damage.