Athens Criminal Defense Lawyer Answers Legal Questions for UGA Students
The Law Offices of J. Lee Webb frequently takes on cases for students, or parents of students, from the University of Georgia. Getting into legal trouble can be nerve racking as a student, especially with your education or scholarship hanging on the line, so we have compiled a list of answers to common questions to help you prepare for what's ahead.
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What types of charges will get Office of Student Conduct involved at the UGA?
Answer: Any misconduct that results in an arrest will get flagged by the Student Conduct Office. Anything from Minor in Possession (MIP) to DUI to Shoplifting. Of course, any Felony arrest will have to be dealt with.
Will an arrest keep me from attending graduate school?
Answer: Most applications for post graduate schools will require you to divulge any criminal charge, and that will include any felonies or misdemeanors. For instance, law schools require information on any arrest no matter the outcome. Good schools with good post graduate programs are very competitive. It is much better to inform admissions of an arrest, if the case was reduced or dismissed. After all, you couldn't do anything about being arrested.
Am I still required to abide by the UGA Code of Student Conduct if I live off campus?
Answer: The answer is yes and maybe. There are parts of the Student Conduct Code that deal with dishonesty and other matters that every student, no matter where you live, must follow. As far as from criminal offenses, the answer is maybe. If you live off campus but the conduct that brings rise to the Student Affairs Office occurs on University property or while attending a University event wherever that may be-so if you're at a football game in Tennessee and it's a University of Georgia event and you get arrested for fighting or something, it comes in front of the conduct board-or any other behavior on or off University premises that adversely effects the University or its objectives.
Are graduate students exempt from abiding by the UGA Code of Student Conduct?
Answer: Graduate students are still students and are subject to the Honor Code of Georgia, so they are subject to discipline by the University just like an undergraduate.
Does UGA's Code of Student Conduct differentiate between alcohol-related and drug-related offenses?
Answer: There is some difference made between an alcohol charge and a drug charge in the review process. And this is all broken out in the Code of Conduct. And what they do, the typical example would be a first offense with an alcohol possession charge typically is alcohol awareness classes and six months probation. Whereas a first possession of marijuana charge is 12 months probation instead of six months probation, and they sort of ratchet up from there depending on how many offenses there are.
Does UGA's Office of Student Conduct have the power to suspend a student?
Answer: The Office of Student Conduct brings an allegation; it's the review panel that determines what the sanctions would be. So, if you have an informal resolution, then the Office of Student Conduct is going to set that sanction. If you have a formal resolution, it's the review panel that determines the sanctions. And obviously one of the possible sanctions is suspension or expulsion.
How can an attorney help me if I am charged with violating UGA's Code of Student Conduct?
Answer: An attorney who is familiar with the workings of the Student Conduct Office can offer you advice on the best way to proceed, depending on the facts of your case, of course. Also, an attorney can be present and offer advice at a formal hearing of the review panel.
How will an arrest for a DUI or other criminal offense affect my ability to earn a degree from UGA?
Answer: Obviously, any student's ability to continue attending classes is going to depend on the decision from the Office of Student Conduct and the review panel. If a student is expelled from school or suspended from school for some period of time, that will affect that student's ability to attend class, at least for the near future.
If I am arrested and charged with DUI or another criminal offense outside of the state of Georgia, will the UGA Office of Student Conduct still become involved?
Answer: Most likely not. It's doubtful that the University would find out about an arrest in another state. But if they did find out about it, you would be subject to sanctions.
If I'm arrested for a DUI or other criminal offense and am acquitted of the charge, will UGA's Office of Student Conduct still become involved?
Answer: Yes, they will. A Code of Conduct violation may be brought for any violation of municipal, state or federal law; the proceedings may be heard prior to, simultaneously with or after the criminal case. I will say that an acquittal of the criminal case would help with the judiciary panel.
If I am arrested for DUI or other criminal offense, will UGA find out?
Answer: The answer is maybe. The University will periodically check for recent arrests with various police departments in the county and the University police. They then cross-reference the names they find of people who have been arrested with the names in the student database. If they find a match, then they will know about the arrest. If they don't find an arrest, then they won't know about the arrest; or if they don't check while your arrest is pending, they wouldn't find out.
If I am brought before UGA's Office of Student Conduct, should I have an attorney?
Answer: If you are before the Office of Student Conduct and are having what's called a Formal Adjudication-which means you actually go in front of the review board-then you can have an attorney with you. However, the attorney cannot speak on your behalf at all. You may consult with the attorney before you answer any questions posted by the panel.
Is a DUI a violation of the Code of Student Conduct at UGA?
Answer: A DUI is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct; in fact, any misconduct at all that results in an arrest is a violation of the Code of Conduct. So, aminor in possession of alcohol or marijuana, shoplifting, fights, battery, any of those kind of things and of course any kind of felony-these are all violations, they are all subject to being arrested. And anything that you can be arrested for is one type of violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
Is it legal for students over the age of 21 to drink on the UGA campus?
Answer: People over the age of 21 can drink on campus if they are at a function of some kind where alcohol is being served. If you think about like tailgaters at a football game, they're on campus and they are drinking and they're over 21, but it is a football Saturday. There's absolutely no drinking at all in the dorms, no matter what your age.
What are the potential consequences I could face from UGA's Office of Student Conduct following a DUI or any other criminal arrest?
Answer: If the Office of Student Conduct puts your case on for review and the review panel elects to sanction a student, then the sanctions can be: expulsion from the University, suspension for a period of time, probation, a reprimand; they can give community service, they can ask for restitution. Typically with a first alcohol arrest-maybe a minor in possession of alcohol or even a DUI-you would ask for an informal resolution, which usually results in probation, some community service and some alcohol awareness programs.
What happens if a UGA student is on probation and is charged with another criminal offense?
Answer: It depends on what the criminal offense is. A second violation will likely result in Alcohol and Other Drugs Program-it's a class that the University puts on to make students aware of alcohol and drugs. You would receive additional probation, some community service and most likely a suspension from the University for some amount of time.
What will happen when UGA's Office of Student Conduct becomes involved after an arrest?
Answer: This is a little more complicated. There are going to be two ways to proceed if the Office of Student Conduct becomes involved. First, you will go and meet with the Student Conduct Office. There you will discuss the possibility of being given the option of dealing with the situation informally or formally. If you deal with it informally, that means that you have reached an agreement with the Student Conduct Office of a fair way to dispose of the situation; it usually involves probation, alcohol awareness classes, maybe some community service.
The second way to proceed is with a formal hearing. In a formal hearing, you go before a judiciary panel and contest the allegations. You can have an attorney present; they can give you advice but they can't represent you. You have the right to consult with that attorney before you answer any questions posed to you. You are allowed to call any witnesses that you may want to dispute the allegations. Perhaps most importantly, the arresting officer does not have to be present; the judiciary can rely on a police report alone. So if you wanted to question the arresting officer it would be your job to get him there.
Will I lose my HOPE scholarship after an Athens DUI or other type of criminal arrest?
Answer: The answer is probably. If the University suspends a student for any length of time, financial aid-and that includes the HOPE Scholarship-will be affected. Also, you would lose your tuition; you would lose any residence hall costs or fees. A suspension from the University does not relieve any financial obligation. Also, if the HOPE Scholarship discovers an arrest and the University does not discover the arrest, you would also be subject to losing the HOPE Scholarship.
Will the UGA Office of Student Conduct become involved if I am arrested for DUI or other offense?
Answer: The Office of Student Conduct will be involved if they discover the arrest and then it matches with a name in the student database. If there is a match made, then the Office of Student Conduct automatically becomes involved.
There are two ways to proceed if the Office of Student Conduct becomes involved. First, you will meet with Student Conduct Office. There you will (hopefully) be given the option of dealing with the situation informally or formally. Informally means that you have reached an agreement with the Student Conduct office of a fair way to handle the charge. It usually involves probation and awareness classes.
The second way to proceed is with formal hearing. With a formal hearing, you would go in front of the Judiciary Panel and contest the allegations. You can have an attorney present, but they are not allowed to speak. You have the right to consult with the attorney before you answer questions. You are allowed to call witnesses. The arresting officer does not have to be present, and the Judiciary can rely on police reports alone.
If you still have questions for our Athens criminal defense attorney call (706) 705-5122 today!
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