College campus life brings situations where crimes may be alleged, especially when it comes to sexual misconduct. When a person is charged with a campus crime, it could have significant consequences. A campus crime could also adversely affect a student's standing with the school. If you have been accused of a campus crime, it’s essential to speak with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and future.
What are Some Common Campus Crimes?
There are several crimes that arise on college campuses that commonly lead to sexual misconduct allegations.
These include the following:
With fraternities, sororities, college clubs, and other organizations, there are often initiation events that could rise to the level of hazing accusations. In Texas, hazing could result in criminal charges if it endangers a person. A conviction could result in the imposition of fines, jail time, community service, and probation.
It’s also very common for individuals who have been hazed to file sex crimes against the sorority, fraternity, or students that hazed them, as an attempt to “get back” at them for their acts.
Although the allegations are false, it takes strong supporting evidence to convince law enforcement officers that the sorority, fraternity, or student is, in fact, innocent.
If you are accused of hazing, then it is important to be aware of defenses that may be available. For example, if the alleged victim consented to the activity, then the acts may not be punishable. Further, there must be evidence that the conducts fit the elements of the criminal statute. An attorney can review your case to identify any possible defenses.
2. Drug and Alcohol Crimes
Because college is a time where many young people experiment and try to find themselves, drug and alcohol crimes frequently arise. These crimes can range from unlawful possession, trafficking, and crimes related to being under the influence. Drug and alcohol crimes can have serious consequences, so they should not be treated lightly.
A conviction for a drug or alcohol crime could carry fines including:
- Court-mandated treatment and testing
- Community service
- License suspension
Because drug and alcohol crimes involve illegal substances, the prosecution must have evidence to prove that the substance is illegal. If the police failed to follow proper procedures in identifying and obtaining the substance, then there may be defenses available.
3. Dating Violence and Sexual Assault
College students are regularly accused of dating violence and sexual assault. However, it’s important to note that these allegations are often false.
There are many reasons for individuals to file false claims against the person they’re dating, some of the most common includes:
- To “get even” - It’s common for individuals who have been cheated on to try to “even the score” by filing sexual assault or rape claims against their ex.
- To tarnish their name - Another common reason that individuals file false sex crime claims is in an attempt to tarnish their ex’s name. This is commonly seen following a break-up.
If convicted of such a crime, it could have significant consequences. Depending upon the crime alleged, there could be misdemeanor or felony charges with the possibility of prison time.
These types of accusations frequently involve factors that negate the guilt of the person accused. It is important to identify these factors and other possible defenses and speak with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney.
What Other Consequences Could a Campus Crime Bring?
In addition to the possible fines and jail time associated with a criminal offense, a campus crime could result in disciplinary action from the school, such as suspension or expulsion. Students on scholarships could risk losing their financial aid.
A criminal conviction could result in being trespassed from the university grounds. There could also be a loss of certain civil rights. Because of the potential for significant consequences, you should contact a criminal defense attorney if you are accused of a campus crime.
How Can Our Team Help?
An attorney can provide legal representation throughout all phases of your case, including the period of time when the case is being investigated. An attorney can provide you with legal advice about how to respond to the allegations and what course of action to pursue.
If you are arrested or charged, an attorney will review the evidence and determine if there are any defenses available or other circumstances that would justify a dismissal or reduction of the charges. An attorney will help ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and will take the appropriate action if there has been a violation of your rights.
Campus crimes are serious and could have life-changing consequences. If you are accused of a campus crime, contact our team today (713) 597-2221 to learn more about how we can help protect your rights.