Perhaps you felt your child made the right decision in choosing to attend the University of Maryland in the pursuit of a college degree. You sent your student off to school with the expectation that he or she would study hard and make you proud.
Then, you got one of the phone calls that every parent dreads. Either campus police or another law enforcement agency arrested your child for DUI, drug possession, shoplifting or some other offense common to college students. You probably already know that a criminal conviction would seriously jeopardize his or her future, but did you know that your child's future could also hinge on an administrative process at the university?
Violations of the 'Student Code of Conduct'
UM expects its students to adhere to a code of conduct. In many cases, the university may consider an arrest a violation of the school's "Student Code of Conduct." This means that your student may also need to get through this process while also dealing with the criminal charges. Depending on the charges and circumstances, your child could face expulsion from classes and/or housing.
The administrative process shouldn't be taken lightly, and resolving the issue could mean the difference between continuing school and not. The problem is that UM's process encourages discussion of the violation, which may also be the basis of the criminal charges. Any statements made could affect criminal court proceedings, so having the right advice and guidance is crucial.
The preliminary interview
Most disciplinary cases regarding possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct begin with a preliminary interview. A staff member explains the process and reviews the allegations. If your student does not receive either a dismissal or informal resolution to the allegations during this meeting, a hearing or conference is scheduled.
Because there may not be any resolution at this point and this interview is considered preliminary, many people make the mistake of attending these interviews without first discussing it with the legal counsel handling the criminal charges. This could be a costly mistake, especially if expulsion is not on the table, but a conviction is in the criminal case.
Finding the right support
Not every attorney deals with both the criminal and UM administrative proceedings for college students. It might be beneficial to consult with an attorney who is familiar with both and understands how to maintain your child's rights in the criminal proceedings while helping them through the disciplinary process at UM.