College Student Criminal Defense in Cumberland County

No one starts college expecting to get arrested for alleged criminal activity. But maybe a night out at the local bar got too rowdy. Or perhaps a student took a chance and drove around campus intoxicated. Or maybe they got angry and keyed a professor's car. There's no limit to what types of crimes may occur on campus; however, the fact that the alleged crime did occur on campus means the school – alongside the courts – has jurisdiction over it. For students, this could mean facing not only criminal charges and penalties but sanctions at school ranging from probation to expulsion from their program.

We know how serious criminal charges can be at the Lento Law Firm. And we also understand the impact that school sanctions may have on your future. If you're facing school sanctions or criminal charges for alleged on-campus crimes, we are waiting and ready to help in any way we can. Whether you require representation before your school board or in the courtroom, we're by your side, ready to fight this battle on your behalf.

As a promising student, you've come too far to let one mistake derail your entire future. Schedule a meeting with the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team by calling 888.535.3686 now. Alternatively, tell us about your case online,and we will respond promptly.

Criminal Charges and School Discipline in Cumberland County

If you're facing criminal charges in Cumberland County due to on-campus crime, the police have two options. If they're the first to discover the alleged criminal activity, they can either inform the school of a decision to investigate, or they can withhold the information and leave the matter to the courts.

On the other hand, if the school is the first to discover the alleged criminal conduct, they have the discretion to tell law enforcement or keep the matter within the school's own disciplinary system. Should they opt to tell the police, the police will investigate and arrest the student if there's probable cause to do so. Otherwise, they will leave the matter for the school to resolve internally.

Schools may view themselves as having a duty to report suspected criminal activity. This is in line with protecting the public and school community. However, they may also wait for criminal proceedings to end before passing their own judgment. This means that students could be in for an agonizing wait and are likely to face judgment twice.

Consequences of Criminal Charges and School Disciplinary Action

For students arrested for on-campus crimes, it's common to have concerns about what the charges will mean for their future. After all, some criminal charges will result in a permanent record. They could also lead to jail time and reduced future employment or career progression opportunities. And in other cases, the student's day-to-day life is adversely affected. For example, say a student has a restraining order issued against them. This court-issued order could prevent them from attending class, going to a weekend job, or even socializing with friends.

Other consequences associated with criminal charges include:

  • Driving license suspension/revocation
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Drug/substance abuse rehabilitation programs
  • Financial penalties

What many students fail to remember, though, is just how serious school-related disciplinary charges can be. These penalties cannot be overlooked because, in some cases, they can outweigh the criminal consequences in the long term.

For example, if a school decides to suspend or expel a student for on-campus crimes, the decision leaves a mark on the student's permanent record. Not only may they be unable to complete the program, but they could struggle to find acceptance elsewhere. They may also face challenges entering grad school, securing scholarships, or finding suitable employment. As a result, the student may have significant debt without the means to pay it. From a personal perspective, students may feel isolated, stigmatized, or embarrassed as their peers move on while they fall behind.

It's common for students to face criminal charges and school disciplinary action simultaneously. The result can be grave. Contact the Lento Law Firm Team immediately for support if you're dealing with school sanctions alongside possible criminal prosecution.

On-Campus Crimes in Cumberland County

College campuses can seem insular and far removed from life elsewhere. However, the same types of crimes we see committed off-campus occur on campus, too. The most common crimes on Cumberland County school campuses include the following.

Alcohol and Tobacco Use

In NJ, under-21s may not legally buy, use, or possess tobacco or alcohol-related products. This includes electronic tobacco devices. Equally, over-21s may not buy these products to give to minors, or else they are also guilty of a crime in NJ.

Criminal Mischief

It's an offense to tamper with or destroy someone else's property. Criminal mischief is, then, essentially what is considered vandalism. And although it's not uncommon on college campuses, criminal mischief can lead to serious consequences if schools decide to make examples of students.

Disorderly Conduct

We can think of disorderly conduct as a “catch-all” term for any behavior that disrupts the public or puts the community at risk. It includes, for example, causing a fight or public brawl.

Drug-Related Offenses

It'll come as no surprise that drugs are common on college campuses. However, possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs – or even prescription medication – is potentially very serious. Penalties vary depending on, for example:

  • The drug classification
  • Whether there's intent to distribute
  • Quantity of drugs the student possesses

Given how serious drug charges can be, affected students should call the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team without delay.

Falsified Identity

False identification means impersonating others or making false or misleading representations about a person's identity. We might consider certain online activities, such as catfishing, as false identification. This category can also include very serious offenses, such as identity theft for fraudulent and otherwise nefarious purposes.


In NJ, it's illegal to harass someone. The definition is broad, but harassment typically involves deliberately alarming or disturbing someone. And stalking is a “course of conduct” that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Both cyberstalking and in-person stalking can result in serious penalties.


It's a potentially serious offense to partake in “hazing” or initiation rites for fraternities and sororities. These activities are loosely defined, but they involve shaming, embarrassing, and harassing pledges.

Sexual Crimes

Sex crimes, or crimes with a sexual element, vary greatly in severity. They can range from exposure to aggravated rape and serious sexual assault. In all cases, there's a possibility that those found guilty may be required to register as sex offenders, which can severely impact future employment, academic, and even personal opportunities.

Criminal Procedures in Cumberland County, NJ

Although NJ criminal procedures can be complex and vary slightly by county, they do follow a certain format. This allows for consistency in applying criminal law across the state. The main procedures students should know about are as follows.

  • Pretrial Stage: Pretrial procedures vary depending on the crime alleged. For example, they may involve bail hearings and arraignments. Our attorneys can explain what pretrial procedures may apply, depending on the case.
  • Burden of Proof: The prosecution must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the incident occurred as described and that the defendant should be found guilty of the charges. Should the prosecution fail to meet this requirement, the defendant should be found not guilty.
  • Motion to Dismiss: If appropriate, a defense attorney may recommend filing a motion to dismiss. This can be filed if there's very little evidence to support the prosecution's case. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can advise if such a motion is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
  • Criminal Trial: Criminal trials are formal – and sometimes daunting – court appearances. The student and their attorney will present a defense, call witnesses, examine evidence, and attempt to plant seeds of doubt in the prosecution's case.
  • Sentencing Hearing: If a student is found guilty of a crime committed on campus, they will attend a further hearing to discover their sentence.

Individuals normally have appeal rights against a criminal verdict and the associated sentence in NJ. Appeals must be handled with care – call the Lento Law Firm Team for representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Cumberland County School Disciplinary Procedures

Every school is unique, and so every set of disciplinary procedures has some variance. Students can find the exact disciplinary procedure by reading through the school Code of Conduct and Handbook. However, overall, schools typically follow the same pattern of disciplinary procedures.

  • The Initial Complaint: Every procedure starts with the initial complaint made by either a student, police officer, faculty member, or other party. The school then appoints a hearing officer or panel, to investigate the matter further.
  • School Investigation: Initial investigations involve assessing the complaint and the available evidence. The school can then decide whether they'll pursue the matter or leave the incident with law enforcement.
  • Pre-Hearing Conference: The pre-hearing conference immediately follows the conclusion of initial investigations. It's a student's first opportunity to challenge the case against them. It's not uncommon for schools to propose less severe disciplinary sanctions at this stage to dispense with the need for a full hearing. However, students should remember that accepting these sanctions means admitting guilt for the alleged crime. This may not be in a student's best interests. Our attorneys should be consulted before agreeing to any sanctions which may have long-term implications.
  • Disciplinary Hearing: A disciplinary hearing is a student's opportunity to present their case. It lacks the same formalities as a criminal court hearing, but it must still be taken seriously as it does carry possibly severe consequences. The Lento Law Firm Team can assist with building a strong case, including the cross-examination of witnesses and presenting evidence.
  • Hearing Officer Decision: Following the hearing, the school officials or the hearing officer must reach a conclusion. They will issue their decision, including what sanctions will apply, in writing. This notice should also provide some insight into how the school reached its decision and how students can start the appeals process.
  • Appeal Procedure: Unless a sanction is very minor, such as a verbal warning, students normally always have a right to appeal disciplinary action. They will, however, require grounds to make an appeal, e.g., that the school erred in law or fact or didn't consider all the evidence. Every school has its own particulars – our attorneys can help navigate the appeals process with confidence.

Retain Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Cumberland County, NJ

For any college student, hiring an attorney can seem like a big step. However, if you're facing criminal charges or school disciplinary action, the possible repercussions are too serious to handle alone. And although no outcome is ever guaranteed, hiring an experienced attorney will ensure you stand the best chance at mitigating the sanctions against you.

This is where the Lento Law Firm can help. Our experienced lawyers represent students across the US who are facing – sometimes highly complex – criminal charges and related school sanctions. Not only do we know how to negotiate with school disciplinary boards, but we understand how to build the most compelling defense to criminal charges. We're here to ensure every student has the chance to tell their side of the story and defend themselves effectively. And we won't rest until we do everything possible to protect your legal rights – and your professional and academic future.

There's no reason for you to face these accusations. You need and deserve effective legal representation to help you overcome this challenging time. Whatever happened, know that the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is ready to stand by you. We're on your side. To discuss representation, call now at 888.535.3686 or reach us via the online contact form.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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