College Student Criminal Defense in New Jersey

New Jersey College Campus Crime

Crime is a modern fact of life, including for New Jersey college and university students. Crimes can happen anywhere, on or off New Jersey college and university campuses. But New Jersey colleges and universities take special interest in detecting, discouraging, and punishing crimes. Schools must punish crimes on campus because of public law safe community mandates. Schools also punish crimes on campus out of their contractual and moral obligations to students and to protect their reputational interests. New Jersey colleges and universities certainly have the personnel to detect crime, including not only instructors, teaching and research assistants, resident assistants, and custodial and maintenance staff, but also their own police forces or private security services. New Jersey colleges and universities also use surveillance cameras and security systems to detect crime. In short, you likely stand a much greater chance of facing charges for certain crimes on a New Jersey college or university campus than you do for the same misconduct occurring off campus.

New Jersey Criminal Charges and School Discipline

You are right if you think that public prosecutors rather than school officials bear the primary responsibility for charging crimes in New Jersey. Prosecutors file criminal charges in public criminal courts having nothing directly to do with college or university procedures. But don't overlook that crimes occurring on New Jersey college or university campuses can result in school disciplinary charges in addition to the public criminal court proceeding. Indeed, crimes occurring in college or university activities off campus and off-campus crimes endangering the campus community can also result in school disciplinary proceedings. You could face two proceedings, one within the school and one outside the school, for the same misbehavior. Pay proper attention to both risks and proceedings. Retain premier New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the skills and experience you need for winning representation in both proceedings.

Consequences of Criminal Charges and School Discipline

The consequences of New Jersey criminal charges and college or university discipline are certainly different. But don't make the mistake of assuming that criminal charges always bear greater consequences than school discipline. For many New Jersey students facing both criminal charges and school discipline, school discipline brings greater consequences. Criminal charges can result in fines and incarceration. Criminal charges can also have collateral consequences affecting jobs, licenses, and careers. College or university discipline does not generally include any risk of jail time or even fines. But school discipline can certainly affect your college or university education, resulting in your suspension or dismissal. Discipline can also prevent your transfer or admission to other programs or schools. School dismissal can also accelerate your student loans and cause you to lose your housing, transportation, medical care, job, career, and relationships. Don't underestimate the costs and risks of either criminal charges or school discipline. Retain premier New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the best outcome of both proceedings.

New Jersey Campus Crimes

The same New Jersey criminal code that applies off campus also applies on campus. New Jersey college and university students don't gain any immunity from those criminal laws while on campus. Your conduct on campus can result in criminal charges in the criminal courts in an off-campus proceeding. Below are some of the most common New Jersey crimes likely to occur on a New Jersey college or university campus. Remember that while prosecutors may charge these crimes, requiring your criminal defense to those charges, your New Jersey college or university may also pursue school disciplinary charges against you, requiring your school discipline defense against those charges.

New Jersey Underage Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse

New Jersey Statute 2C:33-15 makes it a crime for a person under the age of twenty-one to buy, possess, or drink alcoholic beverages, what the law commonly calls minor in possession of alcohol or an “MIP.” Minor in possession is among the most common crimes with which local authorities are likely to criminally charge a New Jersey college or university student.

New Jersey Criminal Mischief

New Jersey Statute 2C:17-3 makes it a crime to commit criminal mischief, what the public would generally call “vandalism.” Restitution, meaning the cost of repairing the vandalism, is a common penalty for criminal mischief. Yet New Jersey graffiti offenses require at least twenty days of community service, including any other fines, restitution, or jail time. And while simple criminal mischief may carry relatively modest penalties, higher degrees of criminal mischief, like damaging a research facility, can result in years of imprisonment and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. New Jersey colleges and universities will encourage local authorities to charge students with criminal mischief crimes while also pursuing school discipline.

New Jersey Disorderly Persons Offenses

New Jersey Statute 2C:33-2 criminalizes disorderly conduct, including both improper behavior like fighting and offensive communication like threats. Screaming, yelling at someone, making loud noises, pushing or shoving another, or throwing or breaking things can result in disorderly person charges. Offenses can result in thirty days in jail and a $500 fine. New Jersey colleges and universities value their peace and order. They will support local authorities who charge students with disorderly persons crime.

New Jersey Drug Offenses

New Jersey drug offenses rely, like offenses in other states, on federal controlled substances schedules. Depending on the drug's federal schedule, the drug's quantity, whether the defendant intends to distribute the drug, and other particulars of the charged crime, offenses can bring penalties of several years in prison and fines up to $25,000. While officials may not routinely enforce marijuana possession laws, penalties can still be stiff, like eighteen months in jail and a fine of up to $15,000, for possession of larger quantities. New Jersey colleges and universities will take drug possession and distribution seriously on campus, encouraging local authorities to charge drug crimes.

New Jersey Harassment and Hazing Offenses

New Jersey law also criminalizes harassment, generally defined as a course of alarming or annoying conduct, and hazing, endangering another during the course of fraternity or sorority initiation rites. New Jersey Statute 2C:33-4.1 also criminalizes cyber harassment, threatening another, or sending or requesting lewd or indecent materials using a computer or other electronic device. New Jersey colleges and universities will protect students and other members of the academic community against harassment crimes, supporting local authorities charging those crimes.

New Jersey Sex Crimes

New Jersey law also criminalizes a variety of sex crimes, including rape, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, and indecent exposure. Conviction of a New Jersey sex crime can result not only in incarceration for years but also registration in the sex registry and related restricted rights after release. Title IX requires New Jersey colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prevent and punish certain forms of sexual misconduct. New Jersey colleges and universities will pursue school discipline when local authorities charge students with sex crimes.

New Jersey Stalking Crime

New Jersey law also criminalizes stalking, defined as repeated attempts to follow a person, keep a person in view, communicate with a person, interfere with a person's property, or harass a person intending to place them in fear for their safety or the safety of another. New Jersey colleges and universities will protect members of the academic community from stalking crimes, pursuing school discipline, and supporting local authorities who charge students with those crimes.

New Jersey False Identification Offenses

New Jersey Statute 2C:21-17 also criminalizes false identification crimes, including impersonating another, making a false statement about one's identity, and identity theft. New Jersey colleges and universities have special concerns over student identity and will thus pursue school discipline when local authorities charge students with identity crimes.

New Jersey Criminal Procedures

Your best move when criminally charged with a New Jersey campus crime is to retain premier New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento. Attorney Lento has the substantial skill and experience to invoke New Jersey's protective criminal procedures for a winning defense of the criminal charges. The prosecution must generally prove New Jersey criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That very high proof burden ensures ample opportunity to challenge the prosecution's evidence. But at the same time, the prosecution's high proof burden generally means that your college or university will construe your criminal conviction as grounds for school discipline without further protective procedures. You must, in other words, generally beat the criminal charge to avoid giving your college or university automatic grounds for related school discipline. Retain attorney Lento to invoke the following New Jersey criminal procedures for your winning defense representation.

New Jersey Pretrial Procedures

Criminal charges don't go straight to trial. Instead, New Jersey's criminal courts generally allow the defense weeks or months of pretrial procedures to ensure that the police and prosecution disclose exonerating evidence, have admissible evidence supporting each element of the criminal charge, and haven't violated the defendant's constitutional rights. New Jersey pretrial procedures include arraignment notifying the defendant of the charges, ensuring the defendant's release on just terms, and ensuring the defendant the right to retain skilled defense counsel. Your retained criminal defense attorney may test whether the prosecution has evidence supporting the charge at a preliminary examination. Your retained defense attorney may also move to dismiss charges that the prosecution cannot support with admissible evidence, especially if the policy or prosecution has violated the defendant's constitutional rights. Pretrial procedures also give your retained attorney the opportunity to negotiate dismissal, diversion, or plea bargain.

New Jersey Trial Procedures

New Jersey trials ensure the defendant the right to an impartial jury of one's peers. Your retained criminal defense attorney may also cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses, move to dismiss unsupported charges, and present the defendant's own witnesses and other exonerating and mitigating evidence. New Jersey procedures also permit post-trial motions for relief and appeals of adverse decisions. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's criminal defense team can ensure the best use of these procedures for the best possible outcome to criminal charges. Remember to treat criminal charges seriously because of the impact of their outcome on your school's disciplinary defense.

New Jersey School Disciplinary Procedures

When police and prosecutors are pursuing criminal court charges, college or university disciplinary officials may await the outcome of those charges before continuing and completing school disciplinary proceedings. School disciplinary officials may take interim actions to protect the academic community, such as suspending the student whose criminal charges indicate they may be a threat to the academic community. Title IX sexual misconduct charges can especially warrant protecting the putative victim with interim no-contact or no-campus-access orders. But generally, a criminal proceeding takes precedence over a school proceeding. Yet whether the criminal charges result in a conviction, dismissal, or other disposition, school officials may proceed on their own as they see fit. School discipline, though, generally requires New Jersey colleges and universities to follow protective procedures. Those school procedures will not usually be nearly as comprehensive as criminal court procedures. But school procedures can provide helpful protections for your retained school discipline defense attorney to invoke on your behalf. New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of students successfully invoke the following school procedures to avoid school discipline.

College or University Investigations

New Jersey colleges and universities generally maintain student conduct offices and appoint student disciplinary officials to investigate complaints of student misconduct. Investigation usually includes interviewing the victim and other witnesses, gathering evidence, including documents and electronically stored information, and interviewing the accused student. The investigator or another school official may then attempt to informally resolve the matter, often by encouraging the accused student to admit to the charges so that the school can impose discipline without further proceedings. Do not admit to misconduct you did not commit. Instead, retain attorney Lento to ensure you know the charges and evidence against you and to advise and assist you during the investigation and informal resolution procedure. Attorney Lento has helped many students avoid discipline and obtain dismissal of all charges during the investigation stage.

College or University Formal Hearing

New Jersey colleges and universities generally offer due process in the form of a hearing before imposing substantial discipline like suspension or dismissal. Formal hearings generally occur before an impartial and disinterested decision maker or panel. Your college or university disciplinary officials should present evidence at the hearing, giving you and your retained attorney the opportunity to challenge that evidence, including, in some cases, to cross-examine adverse witnesses. School disciplinary procedures routinely offer appeals to students who suffer adverse findings at the formal hearing. Retain skilled and experienced school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to assist you at any formal hearing or for any appeal. And don't give up if you have exhausted all appeals and still face discipline. Attorney Lento has helped many students gain special alternative relief through school oversight channels.

Premier New Jersey School and Criminal Defense Attorney

New Jersey attorney Joseph D. Lento combines preeminent New Jersey criminal defense skills and experience with premier skills and abundant experience in college and university discipline defense. Retain the attorney you need to preserve your New Jersey college or university education. Preserve and protect your future. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm's New Jersey criminal defense team. Don't delay. Attorney Lento's premier New Jersey criminal defense representation is available.

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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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