TCU Disciplinary Hearings: What to do if you are accused of an offense at TCU

 In Criminal

TCU Disciplinary Hearings

Remember how excited you were when you got the admission letter into college? I bet when you thought about the next four years of your life, you never imagined that you might be facing academic career-ending allegations during that time.

What many don’t realize is that when an allegation is made at a private university, traditional due process rights do not exist, and evidence gathered during the hearing process may later be used as evidence against you during the criminal process.

A perfect example might be a student who is accused of possessing marijuana. Under Texas law, to be guilty of possession, the item must be within your “care, custody, and control.” This is generally more than merely being in the same room or house as the contraband. It is certainly more that being in the same room and not knowing marijuana was stored somewhere in the room by another person. However, in TCU’s student handbook being present where drugs are is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Additionally, just because less severe penalties may exist at school, nothing prohibits the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for seeking a criminal penalty against a person who has already been sanctioned by the school for the same conduct.

Common allegations that occur on campus include:

  1. Assault Charges
  2. Minor in Consumption Charges and Minor in Possession Charges
  3. DWI Charges
  4. Criminal Mischief Charges
  5. Criminal Trespass
  6. Drug Possession
  7. Possession of Prohibited Weapons
  8. Theft Charges
  9. Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, including rape or sexual assault
  10. Disorderly Conduct

Tips for Handling an Allegation at TCU

  • Call us. Although the initial report may be made on campus, do not forget the same allegation may also give rise to a criminal charge. Our consultations are confidential and you can call us before you contact your parents. Our attorneys have handled both the on-campus hearings and criminal cases that were alleged to have occurred at TCU.
  • Sign a Waiver Allowing to Release of Information to your attorney. Contact us for a waiver that allows us to obtain all of the information regarding the allegations against you.
  • Do not sign a waiver reducing the standard notification timeline. Time is your ally. We will want to obtain information about the allegations against you and prepare a case in your defense. At TCU you have the right to have written notice of the complaint. If you receive such a notice, contact us immediately at (817) 203-2220. Allegations of sexual misconduct are taken especially seriously and the University attempts to resolve these complaints within 60 days. Because these allegations could eventually lead to a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and lifetime registration as a sex offender, the importance of contacting an attorney quickly cannot be overstated.
  • Do not provide a statement without representation of counsel. It is very important that you have an attorney representing you before you give any statement or draft questions that you want the accuser to answer.
  • Do not waive the right to a formal hearing without talking to your attorney. Our attorneys have represented students at both formal and informal hearings before TCU Discipline Panels. While the accused student has the right to waive the Disciplinary Panel hearing, you should not do so unless you have consulted with an attorney who advises you to do so.
  • Understand that you do not have traditional due process rights in a private university. There will be times where the process seems unfair. It is very important to talk to your attorney about each step of the process. Not only will you want to know how each decision will affect your future academic career, you will want to know how each decision will affect any criminal prosecution against you.

If you’ve been accused of an offense at TCU, contact our attorneys immediately at (817) 203-2220. You can call anytime, day or night. Our attorneys are experienced in handling TCU Disciplinary hearings and either preventing or defending subsequent criminal prosecutions.

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Also published on Medium.

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