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As a Virginia student defense lawyer, I know all too well how student disciplinary hearings can have very important consequences. Indeed, a college education is perhaps one of the most important investments a person can possibly make. Yet, despite the potentially severe consequences associated with a suspension or expulsion from college, many schools utterly fail to provide students with adequate (or any) procedural safeguards. Accordingly, anyone facing suspension or expulsion should not attend their student disciplinary hearing without an experienced and highly skilled Virginia student defense lawyer by their side.



You are probably asking yourself “What can a Virginia student defense lawyer do for me when the odds are so heavily stacked in the school’s favor?” Well, that is a great question, and I provide the answer to that question on this page. You see, there are all types of incidents which can give rise to a student disciplinary hearing, but on this page, I discuss the incidents which I have found to be most common, as well as how your Virginia student defense lawyer can skillfully assist in assuring that you obtain the best possible outcome.

When you cut out all the fluff, the way to obtain the best outcome possible in student disciplinary matters is to spin your side of the situation in a light which will demonstrate that you either are being wrongfully accused, or that you are taking responsibility for your actions. If you read my Attorney Profile, you will notice that before I became a criminal defense attorney, I not only worked in the entertainment industry for many years, but I also served as the head of public relations for parties involved in high profile lawsuits. Crafting precise and carefully worded statements was my job, and I have done a pretty damn good job up to now.

With school disciplinary hearings, the job is no different: If you have done something wrong, owning up to it, apologizing, and demonstrating a deep insight into why you acted improperly will reveal your true character. And while everybody makes mistakes, only those with the highest levels of character and maturity are capable of taking responsibility for their actions, admitting their mistake, and throwing themselves at the mercy of the people with the power to impose punishment. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, our job is not simply to get you out of trouble, but to help you understand why you may have made a mistake, and to help you take responsibility for that mistake. By helping you articulate your remorse in an insightful manner, you will not elicit the anger or contempt of administrators. Instead, you will elicit their sympathy and admiration.

Before you attend any student disciplinary hearing, call the Law Offices of Randall Sousa for a free consultation with an aggressive, affordable, and highly skilled Virginia student defense lawyer. We know how bright your future is and we are here to protect that future. 571-354-6164

How Do Student Disciplinary Hearings Work?

Virginia university disciplinary hearing attorneyIn most cases, your Virginia student defense lawyer will be permitted to accompany you to your disciplinary hearing, but they are not allowed to present the client’s case. However, they can advise their client about all of the rules and procedures set forth in the Student Handbook and insist that the school follow those procedures.

It is not uncommon for a student disciplinary hearing to overlap with criminal investigations (rape, assault and battery, possession of drugsmarijuana, or alcohol, etc.). On the other hand, these hearings might involve purely academic-related matters (i.e. cheating). As a point of emphasis, even when a student disciplinary hearing is called as a result of events which could also form the basis for criminal charges, the courts and the school will have different objectives, different standards of proof, and different procedures. Consequently, evidence which might not be sufficient to justify the filing of criminal charges may still provide a sufficient basis for the school to initiate disciplinary proceedings. Contrarily, there may be enough evidence to justify the filing of criminal charges, but such evidence does not cause the school to institute disciplinary proceedings. Generally, these are crimes such as DUI or assault and battery which take place off campus.

Whatever the case may be, having a knowledgeable, experienced, and persuasive Virginia student defense lawyer by your side for both criminal and student disciplinary proceedings is an extraordinarily important step towards assuring the best outcome possible. Additionally, because each institution is governed by its own student handbook, some students may find that they have fewer rights and protections than students at other schools. This difference is most notable when comparing procedures afforded to students at public and private schools.


Differences Between Private and Public School Hearings

When it comes to student disciplinary hearings, there is a marked difference in procedure between public and private institutions. With public schools, the school must provide the student with constitutional due process protections and may only expel the student for cause. If the public school violates these constitutional requirements, then your Virginia student defense lawyer can file a civil rights lawsuit against the school. With private schools, on the other hand, the student can be expelled for any reason – so long as the expulsion was not “arbitrary and capricious.” Generally, as long as a private school follows the procedures in its handbook, a court will not view its actions as arbitrary and capricious.

If a student chooses to sue a private school, it is much more difficult to prevail than it would be in a case against a public school. When suing a private school, the student must allege that the school breached a contract – the student handbook – but proving that the breach was “arbitrary and capricious” is a nearly insurmountable hurdle without compelling evidence. However, when it comes to private school cases, the sooner you hire a Virginia student defense lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can contact the school and begin negotiating a way out of the situation so that you suffer the fewest negative consequences possible.



 Institutions of higher learning take stalking very seriously. That being said, there are two very effective ways that your Virginia student defense lawyer can help. First and foremost, we must briefly discuss the context of stalking allegations. Generally, these allegations are made by a woman against a man. But, in my experience as both a Virginia student defense lawyer and in my own personal life, I have never seen a student accused of stalking who actually posed any legitimate threat.

Speaking as an adult, I understand how a young man’s infatuation or unrequited love for a woman can sometimes be viewed as stalking. Indeed, stalking behavior is generally a product of youthful exuberance and ignorance. Yet, this is precisely why it can be forgiven so long as (1) the student is willing to acknowledge their actions and how those actions scared another person; (2) apologize to the other student and demonstrate insight into the cause of their behavior and the steps they are taking to ensure it does not happen again; and (3) stay away from the student for the remainder of their time at the school.

Another way a Virginia student defense lawyer can help is when the school is resolute on expelling the student. You see, when you hire a Fairfax student defense lawyer, they may very well be able to convince the administration to allow you to voluntarily withdraw from the school without any record of discipline. This may happen even before you are scheduled to appear at a student disciplinary hearing. And while the student may lose one or two semesters in the process, they will eventually be able to enroll at another institution without any record of discipline following them around. A mistake or misstep by a student should not follow that young person around for the rest of their life.

Sexual Assault Disciplinary Hearings

Colleges and universities have aggressively sought to combat the alarming trend of campus rapes and sexual assault. In fact, it is considered the school’s legal duty to protect students from rape and other sexually assaultive conduct. Yet, as a Virginia student defense lawyer, I know all too well how the effort to combat these assaults has come at the expense of the accused’s rights. If you or someone you love has been accused of any sex crime by a college or university, it is imperative that you retain a Virginia student defense lawyer with the knowledge and skill to lead an investigation and expose false allegations prior to you even attending your student disciplinary hearing.


Academic Dishonesty

Even though it is not criminal in nature, cheating can be an extremely serious violation of a school’s honor code and it is generally viewed as sufficient grounds for expulsion. Nevertheless, cheating, plagiarism, and other types of academic dishonesty can be forgiven if the student is willing to accept responsibility for their actions, apologize, and devise a way for them to show the school that they are sorry. With a Virginia student defense lawyer at your side, we will work together to come up with the very best possible way to explain and take responsibility for your actions. More often than not, a school will be open to forgiving the student for this sort of transgression. But you must be able to articulate your remorse,  as well as the steps you plan to take in order to earn back the school’s trust.

Theft and Property Crimes

Stealing or vandalizing school property or property that belongs to another student is always grounds for school discipline. Stealing a laptop, egging/keying a car, or destroying/defacing school property will all likely result in harsh and aggressive punishment by school administrators. Consequently, it is vital that you retain an aggressive, knowledgeable, and affordable Virginia student defense lawyer to help represent your interests.

Irrespective of whether the proceeding involves a student disciplinary hearing or criminal charges, it is imperative that you have a Virginia student defense lawyer by your side to fight for you. Many times, the matter can be resolved without the student being expelled so long as they are willing to reimburse the school or student for the destruction or theft of property.

Drugs and Alcohol

Many years ago, students would be summarily expelled from school for possessing or using drugs or alcohol. In recent years, however, society has achieved a much greater understanding of substance abuse and addiction issues. Your Virginia student defense lawyer will be able to help you enroll in outpatient rehab, AA or NA meetings, and find you additional forms of counseling or treatment.

Sales or possession with intent to distribute charges are much more difficult to defend and are treated much more seriously than simple possession charges. If you are facing criminal charges for the possession or sale of drugs or marijuana, see our Fairfax Drug Lawyer page and Fairfax Marijuana Lawyer page. Whether it be disciplinary charges, criminal charges, or both, you will want an aggressive and affordable Virginia student defense lawyer by your side. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we can help you with any your student disciplinary hearing and much more. Call us today for a free consultation for a free consultation with a Virginia student defense lawyer.


Fighting, Threats, or Violence

When a student fights, threatens, or attacks another students on school property, or is found in possession of weapons on school property, they will most likely face disciplinary action by the school. Again, a student disciplinary hearing may overlap with criminal proceedings. When these unfortunate circumstances arise, you will want a knowledgeable, aggressive, and affordable Virginia student defense lawyer on your side with the ability to handle potential investigations, evidence, and negotiations with school officials and prosecutors.

Passionate & Personal Service


The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with aggressive, affordable, and highly skilled legal services. Call now to speak with a Virginia student defense lawyer.

Virginia student defense lawyer Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.

Virginia Student Defense Lawyer Randall Sousa






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Phone: 571-354-6164
Secondary phone: 703-651-2606
Email: randallsousa@idefendva.com

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