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Accused Student Defense

Defending Accused Students at Colleges & Universities

If you or a loved one is facing allegations of sexual misconduct, academic dishonesty, or student discipline on campus, we can help. At Hacker Murphy, we regularly represent college students in Title IX and other disciplinary proceedings at colleges and universities throughout Upstate New York and beyond.

When young people go off to college or university, it is a time of new-found freedom, exploration and nearly unbounded opportunities. Students are not only working to attain an education, but to expand their social world and to meet new people and to make new friends.

Sometimes, with this sudden new freedom, mistakes can happen.

Sometimes students are falsely accused because the accuser may regret an encounter with another student or the accuser may have a personal agenda. Other times students are wrongly accused as a result of a bureaucratic failure by the school. No matter how an allegation arises, when a young person’s future is on the line, such allegations should not be taken lightly. At Hacker Murphy, we believe that regardless of where an accusation came from, no allegation against a student should ever ruin the rest of that student’s life. Tragically, being found responsible in a college disciplinary matter can have long-lasting or even permanent implications for a student’s educational and professional life.

In Title IX campus sexual misconduct cases, a negative determination will result in a permanent notation on a student’s transcript, signaling to all, including future employers and graduate schools, that the student is a sexual abuser. Findings of academic dishonesty or student misconduct, even if not appearing on a transcript, can haunt a student who would like to go on to pursue an advanced degree or professional license.

Whether a student is facing suspension, expulsion, or even the possibility of criminal charges as the result of allegations at his or her school, at Hacker Murphy we aggressively defend students and seek to eliminate or minimize the potential consequences of the college disciplinary process. 

Contact us today at (518) 284-3183 to learn more about your legal options.

Experience in College and University Disciplinary Matters

Each college and university has its own rules governing disciplinary matters. These rules vary slightly from one institution to the next, but they all generally revolve around the same three phases. These are: an investigation, a hearing, and an appeal.

In each of these phases, it is critical for the student to be as prepared and as proactive as possible. Each phase requires a particular strategy, and the factors affecting the student’s decision-making will vary from point to point throughout the process, while also taking into consideration the severity of the accusations and the unique circumstances involved.

Sometimes students make a mistake, leading to a disciplinary action by the college or university. But we have found that in many cases, the “mistake” is not a mistake by our client, the accused student. We have found that, in many cases, the “mistake” is a false or unjust accusation lodged against our clients.

At Hacker Murphy, we regularly represent students in all phases of the academic disciplinary process, and we are often able to negotiate favorable outcomes that avoid the need for a formal hearing. In cases where a hearing is necessary, we provide thorough, vigorous representation throughout the process; and, if a hearing results in an adverse decision, we assist with the formal appeals process, as well.

The types of college and university disciplinary matters that we handle include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic dishonesty
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Criminal mischief
  • Dating violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Threats
  • Trespassing
  • Using drugs or alcohol on campus

Effective Advocates for Sexual Misconduct Allegations under Title IX

Increasingly, colleges and universities are employing Title IX officers to pursue disciplinary cases against students who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Title IX cases are different from other types of academic disciplinary matters because the nature of the allegations are often extremely sensitive for all parties involved.

In fact, in many cases, academic proceedings under Title IX will run in parallel with a civil lawsuit, criminal prosecution, or both. Civil and criminal proceedings involving allegations of sexual misconduct can have life-altering – and potentially lifelong – consequences, and any institutional disciplinary matters must be approached with these possibilities in mind. For example, statements made during a disciplinary investigation or hearing may be admissible as evidence in related civil or criminal litigation, and students accused of sexual misconduct must be extremely cautious to avoid making mistakes that could have implications well beyond the bounds of campus.

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Have Questions?

We Have Answers!
  • If I hire an attorney but do not want to go to trial, can I settle?
    In the course of preparing a case for trial, your personal injury attorney will work with the defense attorneys and insurance companies in an effort to secure a fair settlement for you and your family. The final decision to accept an offer of settlement or go to trial is yours alone to make.
    Contact us now to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.
  • If arrested, what steps can I take on my behalf?

    1. Do not discuss your situation with anyone except your attorney.

    2. Unless your attorney says otherwise, do not discuss your case with law enforcement.

    3. Request to have your attorney present if you are to be put in a lineup or subjected to testing.

    4. Remain calm and courteous. Allow your attorney to speak for you to ensure that your rights are protected and you are given all the benefits afforded to you under the law.
    Contact us now to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.

  • What is the difference between criminal procedure and civil procedure?
    When a crime has been committed, action is taken by a government agency against the person, persons, organization or other entity that violated the law. The first purpose of a criminal prosecution is punishment, which frequently consists of a fine or jail time. In a civil matter, the dispute is between two or more individuals or entities. The first purpose of a civil prosecution is obtaining compensation for the wronged person or entity. Settlement in a civil matter is generally an award of a money judgment. A criminal sentence is not imposed in a civil matter.
    Contact us now to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.

Our Satisfied Clients

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  • “5 stars is not enough”
    As an attorney who has practiced in the personal injury field, on both sides for 25 years, I can honestly say that the representation provided by the law firm Jones Hacker in general and by John Harwick, Esq in particular is first rate. They fight hard for their clients and make sure the client is up to date on what is going on in the case. I feel comfortable referring family and friends to this law firm and know that they will get top dollar for any injury case. 5 stars is not enough in this case!
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  • “I can't thank this team enough. I am extremely satisfied with the service that I received from John F. Harwick, Esq.”
    “He always returned phone calls and responded to my email very quickly. John always kept me updated with my case.”
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  • “Immediately impressed us as someone who is dependable”
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