Do You Need a Lawyer to Fight an Academic Integrity Charge?

by Sophia Jennifer

Academic dishonesty includes a number of dishonest activities, such as cheating on tests, plagiarism, and falsifying research. And these activities can result in varying penalties for students but are considered a serious offense at any university. If you have been charged with academic misconduct by your institution’s code of conduct or judicial board, you are likely required to hire an attorney who specializes in these types of cases to defend yourself before the disciplinary committee or even the university’s general counsel. 

However, even if you find yourself facing this type of charge but don’t think you should be penalized for your actions, it is important to consult with an attorney beforehand to help guide your decision-making process. 

You should consult with a lawyer who specializes in academic dishonesty issues and also knows the codes of conduct for your university or community college. An attorney will understand the nuances of your institution’s code of conduct and can help you decide whether a defense is possible. Some institutions take a very strict stance on all accusations, so you may find that an attorney is necessary to fight an academic integrity charge from your university.

How can a Lawyer Help in an Academic Integrity Process?

The idea that a lawyer will help you go back and forth with the code of conduct committee may seem counterproductive, but the knowledge that there is an attorney on your side can often make all the difference in your success.

An attorney specializing in these types of cases understands the importance of deadlines and timelines, which is especially important because once you are charged with academic dishonesty, they are generally strict about adhering to their timelines. The attorney can be instrumental in helping you understand the time limits and the importance of providing all necessary information. 

The attorney will also help you discuss with your university’s code of conduct committee any issues that you feel are particularly important to your defense. This can include trying to present mitigating circumstances or arguing that the accusation is false and not actually an instance of academic dishonesty.

An attorney can also help you get all the necessary documentation together to present your case or prove your innocence. Your attorney can also ask for clarification and additional information from the committee if some areas of concern remain unclear, as well as help you build a defense that will outline why the accusation is false.

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