(512) 476-4626

Student Defense

Students are part of the lifeblood of Austin, with one of the United States’ most populous campuses, the University of Texas at Austin, in the heart of the city. Students come from all over Texas, the United States and the world to start their future.

Unfortunately, a quick mistake in judgment or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have a severe negative impact on the future. A criminal conviction or code of conduct violation can lead to you losing opportunities for jobs, graduate school, law school or medical school. It can even lead to you being expelled or suspended from your college or university.

If you are a student that has been arrested for a criminal offense or if you are the parent of a college or high school student charged with a crime, your first order of business in such a situation should be to get dedicated legal representation.

Austin Student Defense Lawyer

In this high-stakes situation, having a skilled advocate and adviser can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your criminal case or disciplinary hearing. Austin student defense lawyer Kevin Bennett represents students facing allegations that they committed a crime or violated school code of conduct.

Kevin Bennett can represent you in any criminal matter in Travis County courts, from a citation for minor in possession alcohol to charges of sexual assault. He can also serve as your advisor during disciplinary proceedings at UT. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation.

Kevin Bennett represents students attending any Travis County college or university, including the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edwards University, Austin Community College and Concordia University. He also represents Texas State University students or students of any other college on charges in Travis County courts.

Information on Student Charges and Consequences

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Alcohol Charges for Texas Students

The Texas Penal Code and other Texas laws apply uniformly to all, so students may face any criminal charge that any non-student may face. However, there are some offenses that are much more common among college students, namely charges relating to alcoholic beverages.

Most college students are legal adults over the age of 18. However, the legal age for even possessing alcohol is 21, unless it is done in the presence of a parent or legal guardian or in the course of legal employment. You may be charged with minor in possession of alcohol (MIP), a Class C misdemeanor (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05).

Consuming alcohol is also an offense for minors, under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.04.

Both Minor in Consumption (MIC) and MIP convictions result in a sentence of at least 8 hours of community service, with a range up to 12 hours for a first offense. You will be required to attend an alcohol awareness course approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. You may also be fined up to $500. You will have a conviction on your criminal record.

For a second or subsequent conviction, you could face 20 to 40 hours of community service. A subsequent conviction will also result in a fine of at least $250, up to $2,000, and up to 180 days in jail.

Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended for a first MIC conviction and a second or subsequent MIP conviction for between 30 and 180 days.

It is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, to show a deceptively similar driver’s license with the intent to represent that you are older than 21.

Some college students older than 21 also may face alcohol-related charges. It is illegal under Texas Alcoholic Beverages Code § 106.06 to furnish, or provide, alcohol to minors with criminal negligence. If you are having a party in West Campus, for example, and you allow people younger than 21 into the party where there is beer in a cooler or keg, you could face charges for furnishing alcohol to minors.

Students of any age may face charges of DWI or public intoxication (PI).

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Other Charges Students Face

Students may face any other charge, including:

  • Drug Possession
  • Marijuana Possession
  • Assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Resisting Arrest

You will not face juvenile proceedings or be tried in any kind of special court. If convicted, you may face time in state prison. You will have a permanent record, unless your charges are eligible for record sealing if you received deferred adjudication probation.

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Expungement/Record Sealing for Students

As an Austin criminal defense attorney, Kevin Bennett has represented many college students who have faced felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in Austin, TX. Kevin Bennett understands that a criminal charge is the last thing students want to have to explain to a potential employer or disclose on a graduate school application.

Texas law does not provide for the automatic removal or sealing of criminal records after a case has been dismissed. This means that records of your arrest and criminal charge remain indefinitely on your criminal history unless you expunge or seal the records.

Whether you are seeking a job after college or plan to attend graduate school, law school, or medical school, a criminal background check will almost always be conducted.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett has assisted many students expunge or seal their criminal record in Austin so that they can take full advantage of future opportunities after college. To take the first step in protecting your criminal record, call Kevin Bennett at 512-476-4626 to discuss your eligibility to seal or expunge your criminal record.

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UT Academic Consequences of a Criminal Charge

Under the University of Texas at Austin’s Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities, the University has the power to punish students with disciplinary action for acts that violate criminal law and UT policy, regardless of whether the alleged act occurred on or off campus and regardless of whether it occurs in connection with a UT activity.

UT policy covers any violation of federal, state and local criminal law, as well as specifically prohibiting, as UT policy, underage alcohol possession, illegal drug possession, driving while intoxicated, assault and sexual assault.

Additionally, you can face disciplinary action at UT-Austin regardless of whether or not you face criminal charges, and regardless of the disposition of those charges. Sanctions include:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension
  • Suspension of rights and privileges
  • Expulsion
  • Bar against readmission

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Disciplinary Hearings at UT

If there is an allegation that you engaged in a non-academic violation of University policy, including breaking criminal law, the Office of the Dean of Students will investigate. The Dean will make a finding of whether or not there is a violation. If there has been a violation, she or he will issue a sanction.

If the sanction includes suspension, suspension of rights and privileges or expulsion, you are entitled to a disciplinary hearing. At the hearing, a hearing officer will hear the case and render a decision.

At the hearing, you have a right to an advisor, who may be an attorney. Your advisor can discuss strategy, examine the evidence against you and confer with you during the hearing. He cannot question witnesses or evidence, but can guide you as to what questions to ask.

If the hearing result is unfavorable, you may appeal the decision to the President.

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Student Disciplinary Resources

UT Rules on Student Discipline and Conduct: Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities lays out the requirements for student behavior and when the university may discipline students.

UT Office of the Dean of Students: The Dean of Students is responsible for student discipline at the University of Texas at Austin.

Office of the Dean of Students
100 West Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78712

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Representing Students in UT and Austin

Austin student defense lawyer Kevin Bennett represents students from UT, ACC, St. Edwards and any other university or college against criminal charges in Travis County courts. He also serves as an advisor in UT student disciplinary hearings. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up a free consultation.