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What Happens if You Break the Law When You’re Studying at Uni?

We all make mistakes that we regret down the line, some we manage to get away with and decide never to do again, but others we might not be so lucky with. In this blog post, we’re going to explain what happens if you break the law when you’re studying at uni.

Going away to university is an exciting prospect; you no longer live with your parents, you have complete freedom, can go out partying, and meet loads of new friends. It’s easy to get caught up in trouble, but when it turns into you being arrested, under investigation, or being prosecuted for a criminal offence, it is no longer fun, and you’ll need a criminal law firm to assist you.

Most, if not all, universities across the United Kingdom have some sort of policy that sets out the standard it expects for how their students should behave. This policy should also outline what the process will be should that behaviour be recognised as a breach of their policy.

Imperial College London’s policy clearly set out their procedure for if one of their university students was remanded or given a custodial sentence whilst studying. However, the policy that they have set out may not be the same for other universities in the UK. Keep reading to learn what universities responses would be to one of their students breaking the law whilst studying.

Your University Will Likely Be Aware of Your Arrest

Being arrested, facing investigation, and potentially receiving a criminal conviction can be terrifying, particularly as a young adult studying at university. It’s likely that you won’t want your parents or university to find out, but there is a high chance that they will do.

If they are not aware, it would be wise to disclose it to them. Disclosing it yourself will prevent any issues from arising in the future. If you didn’t make them aware and it came up in the future, the consequences might be more severe.

Suspension from University

If the offence isn’t serious or damaging to the university’s reputation, they may be more lenient with how they handle the matter.

If the severity of the crime isn’t high, such as it’s a petty crime, the likelihood that you will get expelled is slim. But, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be repercussions for your crime. The university is likely to open a disciplinary process following their policy.

An example of how a university will handle a student facing conviction of a crime is Imperial College London. Their disciplinary process expresses, “The aim of disciplinary action would be to assist with rehabilitation of the student and to minimise the risk of a re-occurrence of any misconduct.”

If they decide not to take disciplinary action, they instead do a risk assessment on the student before they return to their studies. They will determine whether the student is a threat to other members of the university, such as students, teachers, staff, etc., whether they will oblige to the law in the future and whether they would bring the university into disrepute.

Not all universities will do the same as The Imperial College London, but they will likely have policies that are similar. For example, click here to see the University of Bristol’s policy.

Expulsion from University

Depending on the severity level of the crime that you committed, and if you were convicted for it, there is the possibility that your university will expel you. The vast majority of universities don’t want their name or reputation damaged, and a criminal offence committed by one of their students could have that effect. Therefore, they most likely won’t want their name to be associated with you anymore.

A Criminal Offence Could Affect Your Future

The course you are taking could have an impact on how the university will handle the matter. For instance, if you are training to become a professional, such as a teacher, doctor, or solicitor, they might have to make more considerations, particularly surrounding the crime that was committed. What they decide could impact your ability to stay on the degree and ultimately your future career.

For example, those doing a teaching degree will need to confirm unspent or spent convictions when applying to the course, and might be required by their university to have a DBS check too. It is certain that, if they do teacher training within a school as a part of the court, they will be required to have a DBS check done. Not all criminal convictions will prevent continued training as a teacher, but there are some that could, including:

  • Sexual offences
  • Crimes of violence
  • Crimes of dishonesty, e.g. fraud, embezzlement
  • Drug crimes, e.g. possession, supply
  • Criminal offences against children

Therefore, if you break the law whilst studying, there is the possibility that you will be unable to continue your degree, and, unfortunately, this could have the potential to affect your future career too.

Breaking The Law Can Have Repercussions on Your Studies

What we can conclude from this article is that breaking the law doesn’t necessarily prevent you from continuing your studies; that is only if it is a petty crime. Anything more severe could have you convicted and potentially mean you face prison time. It’ll also affect your studies and future career in the meantime.

Whilst university is meant to be a fun place, you are there to learn and to make life experiences, not to break the law. Don’t let silly mistakes affect your future.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice about a crime you’ve committed. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.