Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can you represent me in court?
    No. However, the attorney will provide you with advice and information about your legal problem and can provide references to private attorneys if your case warrants it.

  • Can you help me even if it happened out of state?
    The attorney can provide advice, but sometimes will recommend you seek counsel from an attorney more familiar with the laws of that state.

  • What constitutes a conflict of interest?
    The Student Legal Aid Office serves all undergraduates, so it is a conflict of interest if your opposing party is also an undergraduate student. If you aren't sure or think there may be a special circumstance, please visit the office.

  • Do I need to bring my paperwork?
    Yes, please bring all paperwork (e.g. citations, leases, correspondence) you think may be relevant to the situation.

  • Why do I need my student ID?
    The Student Legal Aid Office only receives funding to serve currently-enrolled undergraduate students, so we need your student ID to confirm your registration status.

  • I just have a quick question — why do I have to fill out paperwork?
    The Student Legal Aid Office maintains records for internal purposes, and to better assist returning students.

  • Should I hire an attorney?
    It's up to you. Attorneys have a somewhat limited role in academic integrity hearings. The attorney can advise you on the best course of action. For more specific advice visit the office and speak to a student defender.

  • Am I eligible for a public defender?
    The attorney can advise on the possibility, but it is ultimately up to the local jurisdiction as to whether you meet their financial requirements.

  • Will the university find out about my outside legal case?
    Possibly, but never from the Student Legal Aid Office.

  • I've never been in trouble before. Will that help?
    Maybe. Common sense dictates that people with a clean record will be better off than those with prior charges, but there are no guarantees. Make sure you inform the attorney of any prior charges/convictions, because the attorney's advice can be affected by prior incidents.

  • Can I seek a second opinion?
    You are free to seek counsel from any outside attorney.

  • Can I get a referral to an outside attorney?
    The attorney can frequently provide references for local attorneys with experience in specific legal fields.

  • Can you look over my lease before I sign it?
    Yes, but it is important that you have read it first to determine any questions you might have for the attorney.

  • Will my parents find out? Do I have to tell them?
    The Student Legal Aid Office will never contact your parents. If they call the office, we will only speak to them with your authorization.

  • If I apply for a job and the application asks if I've ever been charged/convicted, what should I write?
    You should answer the question honestly.

  • If I receive "probation before judgement" in my court case and it's expunged from my record will anyone be able to find out?
    Officially no, but realistically, maybe. The presence of electronic records maintained by private busineeses means there's no longer a guarantee something wiped from your court and police records will never be found.

  • Do I need an appointment?
    No. Located on the right-hand side of the page is a link if you would like to make an appointment and walk-in hours.
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  • Is this service free?
    Yes. The Student Legal Aid Office is funded by the Student Government Association through undergraduate student fees.

  • I’m supposed to schedule a preliminary interview. What’s that?
    The university's Office of Student Conduct (OSC) generally conducts a preliminary interview to inform students of the charges they face. Depending on the circumstances, the student and OSC representative can sometimes resolve the situation informally during the preliminary interview. But you can always reserve the right to have a hearing.

  • I got in trouble on campus/with University Police. Will the university charge me?
    Yes. The university's police will generally forward the case to the university's Office of Student Conduct.

  • What will my punishment be?
    The punishment can vary and depends on a variety of factors. Visit the office and speak with a student defender.

  • I was really stressed because a lot was going on at the time — does that matter?
    Mitigating circumstances are sometimes taken into account, especially during the sanctioning phase.

  • Should I choose a conference or a hearing?
    This depends on a variety of factors. Visit the office and speak with a student defender.

  • Do I have to tell my parents?
    No. The office of Student Conduct might contact your parents in certain instances or send mail to your home address, but the Student Legal Aid Office will not contact your parents. If they call our office, we will only talk to them if you provide us with prior authorization.

  • What should I wear to my hearing/conference?
    Think business casual. We generally recommend at least a collared shirt for males; a tie is optional./strong>

  • Can my parents come to the hearing?
    Your parents can come to the hearing to provide moral support, but they will not be able to take part in the proceedings. If you are found responsible they can act as a reference during the sanctioning phase.

  • I’ve been charged before — will that affect my case?
    It depends on the case and whether you were found responsible in the previous instance(s). Visit the office and speak with a student defender for specific advice.

  • What’s the difference between probation and suspension withheld?
    Suspension withheld means you are suspended from the university, but it won't go into affect as long as you stay out of trouble during the entire duration of the suspension. Probation is essentially a strongly-worded warning, but students on probation cannot represent the university in sports/extracurricular activities, or hold offices in clubs and student organizations.

  • Will the police officer/RA/professor/witness be at the hearing?
    Probably.

  • I didn’t mean to/didn’t realize I was doing something wrong. Am I responsible?
    The most important factor is whether you should or could have known you were doing something wrong, not whether you did it intentionally. Sometimes it's complicated, though, so speak with a student defender for more specific advice.

  • Can you help me before my preliminary interview?
    It is best to visit the office soon after your preliminary interview. If you visit before the preliminary interview we can provide generalized advice, but we are unable to provide specific advice until you know your charges and have the relevant documentation.

  • Can you represent me at a conference or hearing?
    Yes. However, we generally cannot represent students who visit the office less than one week before their hearing or conference date. It is best to speak with a student defender as soon as you know what the charges are.

  • Who are student defenders? Law students?
    Student defenders are undergraduate students who have completed specialized training with the Student Legal Aid Office. They are paid employees, and their sole function is to provide advice to and represent students who are facing university charges.

  • What should I bring when I come to the office?
    Any and all relevant documentation.

  • How should I contact my student defender?
    If you are already working with a specific student defender you can reach them via email at slao@umd.edu



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  • What if I don’t want a student defender?
    You are under no obligation to utilize a student defender. We can provide advice even if you don't want representation at a hearing or conference.

  • What should I do to help my student defender?
    The most important thing is letting the office know your hearing date as soon as it is scheduled. After that, be responsive to your student defender; they can't provide adequate representation without your assistance.

  • If I lose housing can I get my deposit back?
    It depends how far into the semester it is. For details, visit the office to speak with a student defender.

  • Is there an appeal process if I’m found responsible?
    Yes, although decisions can only be appealed for a few very specific reasons. Speak with a student defender for more details.

  • Will there still be a mark on my record if I’m found responsible?
    If you receive an XF, there will be a mark on your transcript until you successfully apply to have it removed. In some cases, students receive a permanent XF.

  • I’m applying to grad school. What should my answer be if it asks if I’ve been in academic trouble?
    Answer honestly.




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Make an Appointment

Student Legal Aid Office

  • 3125 South Campus Dining Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 (301) 314-7756 slao@umd.edu

Regular School Year Hours

Student Defenders are available to provide assistance for university charges 10-4 Monday through Friday.

For Legal Help

Appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm. Walk-ins are also welcome. *Note: The attorney is not always available, so please call before you visit.

Winter and Summer Hours

The office is generally open M-F 10-4, but please call prior to visiting.