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Falsely accused of cheating during an exam

Trenton, NJ |
Filed under: Education law

I took an exam in my university in a class that has 7 students. It was an open note and book, because of that we were given permission by the teacher to move seats in order to have more space to use our book and notebook. During the exam I was sitting on the lab benches. The next day the teacher sent me an email telling me that I was cheating with a that sat 10 sits away from me, because we answered one of the question wrong and we explained it the same way. The whole class is willing to testify that me and the boy were nowhere near each other, so there's no chance of us cheating unless we were having phone conversations which would be pretty obvious to her during the exam. Now my question is can a teacher just accuse students of cheating even if they didnt see it happening?

Attorney Answers 3


If this is a public university, your teacher may ask the university administration to initiate charges against you for breach of academic integrity. Penalties if the charges are sustained can include expulsion and some very severe consequences for student financial aid obligations and eligibility to transfer to other schools or be admitted to grad school.

If you are charged, you will need to defend yourself through your school's administrative appeal process. Get a copy of the process so that you are prepared if charges are made. The process is spelled out in the Student Handbook, on-line, and from Dean of Students.

You have the right to legal counsel and advice and you should talk with a local attorney if you are facing formal discipline such as expulsion. The process is not a level playing field. The school brings the charges; the school presents the evidence against you; and the school adjudicates the charges. Take this situation very seriously -- the consequences of such charges, if upheld, are severe.

On these facts, this matter may be a credibility contest. But the similarities in the two sets of answers will be very significant. A lawyer can advise you as to the most effective factual defense.

Good luck to you.

Good luck to you.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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I totally agree with Ms. McCall.

Your specific question goes to the weight a fact-finding panel would give to the testimony of the various witnesses. However, even you point out a way for two students not sitting next to one another to have cheated.

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1 lawyer agrees


I agree with Ms. McCall.

The previous information is solely for informational purposes only. If you have further questions, please contact an attorney in your area for more specific answers. Responding to your question in no way creates an attorney/client relationship, and none of the specific guarantees of privacy exist. If you have found this information helpful, kindly check the "helpful" box.

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