Saturday, June 29, 2013

Case Highlight: Criminal Background Checks

Part of what we do at Student Legal Services is help educate students on how any additions to their criminal records may affect their future ability to find employment or get into graduate school.

Recently the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a couple of lawsuits challenging some employers' uses of job applicant background checks. The legal community, as well as Student Legal Services, will be waiting to see how these cases pan out and how that may affect future e criminal background check processes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting "Written Up": Student Conduct Code Violations

We <3 UCSD's Res Life staff! (Sixth College)

Believe it or not, sometimes one of the amazing, smart, and talented students here at UC San Diego makes a bad decision and gets "written up" for an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code.

UC San Diego has quite a few resources that we refer to students looking for more information on the Student Conduct process:
  1. Take a look at the actual Student Conduct Code! It is amazing how many students never even read the Student Conduct Code, even when faced with a possible violation.
  2. If you have scheduled a Resolution Meeting or are facing a Review, contact the Associated Students of UC San Diego's Student Advocates. They are undergraduate students trained by our office and the Office of Student Conduct, and their job is to give students information about their upcoming Student Conduct processes and even attend their meetings with them.
  3. Know your rights! The Student Conduct Code contains many provisions that are meant to protect your rights and maintain a fair judicial process. You are entitled to copies of incident reports, to know possible sanctions before "admitting" to anything, and to a certain number of days to appeal decisions.
Finally, Student Legal Services is happy to assist currently registered UC San Diego students facing any alleged Student Conduct violations. We know the process may seem overwhelming at times and we do what we can to educate our students about what to expect and how to act accordingly.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Moving Out: Where is my deposit?

Earlier Student Legal Services wrote a post for those students who are getting ready to move into a new off-campus apartment. But not all newly-signed leases around UC San Diego are for first-time lessees!

Many students will be ending their current leases in anticipation of another move within San Diego, or perhaps off to an exciting place for grad school or a job.

Here are some quick bits of information about security deposit refunds in California!

  • California Civil Code Section 1950.5 lists the only four reasons why a landlord may keep a tenant's security deposit:
    • for unpaid rent;
    • for cleaning the rental unit to restore it back to the condition it was in when the tenant moved in;
    •  for repair of damages beyond normal wear and tear; and
    • if the lease allows for it, for cost of restoring furniture or furnishings.

  • Leases can never state that the security deposit is "non-refundable"!
  • Within 21 calendar days of a tenant moving out, the landlord must send the tenant one of the following:
    •  the tenant's full refund, or
    • an itemized statement listing amounts that will be withheld and the reasons for those deductions, along with the remaining deposit.

  • Under Grandberry v. Islay Investments (1995) 9 Cal.4th 738, 745, the California Supreme Court held that the failure to provide a full refund or statement of deductions within 21 days makes the landlord lose his or her right to keep any of the security deposit.

As always, Student Legal Services is happy to meet with any currently-registered UC San Diego students seeking information or assistance in the return of their rental security deposits.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Under 21? Two California laws that may suspend your driver's license.

The DMV location in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

 Students are often surprised to hear of two separate California laws that result in the suspension of their drivers’ licenses, even though those crimes have nothing to driving or being near a vehicle!

Scenario #1: Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Stuart Student is under the age of 21 and is at a friend’s apartment drinking beer. The social gathering gets loud enough to annoy the neighbors and they call the cops. Stuart Student subsequently get cited by a police officer for “Minor in Possession of Alcohol,” or violation of California Business and Professions Code section 25662.

Result: If Stuart Student either pleads guilty to, or is convicted of, being a minor in possession of alcohol, the Court must suspend his driver’s license for a year! Keep in mind, Stuart Student was nowhere near his car, was not trying to drive, nor was he storing alcohol in his car!

Scenario #2: Possession of Less than One Ounce of Marijuana
Ursula Undergrad is 19 years old and likes to smoke marijuana. Ursula Undergrad does not have a prescription for medical marijuana but is not afraid of an infraction ticket, so she puts a baggie of marijuana in her pocket before heading to class.  Later Ursula Undergrad is stopped by a police officer for jaywalking and she confesses to the officer that she has less than an ounce of marijuana in her pocket. She knows it is only an infraction to possess so little marijuana, so she thinks "what is the big deal?"

Result: While it is true that under California Health and Safety Code 11357(b) Ursula only faces an infraction for her possession of marijuana, because she is under the age of 21, California Vehicle Code 13202.5 requires that her driver’s license be suspended for a year if she pleads guilty to or is convicted of the infraction. Again, Ursula Undergrad was not driving her car at the time, nor was she anywhere near her car! Yet, she may lose her license.

Student Legal Services has met with many UC San Diego students who have found themselves in positions much like "Stuart" or "Ursula" above. If you are a currently-registered UC San Diego student, please do not hesitate to contact our office if you want more clarification on the special effect of some California laws on students under the age of 21.