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Accused of plagiarism? 3 Tips from an Education Lawyer

Plagiarism is one of the most common calls I receive from students. It is also one of the most serious. A charge of plagiarism may have to be disclosed on every school application you fill out and possibly, need to be disclosed on professional license applications or state or federal job applications. Colleges view plagiarism as a very serious charge that could lead to suspension or expulsion. There are several categories of plagiarism. The two most common types are:

  • Self-Plagiarism – Even though this sounds ridiculous, you have to cite yourself. If you use work that had been previously used in another context, or even an assignment in the same class, you must cite your previously written work.
  • Plagiarism – The uncited work of another. This can occur by simply forgetting to cite your sources or, while working together with a classmate, the submitted assignments appear too similar.

Another call I have received are flagged similarities found in Turnitin. Turnitin is an on-line plagiarism checking service utilized by many schools to automatically detect similarities. Turnitin will generate a report for the professor showing found similarities. I have noticed that professors may not take the time to analyze the similarities, but rather just refer the student for discipline.

Another issue is when students have enlisted the help of paper writing services. These services may guarantee an original paper. However, that is rarely the case. These services may recycle papers and cause students to face suspension or even expulsion from school.

So what can you do if you are faced with being charged with plagiarism?

  1. Just because you are accused of plagiarism doesn’t mean you did it. Great students with impeccable records can be falsely accused of plagiarism. You have the right to defend your record against these allegations.
  2. Be wary of taking a “deal” from the professor. Students are sometimes offered a deal in exchange for a letter of apology. I have seen these letters then turned against the student and used in formal disciplinary hearings. Before accepting such a “deal” find out from the professor if he or she is the final decision-maker on the issue.
  3. Know your school’s policy and your rights if you are accused. Think about your options and take your time in your defense. Hire an experienced education lawyer to craft your defense.

You typically get only one chance at success. Make it the best you can.

Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer with offices in both Florida and New Jersey and offers student defense services to students throughout the United States. He is experienced in defending all types of student disciplinary issues including plagiarism. Call The Education Lawyers today for a free consultation and protect your educational future. (855) 338-5299

Click here to read what client's are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.

Categories: Blog, Education Law

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