Does punishment for a medical issue that is out of my control constitute a legal problem?

I go to a top 10 school where the dean’s office is trying to punish me for what is clearly a medical issue. I was prescribed new medication for ADHD that caused a blackout. I ended up urinating in another student’s room. Of course, I paid for all damages, etc. I had a meeting with the judicial board where I presented 2 doctors’ notes and my medical records.

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Diminished capacity can be defense to a criminal trial--that's why you hear about people being incompetent to stand trial, or being found either "not guilty by reason of insanity" or "guilty but insane." However, diminished capacity, including due to medication, is not a defense to a civil proceeding or to an institution's in-house disciplinary, etc. system. So while you can, and should, provide all evidence that would tend to mitigate the circumstances or exonerate you, the university can hold you accountable for your actions, so long as their own judicial codes which they have adopted permit this.

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