Getting caught plagiarizing can lead to severe consequences and cause people to face problems in high school and other settings. Remember that you’re not alone, whether you get caught plagiarizing in community college, law school, or any other situation.

You’ll find multiple moments where people turn toward academic dishonesty and even another student’s work. Famous people, like Joe Biden, have been accused of plagiarism for using another’s statements word-for-word.

Naturally, if you get involved with higher education and academia, you’ll want to know what happens if you get caught plagiarizing in college. In addition, since situations like self-plagiarism can arise while referencing your own work, you’ll want to learn about plagiarism.

Doing so will help you understand the consequences of getting caught plagiarizing, how to handle it, and how to avoid it.

Typical Consequences of Plagiarism

You’ll want to start by understanding the consequences of plagiarism. However, the severity of plagiarism consequences depends on your university or business. If you attend school, you’ll see the plagiarism policies in your handbook or the syllabus.

As for a business, most companies will let you know the consequences before you start working with them. But, no matter what, you’ll most likely face harsh consequences when plagiarizing since doing so can hurt the writer and involve academic dishonesty.

Plagiarism Consequences for Students

If you end up plagiarizing in college, you must understand the consequences for college students. Usually, you’ll face varying levels of disciplinary action based on if you were plagiarizing for the first time.

While it may not seem like a great deal, you can face severe consequences if you fall into it. You should understand what could occur, so you’ll know what to expect if caught. You can also use it as inspiration to avoid plagiarizing now and in the future.

Zero on the Assignment

Most universities will use a lighter sentence, like a zero on the assignment for the first offense, as a plagiarist. However, depending on their decisions, this one usually stays between you and your professor, so remain grateful if you receive this light sentence.

Failing Grades in the Classes

As the next step, your professor may decide to give you a failing grade for the class if you did it on a significant assignment. Depending on the academic cases, the failure and offense could go to your academic record, meaning the university will know about it.

Educational Courses or Sanctions

If those in charge of the university must take action, you may have to attend educational courses or face sanctions to avoid expulsion. You’ll usually have multiple hours of courses to help you avoid plagiarism in the future.


You should avoid plagiarizing since doing so can end your academic career. Furthermore, any act of plagiarization can lead to expulsion, which remains the most dangerous consequence, so you must avoid it whenever possible.

Plagiarism Consequences for Professionals

While you could face plagiarism in college, you could commit it professionally. So whether you work in computer science and try paraphrasing, you must understand the consequences of plagiarism cases in the workplace so you avoid falling into it.

Plagiarism in the workplace usually involves more severe consequences, so you should always avoid it when possible. Doing so means focusing on original work, keeping them in mind during research papers, and using plagiarism checkers like Turnitin to your advantage.

Reworking the Assignment From Scratch

You’ll need to rewrite the assignment from scratch if you accidentally performed plagiarism or didn’t use a checker. Doing so will not only waste your time, but you could lose money as a freelancer, meaning you’ll find yourself in a challenging position.

Destroyed Reputation

Most companies will tell others about your plagiarism, so you could ruin your reputation and struggle to get work. You could even end up in a different industry depending on the job, so always avoid plagiarism and form original ideas.

Legal Repercussions

The company could face legal issues if someone at your business doesn’t catch the plagiarism without attribution. They may charge you for the situation, fire you, or you could face further legal consequences depending on how it plays out.

With those points in mind, you should utilize quotation marks and focus on academic integrity to avoid these issues. However, if you commit plagiarism, you should understand what steps to take if you want to handle the situation appropriately.

Tips for Handling Plagiarism

If you find yourself accused of plagiarism, you must understand how to handle the situation. Doing so will not only help you manage the problem, but you could lighten the punishment based on the plagiarism case.

It can help you work through your academic integrity, maintain your reputation, and even salvage relationships with co-workers and professors. As you understand what to say when you’re caught plagiarizing, you’ll minimize the potential consequences.

Admit to Your Mistake

When some people get caught for a first offense, they’ll try to double down on their lie and say they didn’t plagiarize the work. They think they can lie out of the situation without getting in trouble if they push the issue hard enough.

Professors and employers will only accuse you of plagiarizing if they have strong evidence. For example, they may have run your assignment through Turnitin and discovered plenty of hits for plagiarism.

Instead of trying to lie, you should admit your mistake. When they call you out about the situation, tell them you did do it and understand how plagiarism works. If you didn’t plagiarize on purpose, explain your situation, but admit that it happened.

For example, you may have forgotten to put your assignment through a plagiarism checker, so you didn’t realize your words matched someone else’s. You should remain honest throughout the process so a professor has no reason to escalate the situation and risk your degree.

Don’t Make Excuses

After you admit to any plagiarism chases, you shouldn’t provide any excuses. For example, some people may say they didn’t have enough time to write it or didn’t know they did anything wrong, but such an approach will only harm your case.

Instead of making excuses, you should nod to what the professor or employer says. Listen to their side and what they present without objecting. Doing so will help you understand the situation and see where you plagiarized, so you won’t make that mistake again.

Not only do excuses harm your situation, but they make it look like you want to justify your actions. You seem like you want them to accept the situation or view it as irrelevant, which they won’t if you find yourself in a school or business setting.

Instead of thinking about excuses, you should focus on listening and understanding your situation. You’ll learn more as you focus on listening rather than talking, making it the appropriate response to help you through the situation.

Respond Respectfully and Non-Defensively

You also want to avoid disrespecting the person or becoming defensive about the situation. Some may claim the assignment as their original work and attempt to make the accuser feel bad or wrong for accusing them.

You must remember that these people have authority over you. On top of that, most of them dealt with plagiarism many times, meaning they won’t stand for disrespect if they suspect someone cheated.

Respond to them based on their titles and remain nice throughout it. You should also avoid defending yourself at this point. That means not trying to talk back or make yourself seem innocent. You should remain remorseful and ask questions to understand the situation.

You should wait for them to ask a question before you respond. Don’t interrupt them, and let them share their side. From there, you can offer a response and determine the right path forward with your consequences and even minimize them.


Once you go through the process, you should apologize for your mistakes. Apologizing for the situation shows how the situation impacted you, and you can potentially lower the consequences depending on how you approach it.

Ensure you don’t apologize in a half-accepting way. For example, you shouldn’t say something like “I’m sorry you think I plagiarized”, or “I’m sorry you feel they weren’t my original ideas”. Such apologies come across as accusatory while not accepting responsibility for the situation.

Instead, you should keep it basic yet genuine. Let them know you recognize you did something wrong and apologize for plagiarizing. While it won’t guarantee a lower punishment, you can place yourself in a more sentimental light to increase your chances of avoiding expulsion.

As you apologize, you must avoid seeming disingenuous. Focus on phrasing and saying it while remaining true to your personality and respecting your professor or employer. They could work by your side and even help you remain humble in your situation.

If You’re a Student, Ask To Resubmit for Partial Credit

While professionals don’t have the chance to do this, you could ask to resubmit the work. Depending on the workload, and if you had a first offense in the class, your professor could show pity toward your situation and let you work on the assignment again.

Ensure you emphasize the partial credit portion, so your professor doesn’t think you want to extend the deadline. If they agree, ensure you understand the parameters and when you must submit the work so you don’t run into any problems.

You should also ensure you don’t plagiarize any portion of the work so you don’t receive further repercussions. Take extra precautions with the process by utilizing a plagiarism checker, so you’ll fix any mistakes, and even show it to your professor to reassure them.

If your professor decides not to let you do it, respect their decision, and don’t push it. If you respect their decision and even say so, you could gain their respect and minimize further problems. Pushing or getting mad could escalate the situation and lead to heavier punishments.

Learn From Your Mistake

Receiving a second chance remains a blessing when you fall into plagiarism. No colleges have to give you a second chance, let alone a professor, so you must always learn from your mistakes. Never try to plagiarize again and focus on precautions to avoid it.

Doing so means understanding plagiarism and all its forms. You should avoid self-plagiarism, paraphrasing, or any other form that could get you in trouble. Ensure you attribute everything correctly and create a bibliography with in-text citations to show your efforts.

You may question if you should cite a source. If you ever want to avoid problems and minimize issues, play it safe by citing every source you reference. Doing so will help you avoid accidentally plagiarizing the work if you read something and phrase it similarly later.

As long as you put forth the effort and play it safe, you’ll avoid it. You should also show your professor your desire to learn from your mistakes. See if you can ask for advice to show your willingness while learning more techniques to avoid plagiarization.

Preventing Plagiarism

Whether you face plagiarism at a job in New York or fall into it during college, you must understand the consequences. You could face expulsion, failure, and even legal repercussions based on the situation, so you must minimize it when possible.

To avoid plagiarism, you should utilize referencing and referrals, so you always offer attribution. You should attribute your work even when paraphrasing or using quotation marks so you never risk performing plagiarism.

While those tips help you avoid the label of a cheater or copying Wikipedia, none work as perfect approaches. If you want to avoid any plagiarism with your research papers, you must use a plagiarism checker.

A checker will not only perform a deep scan to look for accidental or self-plagiarism, but you can get a citation generator for a student’s work or other assignments. Such options will also help you avoid plagiarism in business, so you’ll remain safe and avoid legal problems.

Whether you need a plagiarism checker or a citation generator, you have tools to help you with your academic or professional life. As you find the right tools and watch for plagiarism, you can prevent it in the future and remain safe.