College students all over North Carolina are returning to campus. While class begins in earnest, so will extracurricular activities… some of which can spell legal trouble. Underage drinking, drug use, driving while impaired, resisting officers, disorderly conduct, hazing, theft, or sexual assault are just some of the crimes that can arise on a college campus. But unlike towns or counties, institutes of higher learning are policed by their own officers in unique departments. A run-in with these officers can result in charges and disciplinary actions that could permanently impact a student’s record. Here are some rules for encounters with the campus police.
Know Your Rights
If you find yourself confronted by campus police, the first thing to keep in mind is that campus officers are governed by the same laws as all law enforcement. This means that you have the right to remain silent or refuse to answer questions, and the right to terminate the encounter if you are not under arrest. Politely ask the officer if you are free to leave or if you are currently under arrest. If the officer refuses to let you leave, you need not provide any additional information to the officer.
If you are taken to an interview room or to a campus police station, refuse to answer any questions without an attorney present. If an officer leaves a card or calls you and leaves a voicemail, do not call them back. Call an attorney first. Do not engage in any phone conversation or schedule an interview with any campus officer without calling an attorney first.
These guidelines are important because campus police are invested with as much authority from the legislature as municipal police. Sometimes cities will hire law enforcement agencies to patrol mass transit areas or other territories. Landowners may employ private security at apartment complexes. Prosecutors often find that these private police are too aggressive and lack proper training. The campus police have a grant of authority and a level of training that prosecutors tend to respect. If they gather enough evidence to charge you with a crime, the district attorney can prosecute that matter.
Hire an Attorney With Experience in Disciplinary Hearings
If after your confrontation you have been arrested by the campus police, you will need an attorney to represent you. While you may think that your underage drinking or drug possession charge can be resolved quickly without a permanent record, it is too easy to make a mistake without proper advice. Our attorneys can help get charges thrown out while preserving avenues that students can use for future dismissals. There is no reason to burn through all of your legal options without consulting a lawyer.
Different types of offenses or repeat behaviors may require more finesse for a favorable result. Hiring an attorney can help position you to succeed. We can recommend treatment options, open up discussion about restitution for damages, or other areas to get charges resolved without convictions. A student is too young to start adult life with a permanent conviction.
Often charges from the campus police can result in additional disciplinary proceedings from the college. Our attorneys have gotten favorable results for students involved in disciplinary hearings and Title IX hearings for sexual misconduct. Hiring a lawyer is important for these proceedings since they can have lifelong repercussions if a student is suspended or expelled.
Have you or your child been charged with campus misconduct? Do you want to preserve their future? If so, our experienced team of award-winning attorneys is here for you. Call us now at (704) 931-5535 and schedule a consultation with one of us today!