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Talking to a new college student about the possibility of arrest

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense

For recently-graduated former high schoolers, the looming prospect of college is very exciting. They may picture wild parties or dream about exploring their passions in an academic environment. However, getting away from home can be as dangerous as it is thrilling, which is one reason why parents often have a much more reserved and anxious response to college enrollment.

Parents will likely discuss many safety issues with their young adults, from the dangers of binge drinking to the need to secure the dorm room where they live at night. Although parents often expect the best from young adults, the truth is that the experimentation that makes college such an exciting time can also sometimes lead to criminal charges for students. How can adults worried about a student’s possible future arrest discuss the matter in a way that will have an impact on a young adult?

Discuss the possibility of actual prosecution

Students sometimes have this unreasonable belief that if they break the law on campus, they won’t face any actual criminal charges. Therefore, it is important that they understand that campus safety and security departments typically cooperate with local law enforcement. They can and will report students for criminal activity that occurs on campus. Students could face both state prosecution and academic penalties imposed by the institution.

Clarify the consequences of a student offense

In addition to imagining that on-campus offenses can skirt actual prosecution, students often assume that their enrollment at an institution of higher education will result in more lenient consideration from the courts. However, there’s no guarantee that a college student will face less serious penalties for an offense than any other young adult accused of drug possession or drunk driving. If anything, a student stands to have more penalties imposed, as most institutions of higher education have handbooks that allow them to punish the students convicted of criminal offenses while enrolled.

The possible penalties that the college could impose could include expulsion or a prohibition from living on campus or participating in clubs. Other times, students will lose their financial aid or jobs, which may make it impossible for them to continue their educational pursuits.

It is important that young adults learn about their basic rights, including the right to remain silent after an arrest and to ask for legal advice before responding to criminal charges. Talking about the possibility of criminal charges before a young adult goes off to school can help them reduce the likelihood of making a life-altering mistake.