DC Student Arrests

Although criminal charges off campus may seem to be unrelated to your standing in college, they can still have an impact on your student status. With this in mind, the following is what you need to know if you are arrested while enrolled in a college or university and how a DC student defense lawyer can help. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation today.

Powers of Campus Police

Under DC law campus police have powers to investigate crimes that allegedly took place on campus and make arrests. However, their jurisdiction usually doesn’t extend outside of their department’s university campus which is one reason why in some situations, university police departments get assistance from the local DC police.

This can also happen when the investigation requires more resources, police officers or time than the university’s police department has available. Also, with more extensive allegations, such as those involving sexual assault and certain drug crimes, campus police can work in conjunction with the DC Metropolitan Police Department in investigating and arresting students.

Campus police departments are deputized with full police powers under D.C. law because they are under the supervision of the D.C. Chief of Police. That means that campus police officers do have the ability to conduct searches of the university property, including dorm rooms, and they can arrest and process university students who are alleged to have committed crimes on campus.

Even though they are university police officers, they still do have most of the same powers that the D.C. police have, and so they should not be confused with security guards or special police officers. They should be approached in the same way that a person would approach a normal police officer.

Notifying Your College of An Arrest

Local police do not have any obligations to notify the student’s university if they make an arrest that does not involve the university. However, in some situations, local police do notify the student’s school of an arrest, and that is typically at the discretion of the arresting officer. Essentially, your school can find out if you are arrested by the local police, even if the charges involve an incident that took place off campus and didn’t involve other university students.

Universities can sometimes find out about off-campus arrests, but that is more likely to happen if a student is already on thin ice with the university. For example, if the student is already on disciplinary probation or has received some other sanction for violating the student code of conduct and then gets arrested by the local police off campus, the university might be more likely to find out about the arrest.

How a Student Defense Attorney Can Help

Student defense attorneys can advise a student client on how the criminal case can affect his or her status as a university student. An attorney can also help a client make informed decisions about how their actions and interaction with the university proceedings can either help or hurt based on how the case can be resolved on the criminal side.

A legal representative can begin representation immediately after the student has been arrested in a criminal case, which means that an attorney does not necessarily need to wait for the student to receive a notice from the university of a judicial hearing before advising a student client on how to prepare for any possible consequences of the pending criminal charges.