In Washington, DC and on other campuses around the country, weapons charges on college campuses are being treated with increased severity and often prosecuted by both the school and the criminal justice system.
With this in mind, the following is what you should know about weapons charges on college campuses and how they can impact a student’s life. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a DC student defense lawyer today.
Most states have a broad definition of illegal weapons, and have statutes on their books that prohibit certain types of weapons. For example, these statutes may prohibit possession of a certain type of knife like a switchblade or prohibit someone from using that object as a weapon.
In addition to this, however, if something that would not ordinarily be classified as a weapon, like a baseball bat, was used to beat someone over the head, the accused can potentially be charged with using the bat to commit a crime, even though it would not normally be classified as a weapon on it’s own.
Regarding colleges, campuses typically have rules prohibiting the possession of certain types of weapons, but they do not tend to be any broader than typical state rules.
Usually, every school has a student handbook and rules of conduct which are available to them online.
Institutions of higher education substitute or step in for a student’s parent; it is what is called loco parentis. Schools take that very seriously because they try to protect students from outside forces and there is also huge potential liability on the part of the school if something goes wrong with a student.
The school is to a certain extent essentially assuming the role of the parent, and with that responsibility comes school rules. School rules regulate drug and alcohol use on campus and possession of certain drugs on campus, force students to agree that their rooms can be searched at any time in order to live on in-campus housing, and to agree to give up some of their Constitutional rights by agreeing to these rules. This is all in the name of the school trying to act as a parent while the student is attending the university.
This relates to criminal charges because if the school suspects a violation, they have broad investigative powers, more so than a regular police force would have, because of the terms that the students agree to when they come on campus.
Due to the severity of weapons charges and the fact that they can lead to actual criminal charges in the criminal justice system, it is important a lawyer is contacted as soon as possible.
Additionally even an expulsion can have a huge impact as it may remain on a student’s transcript, and follow them if they try to go to another school. This means they would have to explain why it is on their transcript and becomes a permanent scarlet letter on it. It can have a negative impact you for years and years.
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