What should I do if I am arrested off-campus?
The first thing you should do if you are arrested off-campus is be polite. Immediately after you are released you should contact a criminal defense attorney who specializes in working with college students.
Politeness is important as your first priority is staying safe and making sure the situation does not escalate. Police officers do not know who you are and may assume the worst about you. You want to put them at ease by making sure they know you pose no physical threat to them or to yourself. The best way to do that is to be polite and comply with their directions.
An arrest triggers a series of formal actions in the criminal justice system that you cannot stop. Any arrest will appear on your criminal history record no matter the outcome of the case. Any arrest will result in your being given a court date. A criminal defense attorney who works with college students will maximize your chances of getting the case dismissed or otherwise resolved in as favorable a manner as possible. They will also work to keep your record clean for your future.
What can happen if I am arrested off campus?
If you are arrested off campus, your college will most likely find out and you will likely face college disciplinary charges in addition to the criminal charges. It is important to read your college or university conduct codes to understand the potential consequences of being arrested.
Many college students and their parents wrongly assume that off-campus conduct falls outside the reach of college disciplinary systems and college student conduct codes. That is simply wrong. Most college student conduct codes specifically state that off-campus conduct may result in college disciplinary code violations. So if the college finds out about the student being arrested off-campus then on-campus consequences likely will follow.
Any criminal defense attorney you hire needs to be well-versed in college student disciplinary matters.
Will my college or university find out if I am arrested off-campus?
If you are arrested off campus, assume your college or university will find out.
Many local police departments work closely with campus police and will inform them when a college student is arrested. In cases of serious felonies, such as sexual assaults, the police will almost certainly inform the college and campus police as they begin their investigation.
An attorney experienced with criminal defense and student conduct code violations will know how to manage your defense in both the criminal justice system and the college justice system.
What are the consequences of being arrested off-campus?
An off-campus arrest creates a criminal record that affects your education and future employment.
All arrests create a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney familiar with the special concerns of college students will know how to minimize or even how to erase that record through different legal mechanisms. For college students, it is not enough that the arrest simply result in no conviction since the arrest itself can be problematic for future employment and admission to graduate programs of study. So, good college student defense requires the lawyer to anticipate future problems from the very start of the case.