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What happens if your college-age child gets in trouble on campus?

Many South Carolina college students are away from home for the first time, and they are enjoying a sense of freedom that they have never experienced before. There are times when these young adults may make less-than-ideal choices, and they could find themselves in trouble with the school’s security force or campus police. It’s important for every student to know what to do next if this happens to them.

When there is an incident on campus, police may try to question students to determine their level of involvement and ascertain what happened. There may be the threat of arrest or criminal charges. Can campus police do this? Are they true police officers with the legal authority to detain a student? The answer depends on the individual school.

Dealing with campus police

Campus police may not actually be police. They may be security guards tasked with supervising campus activities and calling in the authorities if something does happen. Other colleges and universities actually contract local police to work on campus. Regardless, the following information can be helpful:

  • Students have the right to remain silent if they find themselves subjected to questioning by campus police. They can also request a lawyer before answering any questions.
  • Students could face administrative penalties if they refuse questioning or do things that violate school rules. This may include suspension, loss of scholarships, expulsion and more.
  • Schools typically have the authority to search on-campus housing if they have reason to do so. There are stricter limits on searches of a student’s person. 

A mistake or one-time incident should not have the ability to change a student’s life or future opportunities. Your child will benefit from knowing his or her rights and how to protect them. If you must take action on behalf of your child because he or she is in trouble with the school or local authorities, you could benefit from securing experienced legal counsel.

Protecting future opportunities

Your student’s future is worth fighting for, no matter what he or she is up against. As a concerned parent, you do not have to fight this battle alone. It may be helpful to discuss your child’s case with a knowledgeable defense attorney. You are not only fighting for his or her personal freedom, but you are also fighting for future education and career opportunities.


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