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Your Rights During Encounters With University Of Delaware Police


For many students, heading off to college is the first time they are out from under their parent’s roof and responsible for their own actions. Unfortunately, judgment can sometimes lag behind in young adults, potentially leading to criminal charges. Students spend a considerable amount of time on campus, even more when they live in dorms or other university-sponsored housing. The lifestyle makes it more likely that someone could be apprehended by the University of Delaware Police Department or related agencies.

There can be some confusion about jurisdiction but make no mistake: Campus police have many of the same powers as other law enforcement officers. However, they are also limited by the same constitutional laws. A University of Delaware student crimes defense lawyer can explain how the details apply in a specific case, but some background about your rights may be informative.

Your Constitutional Rights

 It doesn’t matter whether you were arrested on campus, in a public place, a vehicle, or at your home, a person has civil rights during encounters with law enforcement. These rights are separate from what consequences may apply in terms of discipline from the institution, which might include suspension and other penalties. Keep in mind that:

  • Officers must have reasonable cause that a crime was committed or was about to be committed to detain you.
  • Police need probable cause that you committed the offense to arrest you.
  • You have the right to remain silent when being questioned by officers.
  • You are entitled to the advice of counsel in connection with any criminal charges.
  • First-year freshmen under 18 years old are considered minors for purposes of certain crimes, which means the Delaware juvenile system takes over the case. Parents are entitled to notice of the charges, and there are limitations on how long officials can hold a juvenile.

Tips for Handling Student Crimes Cases 

Whether you are the student arrested for criminal conduct or a concerned parent, there is more at stake than just paying a fine or serving a short-term jail sentence. A misdemeanor could lead to a college suspension or expulsion, and you can expect that there will be no refund on costs for lodging or tuition. For a felony conviction, incarceration and collateral consequences affect your future. Therefore:

  • Do not make any statements during encounters with campus police.
  • Never resist arrest, which could lead to additional charges for assault of a public officer.
  • Contact a criminal defense attorney right away.
  • Rely on your lawyer to address how criminal charges affect your status as a student. 

Consult with a Wilmington, DE Student Crimes Defense Attorney Right Away 

These rights are important to know if you or your child was apprehended by campus police, but it is critical to retain experienced legal counsel for assistance with Delaware criminal charges. For more information on defending allegations in the context of student crimes, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica. You can set up a consultation by calling 302.600.1262 or checking out our website. We can discuss strategy after learning more about your story.



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