College campuses are prime locations for many types of criminal behavior, including underage drinking, theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual assault. Students and their parents should be aware of the risky nature of communal living on college campuses. If you or a loved one faces an accusation or charge of any type of college crime, discuss your options with an attorney.
Throughout 2014, police and security agencies recorded more than 27,000 criminal offenses against people and property on college campuses. Roughly 50% of these recorded crimes involved burglary, or the theft of property from a private residence. About 25% of the reported offenses involved sexual crimes such as sexual battery or rape. The remainder includes motor vehicle theft, assault, and robbery.
It’s likely a student who commits any type of criminal act on campus will face criminal prosecution from the state as well as disciplinary action from the college. Many college campuses follow a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and sexual assault, so a student convicted of such a crime will likely face expulsion or some kind of academic probation in addition to criminal penalties.
College life often revolves around intense study sessions, classes, and partying for most students. Students under the age of 21 who consume alcohol could face charges of public intoxication, and anyone who supplies alcohol to minors faces criminal charges. Hazing and bullying are also unfortunately common in many sororities and fraternities, and many campus hazing and initiation rituals have led to severe injuries and even fatalities.
Students who live in dorms need to take care with his or her valuables. Theft is very common in college dormitories because of the relative ease of access to residents’ valuables. Students should keep personal effects on-hand or in a safe location, and lock dorm room doors whenever he or she leaves for class or social engagements.
While the school assumes some responsibility for the safety and well-being of students, most college students are over the age of 18, and, therefore, adults in the eyes of the law. Personal responsibility goes a long way in the prevention of college crimes, and individuals who break the law in college put his or her future at grave risk. If negligent security or any type of negligence on part of the school contributes to a campus crime, the school, itself, may absorb some liability. However, the majority of criminal offenses that occur on campus involve outsiders or visitors.
In some cases, a combination of several individuals can face liability for a campus crime. For example, imagine a trespasser gains entry to a college dorm thanks to a faulty security door. The individual steals personal property from several unlocked rooms and sexually assaults a student. In this situation, the security staff on duty would likely absorb some liability for failing to prevent the intrusion, but the school could also face liability for allowing the security door to fall into disrepair.
If you are facing a criminal charge for an offense committed on a college campus, it’s vital to secure legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights. If you are guilty in any way, your attorney may be able to help you plea down to lesser charges or argue for a lighter sentence with compelling evidence. If you receive a false accusation of any type of college crime, your attorney will help you defeat the prosecution’s case and preserve your freedom.
The attorneys at Fischer Redavid PLLC have extensive experience with all types of criminal defense cases in Florida, and we want to help you. If you or a loved one faces an accusation, arrest, or criminal charge for a college-related crime in Gainesville, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. Once we review the charges against you and the details of your case, we can help you build a defense and help preserve your future.