Did your child land in legal trouble after going off to college?

It can be frightening as a parent to send your kids off to college. After roughly 18 years of caring for him or her, your child is ready to live on his or her own, make choices independently and learn important life lessons. Sometimes, this does not always go well, and a young college student may make certain mistakes that could land him or her in trouble. 

One important step you can take as a parent is to educate your child about dealing with campus police. It is always smart for a college student to know exactly what type of authority an on-campus police officer has and to understand what a student should do in the event of questioning or arrest. It is prudent to teach your kid how to react in certain circumstances and how to protect their own rights and interests.

Security guards or police?

One common question many students have is whether the on-campus officers they see are real police or hired security. Every campus approaches the issue of security and law enforcement differently, and it is possible that your child's security force is comprised of both. Many Louisiana colleges and universities contract with local police jurisdictions for their on-campus security force. It may be helpful for your child to consider the following: 

  • Private security guards have limited authority. They may be able to question a student, but they may not have the authority to arrest a student.
  • Local police working on campus have the same scope of authority as they do off campus. They can arrest and question a student.
  • Depending on the terms of the student housing agreement, campus security may be able to enter a dorm room and search if there is suspicion of criminal activity.
  • Students have the right to ask for a lawyer if security or police are questioning them. 

As a parent, you will want to take quick action to help your child in his or her time of need. When your college-age child calls to tell you that he or she is in trouble, you may find it beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney on his or her behalf as soon as possible. 

When a college student faces criminal charges, he or she could face multiple consequences that could change their lives. From time behind bars to loss of scholarships to expulsion from school, you will want to help your child avoid penalties that could compromise his or her future.

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