Common Offenses On DC College Campuses

The following is what college students in Washington, DC should know regarding common criminal offenses found on college campuses. If you have already been charged, call and schedule a consultation with a DC student defense lawyer today to discuss your case and how to proceed.

Destruction of Property Charges

‘Destruction of Property’ on campus involves allegations of destroying or damaging any university property. It can include library holdings, university buildings, any items located inside the university and destruction of property belonging to other students even if that property did not belong to the university.

Theft Charges

Theft involves the taking of property or of services provided by others on campus.

As an example, should a student accept a service provided by university officials that requires payment and the does not provide the payment, it can be considered theft even though an actual item was not taken. In many universities theft can also include possessing property that the student knows to have been stolen even though the student did not actually steal the items.

Noise Violations on Campus

Noise violations are typically considered allegations of disorderly conduct on most university campuses. Disorderly conduct includes shouting, and making excessive noise either inside or outside university buildings. It can also include verbal abuse or acting in a disturbing, threatening or harassing manner. Disorderly conduct can also include disrupting, obstructing or interfering with the activities of others or, in general, behaving in an indecent manner on university property.

Trespassing Charges

Trespassing is considered to be a criminal offense by the District of Columbia United States Attorney’s Office. Any violation, whether it happens on campus or off campus, is considered to be violation by every university’s student code of conduct.

A student entering certain university property without having permission to do so can be charged as both a violation of the criminal law and as a crime in the D.C. Superior Court. A student can also be charged with a violation of a student code of conduct for violating a criminal law. That same rule applies when a student commits an act of unlawful entry anywhere outside of the university setting.
A student accused of trespassing on federal property does not necessarily mean that he or she will be charged with a federal crime. Typically, a charge of trespassing on federal property will be charged as a District of Columbia crime, but could then be also charged as a violation of the student code of conduct because the student committed a violation of a criminal offense.

Trespassing Onto Embassy Property

Trespassing or entry into embassies is typically prosecuted by the D.C. government as a D.C. crime. Once charged as a D.C. crime, it can also be charged as a violation of law offense by the university under the university student code of conduct.

Consequences For Criminal Activity On Campus

When a student is alleged to have committed a crime or a violation of a student code of conduct on campus, two separate situations can result. The student can be charged by government prosecutors and charged in D.C. Superior Court with that allegation. The student can also be charged and brought before the university’s own disciplinary proceedings, which are handled by the university’s judiciary. It is sometimes called the Student Judicial Services, but each university will have its own name for it.

A lawyer can help a student go through the process. A lawyer can help a student with the criminal allegations as well as represent the student to defend against the charges before the D.C. Superior Court. A lawyer can also help a student respond to the allegations that he or she violated the student code of conduct at his or her university, and guide the student through properly defending against any allegations that the student code of conduct was violated.