Top Reasons Why Students Get Charged with Crimes in College Dorms

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Defense Lawyers for Dorm Room Criminal Charges in New Brunswick NJ

New Jersey boasts a number of world-class colleges, including Rutgers, Seton Hall, and many others. College can be a time to explore and test limits, but sometimes reckless behavior can have severe and lasting legal consequences. Sometimes, engaging in underage drinking or drug use, among other illegal activities, in your dorm room can lead to a referral to the campus disciplinary committee and internal punishment within the college. But other times, school security guards or resident assistants may call the police, leading to arrests and criminal prosecution on charges for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, intent to distribute drugs, and many other crimes. This situation can lead to conviction, punishment, and further campus disciplinary proceedings or even expulsion. Here are some of the most common reasons for dorm room arrests in New Jersey and what you can do if you are faced with such a situation.

If you are facing criminal charges for drugs, drinking, disorderly conduct, or another offense in your dorm room at Rutgers in New Brunswick or another university in New Jersey, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney before taking any further steps in your case. It is essential to know all of your options if you are seeking to protect your criminal record and your student status. Our criminal lawyers regularly defend college students who have been arrested and charged with crimes, as well as those facing disciplinary proceedings for alleged violations of the student code of conduct at their university. Contact us today by calling (732) 659-9600 or send us a message for a no cost, no obligation consultation about your case.

Caught Drinking Underage in Your Dorm

Although underage drinking occurs on virtually every college campus, drinking to excess in your dorm room can trigger disciplinary proceedings or even arrest. According to a recent report, Rowan University, a state school with over 18,000 students, had the highest number of arrests and referral for underage drinking in the state, with 100 arrests and 387 disciplinary referrals. The College of New Jersey and Stockton University placed number “2” and “3” on the list for the highest number of underage drinking arrests or referrals in the state. Students should be aware that if they are caught in possession of alcohol underage or drink to excess and cause problems for resident assistants, campus security, or other students, school officials are unlikely to turn a blind eye and may even support criminal prosecution on charges for alcohol and potentially disorderly conduct.

Smoking Marijuana or Using Drugs in a Dorm Room

Obviously, some students smoke marijuana and some even smoke weed in their dorm rooms. Last year, a Centenary University student in Van Winkle Hall set off a fire alarm due to smoking marijuana in his dorm—causing students in the hall to evacuate—and resulting in a police response and the student’s arrest. The Centenary University student handbook notes that drug offense convictions can result in expulsion or suspension.

Other students grow marijuana in their dorm rooms. For instance, Madison, NJ police received a report from Public Safety Officers at Drew University of a small marijuana-grow taking place in a Drew dorm room. The student involved was arrested and charged with possession of marijuanamanufacturing marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia, all serious criminal offenses.

Selling Drugs or Growing Weed in Your Dorm

Still other students may sell their prescriptions for Adderall, painkillers (ie. Oxycontin, Percocet), and other prescription drugs to make extra money out of their dorm rooms, or even sell hard drugs. Police aggressively investigate these crimes, which can result in arrests for controlled dangerous substances violations potentially leading to indictable (or “felony-level”) charges and convictions. For example, news outlets reported that two Rutgers students were arrested in 2011 for selling hard drugs out of their dorm room and were held on $50,000 bail. These stories and many more underscore that officials do not ignore illegal behavior just because the person involved is a college student.

What to do if Charged with a Dorm-Related Crime in NJ

College is a critical time period, as students are preparing to launch their lives and enter the workforce. Many have often taken out massive student loans to help them obtain their college degree. An arrest for a drug crime, drinking, or any other criminal charges like assault or sexual assault, can place all your work throughout high school and all the loans you have signed for at risk. This is why it is crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney, and ideally an attorney with experience navigating college disciplinary proceedings as well, if you are facing criminal charges related to dorm room behavior. Call (732) 659-9600 now for the help you need. Our team is available anytime, day or night, to provide you with a free consultation and discuss your defense options.

William Proetta

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.