We Defend College and High School Students Charged with Disciplinary and Criminal Violations.
What should I do if I am contacted by the police about something that happened either on- or off-campus?
First thing, be polite. Don’t argue, don’t express outrage, don’t insult them. This is critical, because your demeanor will go a long way to determining their perception of you. If you are argumentative or arrogant, they will immediately draw negative conclusions about you, whether or not those conclusions are warranted. Remember, the police are human, and subject to the same biases and influences as anyone else.
Second thing, tell them that you do not wish to speak with them until you have spoken with a lawyer. Period. Ask politely for the name and contact information of the officer and tell him or her that you or your lawyer will respond to them after you have conferred. Do not try to explain anything. Do not answer any questions. You may not even know what they are really investigating. You will not talk your way out of anything, or explain anything away. If they tell you they just want to hear “your side of the story” or want to “clear something up,” don’t fall for it. The police are not in the business of “clearing things up.”
Saying you want to speak with a lawyer before talking to the police does not make you “look guilty.” It makes you smart. You have a right to speak with a lawyer before talking to the police, and no matter what anyone says, asserting that right makes you look like the smart person you are. It may well be that you will wind up talking to the police eventually, and answering their questions, but you will be doing it with the assistance of someone with the knowledge and experience that will protect you through the process. It may well be that your lawyer will contact the police and speak to them for you. Or maybe your lawyer will advise you not to respond at all. In any event, make the smart move and tell the police that you will speak to a lawyer first.
What should I do if I am arrested off-campus?
If you are arrested off-campus, see everything written above, because it all applies to an arrest, the first thing to do after you are released is to contact a lawyer. You
What can happen if I am arrested off-campus?