Common Offenses on New Haven College Campuses

Criminal offenses on campus cannot, and should not be taken lightly. Although they happen in an environment that implies a sense of safe space from criminal law, an offense on campus is treated no differently than an offense off campus. Law enforcement, in conjunction with university police, can work together in prosecuting an individual for a variety of criminal offenses.

In these situations, it is incredibly important to hire a New Haven student defense attorney, in order to ensure that the specific needs of your case are met with attention and determination.

Theft Offenses

There are a number of ways that theft charges arise on, or near college campuses. Whether these crimes take place at the campus store, or off campus at a nearby restaurant or clothing shop, they are taken seriously by both campus and local police departments. In Connecticut, a theft is charged as one of six degrees of larceny. The degree that an individual will be charged with is dependent upon the value of the items that were allegedly stolen.

There are a number of ways that someone can commit larceny, with shoplifting being among the most common. Other common instances of larceny occur when an individual leaves a bar without paying their bar tab, or takes a taxi and refuses to pay the taxi fare. The most common examples associated with college campuses are related to alcohol or other substances, which lead an individual to make a poor decision. No matter the circumstance, these crimes are treated as larceny.

Theft and larceny crimes are something that individuals should take extremely seriously. This is because, with campus police involved, the crime can move from a matter of moral turpitude to a crime of truthfulness. This can have a detrimental impact on students when they apply for jobs later in life. A larceny conviction, even as a misdemeanor, can be a major problem for anyone trying to get a job. This is especially true for jobs in the financial or governmental sectors.


Trespassing in Connecticut is typically a minor misdemeanor. It is a criminal offense that can very often be resolved fairly easily.

However, college and university campuses are unique in that they can be highly classified. This is particularly true with colleges such as Yale University and other colleges in the Connecticut area that have relationships with federal entities and federal government agencies. In those unique settings, a simple trespassing charge can turn into a much bigger deal. This can make a trespassing charge very unique in terms of how it is handled on a college campus.

Destruction of Property

Destruction of property charges, most commonly known as vandalism, typically falls within the criminal offense of criminal mischief. A criminal mischief charge is a broad category of crime that encompasses property destruction and vandalism. Although they can be minor offenses, often the cases can be resolved if a person is compensated for that property. However, there are unique situations where that property is either very expensive, has great meaning to the school, or is irreplaceable. In these cases, it is incredibly important to have a student defense attorney that can help make sure whichever campus criminal offense occurred, the penalties and consequences will be minimalized.

There are a number of options for fighting these cases, and they are unique to each individual case. They can be very minor, from $20 or $30 for the actual property that was destroyed, or they can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A recent case at Yale University shows the difference in how some destruction of property cases are handled. The case involved an individual destroying a racially-heated painting that was fairly well-known and valuable. However, given the community and the current tensions between the police and various races of the communities, the school elected to not pursue the case, realizing that a person was offended by it.

There are a number of high profile cases that have involved this type of destruction of property, and they are unique to each university and school. This is because the case is dependent on the value of the item as it is associated with that specific property. Destruction of property and vandalism cases can occur on college campuses, become very highly contested based on the value of the property, and be quite expensive.

Other Common Offenses

On college campuses, some of the most common criminal offenses include:

  • Charges of Assault: This can be anything ranging from a minor fight in a dorm to a shooting or brutal bar fight where someone becomes severely injured.
  • Breach of Peace
  • Criminal Mischief: This charge mostly originates with damage or destruction of property. This can have severe consequences depending on the degree associated with the criminal mischief. This is normally determined by the dollar figure associated with the damage of property.
  • Larceny: Along with theft, larceny has six different degrees that each carry a different penalty. The degree is dependent upon the monetary value of the property that is alleged to have been stolen.
  • Trespassing: This is when someone is found in a location where they are not supposed to be. This is either because they were told not to be there, or there were posted signs.

On top of the offenses listed, there are a number of criminal offenses that can occur on campus at any college or university setting.

Benefits of  a Lawyer

A lawyer can help in connection with any college offense, simply because they all classify as criminal offenses. Criminal offense means that the person will be arrested and prosecuted by the state of Connecticut in the criminal courts. Hiring a New Haven attorney to assist in the criminal courts, as well as a student defense attorney who understands both the court and the school ramifications can take steps from the beginning to ensure that the consequences are addressed and minimized as best as possible.

There are a number of options in building a defense, evaluating the evidence, and taking both the criminal proceeding and the school proceeding into consideration. A defense attorney familiar with the school hearings and procedures can assist in evaluating the evidence, the proof that the school has, and the rights and options available to that student. They can also assist by preparing the student for any hearing. Most importantly, they can address the criminal consequences and explain what options are available in a criminal court. Lastly, a student defense attorney can act as a liaison between the school and the student and parents.