Do Police Have the Right to Search College Dorms?
Posted on Mar 13, 2014 12:36pm UTC
Everyone has the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures, but what privacy rights do college students have when it comes to their dorm rooms? Dormitories are owned by colleges and universities, so many wonder whether campus police and security can come in and search without a warrant. If you are a college student, keep reading to find out about your rights.
- Know Your Rental Agreement – Most colleges and universities will have a rental agreement that students must sign in order to live in the dormitories or other campus-provided housing. While many students sign these without reading them, thoroughly read your rental agreement and even keep a copy on-hand for reference. An important aspect of your school housing rental agreement is when school officials may and may not enter your room.
- Get Familiar with Campus Policy – In addition to your rental agreement, campuses typically have codes and procedures their campus security/police must abide by. These codes differ from campus to campus, but will generally have provisions for when security can and cannot enter and search a student’s room.
- Assert Your Rights When Given Opportunity – By familiarizing yourself with your school’s rental agreement and campus police policies, you will be able to assert your rights when confronted with the opportunity. For example, some universities allow campus police to enter a student’s room, but do not authorize searches. By knowing your rights, you can avoid potentially self-incriminating situations.
There are a number of colleges and universities in and around Houston, such as the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, The University of Texas Health Science Center, and more. If you live in campus provided housing and you were arrested after a search of your dorm room, contact a Houston criminal defense attorney at Billy Skinner & Associates today.
For more information, read our page about your rights after an arrest.