Have You Been Charged with Failure to Leave Campus or Facility of University System or School in Georgia?
College campuses and facilities of the university system of Georgia have rules for students as well as visitors to the schools. One such provision can be found in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-35. However, a violation of this law can result in the suspect being charged with a crime. Even though it may have been a mistake or a misunderstanding, you could be arrested or charged under this statute. If you or a loved one has been charged with failing to leave campus when directed in Georgia, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. We will make sure your rights and your future are protected. Call now for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law on Failure to Leave Campus or Facility of University System or School
O.C.G.A. § 16-11-35(b)
In any case in which a person who is not a student or officer or employee of a unit of the university system or of a public school and who is not required by his or her employment to be on the campus or any other facility of any such unit or of any public school enters the campus or facility, and it reasonably appears to the chief administrative officer of the campus or facility, or to any officer or employee designated by him or her to maintain order on the campus or facility, that such person is committing any act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the campus or facility, or has entered the campus or facility for the purpose of committing any such act, the chief administrative officer or the officers or employees designated by him or her to maintain order on the campus or facility may direct the person to leave the campus or facility.
The intent of the statute is to criminalize an act of continued unauthorized presence on state college campuses where the presence has or might result in the disruption of the peaceful conduct of the educational activities taking place there. The right to exclude someone's presence derives from the State's power as a property owner to limit the use of the public property. This statute was not enacted to bar the use of the campuses for peaceful activities that are not in conformity with the educational objectives of the facility. Instead, this law was intended to protect the educational facilities and ensures that authorized educational activities, as well as the property itself, will be free from unauthorized invasion.
O.C.G.A. § 16-11-35 protects college activities from unauthorized disruption, and O.C.G.A. § 16-7-21 (criminal trespass) protects college campuses from unauthorized use. These laws work together to protect schools from unauthorized acts.
Georgia Case Law
Multiple defendants were convicted of failing to leave the campus of Atlanta Junior College when asked to leave after conducting activities related to unpopular political beliefs. The defendants were neither students nor faculty members of the college. They were using the campus for the pursuit of their personal activities and refused to leave when the dean requested. During the trial, the defendants argued that their activities were not disruptive but were peaceful. The Court ruled that the State may control the use of its property for its own nondiscriminatory purposes. Therefore, even though the defendants claimed their activities were peaceful, the Court found that they could have caused a disruption. Therefore, the dean was justified in asking the defendants to leave the property. The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld their conviction of failing to leave campus when directed. Brooks v. State, 170 Ga. App. 440, (1984).
The Penalty for Failure to Leave Campus or Facility of University System or School When Directed in Georgia
A person convicted of failure to leave campus in Georgia will be charged with a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The maximum penalty is up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Georgia Defenses to Failure to Leave Campus or Facility of University System or School
I had authority to conduct the activity: A key element of this offense is that the accused does not have permission to perform their act on the campus. Evidence that they were granted authorization would negate an essential element of the crime.
The activity was peaceful without any chance of disruption: This defense is more difficult to prove, but our failure to leave campus or facility when directed attorneys are experienced in building your case to support this argument.
These are just some of the numerous defenses that could be applied to your case. Every case is different, and there are plenty more arguments we can make on your behalf. Call now, and we will start preparing your best defense!
If you or a loved one has been charged with Failure to Leave Campus or Facility of University System or School When Directed in Georgia, contact us now. We will immediately start preparing your defense. We promise to walk you through every step of the criminal process and update you of your options as we go. We care about your future and ensure your rights will be protected. Remember, a charge is not the same as a conviction. Call now for a free case evaluation.