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Your Legal Rights in the U.S.

ESF must update SEVIS within 21 days with "Any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of the student being convicted of a crime." If you are arrested or charged with a crime, it is extremely important that you obtain legal counsel that is competent in both criminal law and immigration law.

Personal Rights

If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful about what you say when approached by law enforcement officials. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, it is extremely important that you obtain legal counsel that is competent in both criminal law and immigration law.

The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) "Know Your Rights" booklet provides effective and useful guidance in a user-friendly question and answer format.

Know Your Rights when Encountering Law Enforcement

The ACLU has also published a card, “What To Do If You Are Stopped By The Police.” It contains a list of do’s and don’ts in several situations:

-If police come to your home
-If you are stopped for questioning
-If you are stopped in your car
-If you are arrested and taken to a police station

The card is available in pdf format and can be folded up and kept in your wallet or purse.

Additional Resources

Student/ Academic Rights

Information about your student rights (pp. 31-32) including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act (FERPA) (pp. 56-58) )and Academic Grievance Procedure (pp. 46-50) are outlined in the Student Handbook.

SU Student Legal Services

SU Student Legal Services provide free legal services to SU and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry student who have paid the student activity fee and are registered students.

760 Ostrom Ave
Phone: 443-4532
Fax: 443-3816

Attorneys provide advice on a wide variety of legal problems and can also prepare documents such as simple wills, power of attorney forms and separation agreements. In addition, where a student is a defendant or a potential defendant, legal representation up to and including all stages of trial will be provided in cases which originate in Onondaga County of which the following are representative:

  • Landlord - Tenant problems
  • Consumer matters
  • University disciplinary problems
  • University related problems
  • Traffic moving violations in the City of Syracuse
  • Misdemeanors and certain felonies
  • Uncontested matrimonial problems and family law problems
  • Negligence suits

If this program is unable to provide representation on a particular legal matter, then we may be able to refer you to another person, service, or agency such as the Lawyer's Reference Service that can assist you. Lawyer's Reference Service is a program operated by the Onondaga County Bar Association to help people find attorneys. Lawyer's Reference Service can be contacted at 471-2690.

Legal Aid Providers in Central NY

The following organizations provide legal aid to qualified applicants.

  • Legal Services of Central NY
    Pro Bono Program
    (315) 475-3127 
  • The Hiscock Legal Aid Society
    (315) 422-8191 
  • Onondaga County Bar Association's Neighborhood Talk to a Lawyer Program

    Volunteer lawyers are on hand to meet and listen to legal problems and offer advice and referrals.  Meetings take place at three community locations.

    • Westcott Community Center (826 Euclid St. corner of Westcott St.) Thursdays 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Franciscan Legal Clinic (804 North Salina Street) Thursdays 6 - 8 p.m.
    • Brown Memorial Church (corner of Geddes and Davis St.) Mondays 5:30 - 7:30 p.m
    • St. Matthew's Catholic Church (229 West Yates Street, East Syracuse) Every Tuesday 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
      The program is anonymous and free. Dates and times are subject to change; please consult the Onondaga Community Bar Association website to confirm time and location.
  • International Institute of Buffalo, Inc.
    Buffalo: (716) 883-1900.
    Immigration assistance to those wishing to immigrate to the U. S. (primarily from Canada)

International Students and Arrests