College Park Title IX Lawyer
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act requires all colleges and universities to take complaints of sexual assault and misconduct very seriously, which can have potentially harsh results. Accusations of sexual assault may lead colleges to suspend or expel students, even if no criminal charges result from the incident.
As a result, taking the time to seek the advice of a College Park Title IX lawyer can be essential to protecting yourself and your future.
Different schools have varying definitions of conduct that rises to the level of sexual misconduct, but most school policies include behavior such as sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse. The standard of proof in these proceedings is much lower than that required to convict individuals of a sex-related criminal offense.
A student defense attorney may be able to represent your interests whether you are facing university disciplinary proceedings, criminal prosecution, or both.
Title IX Violations on Campus
Under Title IX, a federal law that governs all colleges and universities that receive federal funding, these educational institutions must respond promptly to any accusations of sexual misconduct. Colleges must conduct thorough investigations of the alleged misconduct.
Students accused of sexual misconduct have no rights to legal representation and no presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, if college officials determine that it is more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred, then the accused students may face immediate disciplinary action.
Similarly, although colleges typically have procedures in place to determine the appropriate corrective actions for the accused students, they rarely offer them the same protections as the criminal justice system.
As a result, students may end up arbitrarily expelled from school with permanent scars on their school records that can make pursuing higher education and specific careers simply out of the question.
Evidentiary Issues with Title IX Proceedings
While colleges may be better equipped to deal with student misconduct involving plagiarism or academic honesty, they rarely have the resources or expertise to conduct what amounts to a criminal investigation.
They do not utilize any rules of evidence, which can make the uncorroborated statements of the complainant the basis for the expulsion of other college students. Nor do schools have to wait until an actual criminal investigation, if any, takes place, before making crucial decisions about the futures of accused students.
Furthermore, if disciplinary proceedings occur in the middle of a criminal investigation, the risk is that the accused students may say something that incriminates them.
Without the right to legal representation throughout these proceedings, students may inadvertently subject themselves to criminal prosecution that otherwise might not have occurred. This is one reason why seeking the legal advice of a Title IX lawyer in College Park can be so important.
Outcomes of Sexual Misconduct Allegations
While impartial judges and juries hear cases that involve accusations of criminal wrongdoing, university administrators and students make decisions about the cases of students accused of sexual misconduct. Administrators have a vested interest in complying with Title IX or risk losing federal funding, which may make them more prone to judge students harshly.
According to a Title IX attorney in College Park, the lack of neutrality in these proceedings makes a finding of wrongdoing much more likely.
If a college or university disciplinary committee or board finds that a student has committed sexual assault or some sexual misconduct, the probability of suspension or even expulsion is quite high. This can cause a loss of college credit and problems gaining admission to any other educational institutions. Perhaps most significantly, a finding of misconduct by a college or university could bolster a prosecution on criminal charges.
Contact a College Park Title IX Attorney for Advice
While no sexual assault or abuse is acceptable, colleges and universities often overreach in their efforts to comply with Title IX and protect students from these types of offenses. A simple misunderstanding, lack of communication, or a night of drinking can lead to accusations of sexual misconduct that are likely to be devastating to your future. A College Park Title IX lawyer may be able to defend you against allegations of sexual assault, both on campus and in a courtroom, if necessary.
Despite the potential severity of these allegations, various defenses may be available to you, depending upon your circumstances. By seeking legal advice and assistance as quickly as possible after learning of allegations of sexual misconduct, you may have a better chance of raising a productive and successful defense.