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College, University or School-Related Sexual Offenses

Over the last twenty-five years, I've represented many students who have been charged with sex-related offenses either occurring on-campus or off-campus. 

These cases are particularly troubling because if you are convicted of a sex-related offense in addition to all the penalties that come along with it at the criminal level, it can cause you to be kicked out of your school cause you problems getting into another school and can affect your future because of the conviction and the ramifications that come along with sex offense cases. 

And I tell you, I've seen many of these cases are more than meets the eye.  Sometimes there is alcohol involved, and the party that's being accused of a sex offense didn't do anything wrong and is being charged for various reasons that are dissociated with criminal conduct

For example, many times, two individuals will get drunk at a party.  Maybe they know each other; perhaps they don't know each other.  One thing will lead to another; they'll end up in a room together, they'll be kissing, and then something sexual will happen, and then the other party wakes up and somehow thinks something wrong has happened to them. 

Either they have a boyfriend, and now they feel guilty, or they can't remember what happened because they drank so much.  That doesn't necessarily mean that anything inappropriate happened from a criminal context.

What it boils down to is consent.  Suppose somebody consented or it appeared they consented based on their acts and the circumstances surrounding the meeting between the two parties. In that case, that's not a criminal case, and it shouldn't be charged criminally.

A lot of times, in addition to looking at criminal charges, the person is looking at expulsion from school based on many allegations that simply aren't fair under the circumstances. 

I mean, that's really where you have to get an attorney who has done these cases before so they can best advise you on how to deal with both the criminal aspect of it – dealing with the police, the criminal case – and also what you should do and say when it relates to your school and defending yourself there and trying to avoid being expelled from school and all the other potential ramifications that come along with that.

What are some Defenses when it Comes to Student-Related Sex Allegations?

Well, one defense is consent.  If somebody agrees or consents to the subject activity, then obviously that's not a crime.  That's just really a factual scenario as to whether or not somebody agreed to a particular activity. 

So, there's no cookie-cutter approach to this.  You've got to look at the facts and circumstances surrounding what happened, why you believe that charges were filed against you, whether the person had some improper motive or bias against you, and this is where you get your list of questions together. 

You get all the details the best you can remember, sit down with your criminal defense attorney, and give them all the details about what happened. 

Don't omit anything or put a spin on anything.  Tell them the truth so they can best help you in formulating either a plan to defend you completely or a plan for damage control so that you can preserve some of your valuable rights, like your reputation, your freedom, your future, your record, and all the things that are going to be important to you moving forward.

So, some of the available defenses kind of spin on the facts of the case.  You may have witnesses who saw certain things inconsistent with what the alleged victim is now saying. 

You may have some other physical evidence that's inconsistent with what the alleged victim is now saying.  There are all sorts of things that can be done to defend you, but your best strategy is to have somebody on your side who has done these types of cases before, and once they hear your version of events, they can guide you through what is a complex system at times.

So, what I have people do, you come into the office, we sit down under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege, and then that person gives me all the details of what happened. Then I let them know what they're facing, what type of strategy we should have, what they can do to help, and what I'm going to do to help them. 

And then we're both moving forward on the same page in the direction that will be the best for that particular person, under those specific circumstances. 

So, if you're charged with a sex-related offense, and you're a student on a college campus, a high school campus, or any school setting, these types of cases are complicated to deal with. 

Another problem is that the authorities sometimes are not that sophisticated – campus police, administrators – don't know what to do in these cases. Often, they jump to conclusions and don't handle things reasonably. 

So, getting your version of events across in the most professional way is an essential strategy – and you're going to want to do that with the guidance of a trained, seasoned criminal defense attorney.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

I'll privately discuss your case with you at your convenience. All consultations are free, discreet, and confidential. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.