Columbia Campus Sexual Assault Lawyer

Colleges and universities want to protect the students, and they want to have a safe environment for everyone on their campus. One of the major impacts of college campuses in recent years is the emphasis on making students and parents feel safe and secure. The colleges like the University of South Carolina, Benedict College, Allen University, and Midlands Technical College all pursue the creation of a safe environment that also protects the institution from litigation.

In order to achieve these goals, colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases aggressively. An accused person may have to go through the Title IX process or the South Carolina Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Office, whether there is evidence against them or not. If there are criminal charges, the court can handle the process, but even without pending charges, a university may pursue the allegations by itself.

If you have been accused of committing sexual assault on campus, it is best to seek help from a student defense attorney as soon as possible. A Columbia campus sexual assault lawyer could help you understand the charges, the law, and the potential consequences of a conviction. Let a knowledgeable attorney help you fight the charges.

The Differences Between Sexual Misconduct Charges for Harassment, Assault, and Rape

The University of South Carolina’s campus code of conduct has individual definitions that apply to specific allegations. They have policies regarding sexual assault, hazing policy, a sexual harassment policy, a discrimination policy, a stalking and relationship violence policy, and other forms of conduct like cyberbullying or voyeurism. In the South Carolina code of laws, all of these are considered criminal sexual conduct.

An experienced Columbia campus sexual assault lawyer could help individuals understand the differences between the sexual misconduct offenses as well as the potential penalties of each.

The Preponderance of Evidence

The standard that they use at the University of South Carolina is very similar to the preponderance of the evidence. It is a very low standard and is nowhere near the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal trials. These cases can lack due process as such as in criminal cases, like the right to present a full and complete defense, the right to cross-examination, or the right to obtain certain documents.

The process can be fundamentally unfair when the standard is so low. It is easy to have a finding against the accused on a mere accusation when the standard is that low.

Issue of Consent

Consent is obvious in many cases and can be one of the biggest things to sway the board in a code of judicial conduct hearing. Consent is essentially the defense. If someone has willingly, openly, with full knowledge consented to the sexual act, then that would be a direct defense to the other person making the allegation that they were raped. Finding evidence of consent is one of the main strategic points in building a strong defense.

Outside of paper evidence, audio recordings, or other items that can help show consent, these cases, unfortunately, come down to a “he said, she said” argument that can be difficult to overcome.

Consequences for Sexual Assault on Campus

The potential consequences of being found responsible for sexual assault charges on campus is being expelled. The person may be kicked off campus while the case goes through the code of judicial conduct. Other possibilities include suspension, probation, the requirement to move to another dorm, not being able to live in certain areas or take certain classes, and other restrictions.

Being found responsible for rape on campus can result in expulsion, suspension, restrictions on living and on classes one can take, mandatory rehabilitation, and more.

How a Student Defense Attorney Could Help

A student defense attorney starts by gathering all the information about the case and building a strategic plan of defense. They start listing out what witnesses need to be interviewed. They work to investigate all aspects of the case, get testimony from witnesses, and find other evidence that may support that the sexual act was consensual.

Let a tenacious defense attorney help you avoid or mitigate the consequences. Call today to learn about how a Columbia campus sexual assault lawyer could help your case.