By: Attorney Brianna Meyer
It is not uncommon for college students to pursue sexual relationships with others. However, despite best efforts to ensure consent, there can sometimes be mixed signals or miscommunication. There are also unfortunately instances where no form of consent is obtained. In some cases, students may be accused of committing sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct. These students will need to understand the potential consequences they may face, including criminal charges and administrative penalties at a university. To ensure that their rights are protected, those who have been accused of misconduct should work with an attorney who is experienced in representing college students.
Administrative Penalties for Sexual Misconduct
A student who is accused of committing sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct may face penalties from their school, even if they are never charged with or convicted of a crime. Once a complaint of sexual misconduct is made to a school’s Title IX office, the school will perform an investigation to gain information about the facts of the case. In some cases, the school holds a hearing to determine whether misconduct occurred, and issue penalties, which may include suspension, expulsion, or restrictions on the types of activities a person can participate in or their contact or communication with the alleged victim.
In a college setting, “sexual misconduct” includes more than just sexual assault. These cases can involve sexual harassment such as unwelcome sexual advances or offensive comments, sexual exploitation such as taking or distributing photos or videos of private body parts or sexual activity without a person’s consent, stalking, or dating violence committed against a romantic partner.
Criminal Charges for Sexual Assault
If a student’s alleged actions are reported to law enforcement, the student may be arrested and charged with a crime. There are many degrees of sexual assault available to a prosecutor for charging – each requiring slightly different elements. Two forms of sexual assault that college students can be charged with are second-degree and third-degree.
A second-degree sexual assault may involve the use of force or violence, and these charges may also apply in cases where an alleged victim was incapable of providing consent because they were intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Second-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony, and a conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Third-degree sexual assault charges may apply in any other cases where a person is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse without obtaining consent. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class G felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.
Contact Our Milwaukee, WI College Sexual Misconduct Attorneys
If you have been accused of sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct while attending college, Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can provide you with legal representation in criminal and administrative proceedings. We will work to protect your rights and help you resolve these matters in a way that will allow you to minimize the consequences to your life and your ability to pursue a college education. Contact our Milwaukee college student sexual assault charges lawyers at 414-271-1440 to get the legal help you need.