Over the past few years, the media and the public have become increasingly concerned about the ways in which sexual assault and rape accusations are handled on college campuses. For too long, victims have been denied the justice owed to them due to inadequate and callous responses to their accusations by campus authorities.
As a result of these systemic challenges, colleges and universities across America have vowed to support individuals who have accused other students of committing sexual assault. While this is a noble goal, the current cultural climate is overreaching to the extent that many students who have been accused of sexual assault feel that there is no way for their names to be properly cleared. Thankfully, criminal defense attorneys experienced in representing college students in sexual assault cases can help falsely accused individual avoid criminal consequences and insist upon proper treatment by campus authorities. They can also help individuals who have committed wrongdoing understand their rights and navigate the criminal defense process.
One of the most common campus culture realignment recommendations that authorities are embracing is the policy of treating accusations as if they are true. This policy helps to ensure that victims are treated with respect and that accusations are treated with urgency. While this is a positive approach in regards to victims, it robs accused persons of the right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. As a result, students accused of sexual assault are made to feel like criminals by campus authorities (and potentially by law enforcement by extension) even if no formal charges have been filed against them.
While it is vitally important to respect and protect the rights of sexual assault victims, it is also vitally important to respect and protect the rights of individuals accused of sexual assault. Unfortunately, many sexual assault victims are drugged prior to their assaults and they may not accurately remember who harmed them. In addition, a very small number of individuals do falsely accuse others of assault due to a number of challenging reasons. As a result, too many students are falsely accused of sexual assault and treated as criminals immediately.
If you are a student who has been charged with sexually assaulting another student, please understand that you are not alone. Whether you have been falsely accused or you have committed wrongdoing, you have rights under the law. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you to understand your rights and to help you through the criminal defense process both in regards to law enforcement and in regards to campus authorities.