Why Hire a Berkeley, CA Title IX Lawyer
When you or your child face Title IX violations, a criminal defense lawyer is key to fighting your charges. They benefit you in the following ways:
They Thoroughly Understand Title IX Laws
Title IX accusations can be difficult to understand due to their complexity. A Title 9 lawyer provides the clarity you need to grasp the potential ramifications of a guilty verdict. They know your rights and won’t back down in court.
They’ll Safeguard Your Future
Your Title IX lawyer can work to negotiate plea agreements and handle negotiations with school investigators to protect your future.
They’ll Handle Educational Institution Inquiries
When there are allegations or inquiries into your conduct, your Title IX attorney will draft the necessary responses and work with officials to defend your educational rights.
Title IX Lawyer for All Crimes
Title IX violations encompass a wide range of crimes you could be charged with. No matter your charges, Seth Morris helps defend against all offenses.
You could be charged with the following crimes:
- Sexual harassment – Under 34 CFR § 106.30, this includes unwanted attention, advances, or conduct that is pervasive, as well as multiple sex offenses.
- Rape – Under California Penal Code § 261 involves nonconsensual sexual intercourse under several circumstances
- Attempted rape – Under California Penal Code § 664, it is illegal for anyone to attempt to commit a crime.
- False imprisonment – Under California Penal Code § 236, this involves the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another
- Stalking – Under California Penal Code § 646.9 or 18 U.S.C. § 2261A, this involves anyone who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another and makes a credible threat to cause them to fear for their safety
Penalties for a Berkeley, CA Title IX Conviction
Title IX violations warrant penalties from the state and educational institution. Some crimes are considered wobblers, which can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
Here are common Title IX-related crimes:
- Rape – Felony resulting in up to eight years in state prison; fines up to $10,000.
- Attempted rape – Four years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
- False imprisonment – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines up to $1,000. Felonies result in up to three years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
- Stalking – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1,000. Felonies result in up to three years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000. Federal penalties could result in a life sentence.
Additional Consequences from Your Educational Institution
Sexual harassment or other academic violations in Berkeley, CA, could result in administrative proceedings, restricted access to certain areas on campus, your transcripts being withheld, suspension, or expulsion.
Further, schools do not require proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but rather a preponderance of the evidence. It is much easier for the prosecution to prove you were more likely than not to commit the crime rather than prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is how schools try to limit your attorney’s involvement. That’s why it takes a skilled attorney with experience defending these types of cases to achieve a desirable outcome.
Mistakes to Avoid When Facing Title IX Charges
Many people accused of Title IX violations must avoid any mistakes that could hurt their case.
Contacting Your Accuser
You may think you can contact your accuser to smooth things over and get the matter resolved quietly. However, reaching out to contact the alleged victim could make your situation worse. If a restraining or protective order was issued, contacting the alleged victim in any way could result in your arrest and be used as evidence against you.
Failing to Follow Rules & Regulations
As your school investigates the allegations against you, be sure to follow the rules and regulations they have implemented. These may include limiting the areas you have access to on-campus and ordering you to stay away from the alleged victim.
If you have questions regarding your rights and responsibilities during this time, your Title IX attorney can help you protect your future.
More About the Title IX Complaint Process
Every educational institute has its systems in place for handling Title IX complaints.
The process begins when the complainant accuses the respondent of a Title IX violation of some kind. Campus-appointed investigators can then review the evidence to determine whether the complaint has merit and what exactly happened in your case.
When either party objects to the campus investigator's findings, the involved parties will attend a hearing. But these hearings are unlike court trials. Any questions you would like addressed will be submitted to the hearing officer. It is then their discretion to decide whether to address them at your hearing.
Neither party is allowed to address each other during the hearing. Only the hearing officer will have the authority to make a determination after reviewing the evidence in your case.
Pursuing an Appeal
If the hearing officer’s decision does not return in your favor, you have the option of pursuing a written appeal.
Potential sanctions if the hearing officer does not decide in your favor include:
- Campus restrictions
- No-contact orders
- Completion of sexual harassment courses
Defenses Against Title IX Charges in Berkeley, CA
While your Title IX lawyer can help you handle your educational institution, you also need to be prepared to go up against any criminal charges you may face.
The following are common defenses used in Title IX cases:
When you have been charged with or accused of a sex crime in violation of Title IX, the charges against you should be dismissed if the sexual encounters were consensual. Evidence including video footage, communication exchanges, witness statements, and more could prove valuable in supporting your case.
Lack of Intent
For many Title IX violations and criminal offenses, there must be intent for you to be found guilty. Your attorney may be able to show the court that you lacked the intent needed for a conviction to apply.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Police and law enforcement officials only have the right to conduct searches when they have a warrant or the consent of the property owner. Any evidence obtained during unlawful searches is inadmissible. If this illegally obtained evidence is the center of the case against you, the charges against you could be reduced or dismissed.