Consent in Washington DC Title IX Cases

Charges of sexual assault or violence in the college and university setting have the potential to affect the accused student’s life and reputation permanently. In addition to potential suspension or expulsion from school, a student found responsible for sexual assault or violence could face lifelong consequences, including difficulty gaining employment or attending graduate school in the future.

Given the potential penalties in Title IX cases, you should strongly consider retaining an experienced lawyer who could advocate for your rights at every hearing and legal proceeding. A qualified student defense lawyer can discuss consent in Washington DC Title IX cases and how it might apply to the facts of your claim, and then take measures to defend you at a university hearing and advocate on your behalf.

Defining Consent

Most colleges or universities in Washington DC define consent in their student code of conduct. With regard to consent, the following characteristics usually hold true:

  • The alleged victim’s consent to any sexual activity must be voluntary, informed, and mutual
  • The alleged victim could withdraw their consent to a particular activity at any time
  • The alleged victim cannot give their consent if the accused uses express or implied force, intimidation, duress, or threats against the alleged victim
  • The alleged victim remaining silent or not actively resisting does not necessarily imply consent on their part, nor does having consented to sexual relations with the same person on previous occasions
  • Two individuals being in a relationship does not in and of itself demonstrate consent
  • A person does not have the ability to consent to sexual activity if they are asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated for any reason—including by drugs and/or alcohol—at the time of the incident in question

Objective versus Subjective Standards

While consent in criminal cases can be construed as an objective standard—essentially, what a hypothetical “reasonable person” might have done under the same circumstances—consent in Washington DC Title IX cases can often be a more subjective matter. This is primarily because Title IX defines “unwelcome advances” and “unwelcome sexual contact” in very broad terms.

In light of this, it is usually up to the alleged victim to state whether or not they consented to the activity in question. Given this more subjective standard in the academic context, it might be difficult for an accused person to defend themselves against Title IX charges without experienced and dedicated legal representation.

Consent is Key in Washington DC Title IX Cases

Title IX procedures in the college and university context can be difficult for accused students to manage effectively. In fact, given the heightened pressure on school officials in recent times, investigations are sometimes less thorough than they should be and pressed to conclude quickly

If you or a person you love are facing a Title IX charge, a knowledgeable student defense lawyer might be able to help. Once hired, your attorney could discuss the issue of consent in Washington DC Title IX cases, determine how it might apply to your situation, and develop a plan for pursuing a positive outcome.