If you've found your way to this page, you're probably facing a Title IX sexual misconduct charge from your school. Here's the first thing you need to know before you go any further: you can't handle this situation on your own. You're in college, you're smart, but you're not a lawyer. Title IX is a federal law. It's complicated with lots of tricky rules and procedures. Plus, it's no exaggeration to say that your entire future rests on the outcome. At most schools, the minimum penalty for a Title IX violation is suspension. The more likely penalty is expulsion. You're going to need as much help as you can get.
Luckily, Title IX allows you to choose an advisor to help with your case, and that advisor can be—and should be—an attorney. Below, we take you through some of the most important provisions in the law, so you'll know exactly what you're up against. By the time you're done, though, we think you'll agree: you need to call Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento as soon as possible.
Title IX Rules and Procedures
Title IX cases have two parts: an investigation and a hearing. Here's how they work.
- Your case will likely originate with an accusation made to your school's Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator must then decide whether or not to open an official investigation against you.
- If the Coordinator does decide to open a case against you, they must provide you with notice of the charges. This notice should include the name of your accuser as well as details about the allegation. It should also include information about your rights as a respondent, including:
- The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
- The right to be presumed “not responsible” until proven “responsible
- The right to review all evidence against you
- An Investigator—someone who isn't the Coordinator—will collect any evidence in the case and interview potential witnesses.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will complete a written summary of the case. Both you and the complainant will have a chance to review this document and suggest revisions. It will then be forwarded to the Coordinator.
- The second part of your case, if you're a college student, will be an official hearing. High schools are not required, under Title IX, to hold hearings. Some do; others allow a decision-maker to meet separately with both sides and then render a verdict.
- At the hearing, both sides have the opportunity to present their case. You may submit evidence and call witnesses to testify on your behalf. You may also cross-examine the complainant and any witnesses against you.
- The Coordinator will appoint one or more Hearing Officials to oversee your hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, they'll deliberate and decide whether or not you are responsible for a violation. In doing so, they'll most likely use a legal standard known as “preponderance of evidence.” According to this standard, they must find you responsible if they are more than fifty percent convinced you committed an offense.
- If you should be found responsible, you can appeal the decision, but only under a very narrow set of circumstances. These include the discovery of new evidence or allegations of procedural misconduct.
Current Title IX guidelines include many provisions designed to protect your rights as a respondent. Often, however, you need a clear understanding of these rights in order to use them to your advantage. One important reason you need a Title IX attorney to handle your case is that only a Title IX attorney knows the law well enough to make sure you avoid making any serious mistakes.
Choosing an Advisor
Why won't a run-of-the-mill attorney do for a Title IX defense? In fact, local attorneys may try to convince you they can handle your case. The truth is, they just don't have the right skills. Your best chance of successfully defending yourself is to hire a Title IX attorney. Here's why:
- All attorneys have a particular skill set. Family or local attorneys are experts at drafting wills and dealing with minor criminal offenses. Title IX is a federal law, though. It requires a completely different set of skills.
- Your case won't be tried in a court of law. Local attorneys are great at handling local cases because they know the system. They may even have relationships with prosecutors and judges. However, Title IX cases don't happen in courtrooms. They happen on campus and are handled by faculty, administrators, and students. Title IX attorneys have experience dealing with this environment.
- A Title IX case can seem like a small matter. After all, it's just a violation of school policy. The reality is, Title IX is a complex federal law, and your entire future is at stake. You need a lawyer who understands that.
Finally, keep in mind that your attorney doesn't have to be from North Dakota. You can choose anyone as your advisor. Make sure you choose the most qualified attorney. How do you know whether or not an attorney is qualified? Simple. Ask these three questions.
- How many Title IX cases have they dealt with?
- What is their success rate with Title IX cases?
- What specific strategies would they use to handle your case?
The right attorney is the one with the right answers to these questions.
Joseph D. Lento can Help with Your Title IX Case
Joseph D. Lento has the right answers. Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who specializes in campus justice. He's handled hundreds of Title IX cases. He knows the law; he knows how high schools and universities operate. Whether you're looking to prove your innocence or negotiate a settlement that will let you keep your academic career intact, Joseph D. Lento can help. He's a fighter. He's empathetic to your cause. He's ready to do whatever is necessary to get you the best possible resolution to your case.
If you or your child have been accused of Title IX sexual misconduct in North Dakota, don't try to handle it yourself. Contact the Lento Law Firm's North Dakota office to find out how we can help. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.
North Dakota colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Bismarck State College
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- Dickinson State University
- Fort Berthold Community College
- Jamestown College
- Lake Region State College
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- North Dakota State College of Science
- North Dakota State University Main Campus
- Sitting Bull College
- Trinity Bible College
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- United Tribes Technical College
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Valley City State University
- Williston State College
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in North Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.