Joshua T. Crain Law Blog

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

The State of Tennessee treats allegations of sexual assault on college campuses very seriously, and statistics show that such charges are on the rise. While violent sexual acts are routinely recognized as serious crimes, there are gray areas related to consent and the definition of assault that are more difficult for many people to understand. If you’ve been charged with sexual assault on campus, don’t wait to consult with a dedicated criminal defense attorney who has an array of impressive experience successfully defending the rights of clients like you.

Sexual Assault

In Tennessee, sexual assault refers to sexual activity that occurs when the other person doesn’t consent or when they don’t consent freely. The sexual activity itself can mean either physical contact or physical behavior, which leaves a considerable amount of room for interpretation.

The matter of consent plays a primary role in sexual assault charges on campus – and elsewhere – and the bottom line is that all the following must apply:

Furthermore, the person who is consenting must be capable of doing so, and if they’re impaired by alcohol or drugs, they may not be. It’s important to note that having an established sexual relationship with someone does not translate to consent. In other words, the charge of sexual assault can apply even when the accuser is a romantic partner.

When Sexual Contact Crosses the Line into Assault

If force is required to coerce someone into a sexual act, lack of consent is clear, and the act is easily recognizable as assault. The charge of sexual assault, however, goes far beyond this clear definition. Sexual contact with another person can be charged as assault if the complainant claims that the accused either knew or should have known that they hadn’t consented.

Things get trickier, however, from here. For example, if a complainant accuses someone of deliberately touching them – when the contact is not welcome – in order to become aroused, they can bring an assault charge. Touching an intimate spot on another person’s body – even if they’re fully clothed – is considered sexual contact, and when it’s not welcome, it can qualify as sexual battery. 

Fines and Penalties

The charge of sexual battery is a Class E Felony that carries from 1 to 6 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. When sexual penetration is involved, however, the charge is elevated to rape, which begins as a Class B felony and carries 8 to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Finally, a conviction for any sexual assault charge will almost certainly require inclusion on the national sex offender registry.

An Experienced Tennessee Sexual Assault Defense Attorney Can Help

Josh Crain at The Law Offices of Joshua T. Crain is a trusted Tennessee criminal defense attorney whose two decades of imposing experience inform the skilled legal representation he affords every client he serves. To learn more about what we can do to help you, please contact us online or call 615-697-6178 today.