Common Sex Crime Defenses, Explained
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, victims of sexual harassment, assault, and other sex crimes are coming forward to tell their stories and hold others accountable. While this may be long overdue in many respects, an unintended consequence of this shift is that some individuals feel emboldened to accuse others of sex offenses that never actually occurred.
No matter the circumstances, these accusations have the power to destroy a person's future in a very short amount of time. That's why it's important that you contact a reputable sex crime attorney Columbus Ohio residents trust. Your attorney will be able to mount a defense against sex crime charges and protect your rights in a court of law. Although the following defenses are not always appropriate in every case (nor are they the only ones your sex crime attorney may pursue), they are among the most common.
False AllegationsIf the incident in question never occurred, your sex crime attorney may argue that the allegations are completely fabricated. Data revealed that 100% of alleged sexual assault perpetrators involved in a five-year college and university study were male. The natural conclusion from this is that men are more likely to commit sexual assault and be accused it. An individual may falsely accuse someone of sexual assault to seek revenge, to cover up infidelity, or to keep from getting into trouble themselves. Regardless of the reasons behind it, it's important for you and your attorney to take these allegations seriously so that these falsehoods can be exposed and that your innocence can be proven.
Consent ObtainedIn cases where sexual contact did occur, a sex crime attorney may argue that consent was, in fact, obtained from both parties. This defense is applicable in cases wherein both parties were legally able to grant consent. To prove consent was given (or that the defendant had reason to believe the acts were consensual), it must be clear that both parties acted freely and voluntarily, with full knowledge of the act itself. For example, an attorney may argue that their client admits the sexual act did occur but that that no threats or violence were used or that the alleged victim lied about their age (in cases of statutory rape).
Mistaken IdentityIt may be appropriate in some cases to argue that a defendant is innocent and that they were falsely identified as the perpetrator of a crime they did not commit. This mistaken identity could be the result of improper conduct on the part of police officers, poor eyewitness testimony, or confusion on behalf of the alleged victim.
Mental IncapacityIn cases wherein it's irrefutable that an incident involving a sex crime took place, an attorney could argue that the defendant had a mental defect or disease at that time that should remove their liability for the crime that occurred. The burden of proof for this defense does vary by state, but it would require a sex crime attorney (and witnesses called during the trial) to provide evidence that this disease or defect would have prevented the defendant from understanding the legality of their actions.
Insufficient EvidenceSex crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute because the burden of proof typically lies with the prosecutor. That works in the defendant's favor because so many elements have to clearly point to criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence against an alleged perpetrator (often, a lack of physical evidence), there may be potential to have the case dismissed or that a jury might reach a not guilty verdict due to a lack of certainty.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of all defenses for sex crimes. Being familiar with the possible defenses for these cases can certainly help you protect your own rights, but this is certainly no substitute for hiring a reputable attorney. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it's imperative that you consult a respected law firm as soon as possible.