Understanding Sex Crime Charges
Society typically judges persons accused of sexual crimes more harshly than when they are faced with any other kinds of charges. It can be a humiliating and terrifying experience, especially when one is innocent.
The first action you take should be to call an experienced sex crime attorney. With your reputation on the line, and possibly your freedom, you need a knowledgeable lawyer that can hopefully reduce the charges or argue for dismissal altogether.
Dos and Don'ts When Facing a Sex Crime Charge
Allegations for illegal sexual activity may range from sexual assault, sexual battery to indecent liberties with a minor and statutory rape. In Ohio, sexual assaults were reported at a rate of 86.9 per 100,000 population in 2015. The state also has some of the toughest sentences for sexual offenders. You must, therefore, call a skilled sex crime defense attorney immediately. You want an attorney who understands the serious nature of the alleged crime and fights zealously for your rights.
What You Shouldn't Do
Represent yourself: You may not understand the legal intricacies of the judicial process. Every experienced defense lawyer knows the first few days are essential to gathering evidence for a reduced charge sheet, and perhaps dropping of the charges.
Confront your accuser: Contacting your accuser may work against you as it may be argued in court as part of accosting the victim through threats and intimidation.
Talk to the police without a sex crime attorney present: Law enforcement may ask questions that make you respond with a statement used against you later in a legal proceeding.
Common Defense against Sex Crime Charges
While every case is usually unique, many criminal defense attorneys argue based on these three. The burden of proof is typically on the prosecutor. The alleged sex offender is innocent until the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she committed the act.
You may argue your innocence as a defense against sex crime charges. First, you may present a case of misidentification. You may require a solid alibi as credible evidence that you are falsely accused. DNA evidence may also play a vital role in arguing your case. Additionally, you may present yourself as an astute citizen with no prior records. If you can raise a reasonable doubt as to whether you committed the crime, a jury may return an acquittal.
This is where the accused admits to the behavior in question but argues that the victim consented to the act. One of the pillars of sexual assault reports is that the action was against the victim's will. Though proving it may be difficult and even controversial in the eyes of a jury, your attorney can move to present evidence that proves there was consent. In some cases of a statutory rape charge, an attorney may present evidence showing that two young people are close in age (say a few months or even days apart) or they are both under the age of consent. However, it is and will always remain illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor.
When accused of a sex crime, defense attorneys may claim mental incapacitation. Though its applications vary, most states offer more leniency to mental incapacity. The lawyer may argue that their client had no understanding of the unwanted sexual contact due to extreme psychological issues.
The first line of defense against sex crime charges is hiring an experienced sex offense lawyer. Finding a skilled attorney may help beat the sex charge, avoid conviction, and, importantly, avoiding registration as a sexual offender.