Defending Charges of a Sex Crime
Sexual assault is a crime that happens when one person imposes sexual acts on another without their consent. The activities can range from sexual groping, to assault/battery, to attempted rape. This conduct is criminal in all states. However, the precise elements of the crime will differ by state. For example, some but not all states include nonconsensual sex acts perpetrated by one spouse against the other as sexual assault.
Use of force, coercion, or incapacity of a victim to consent can establish a lack of consent. Coercion can happen in cases when the perpetrator threatens the victim or renders them afraid to resist.
Incapacity can happen in a number of different ways. A victim may be mentally unable to understand the nature of sexual acts, as in the case of children or mentally disabled people. Other examples include incapacity bought about by alcohol or drugs that impair awareness, comprehension, and/or decision-making ability.
Defense of Innocence
A person accused of sexual assault may claim that they could not have committed the crime. This defense, also known as an alibi, may be based on a claim that they were not in the location of the crime when it was committed. An effective defense in this case would be supported by evidence proving the actual location of the accused.
Another form of this defense can be that the victim misidentified the accused. Sometimes the crime scene has evidence such as hair, fingerprints, or DNA that can establish whether the accused was present at the scene.
Defense of Consent
An accused person may admit to having been at the scene and to touching the victim but claim that the acts were consensual. Proof of consent is not really possible. Difficult issues arise as to what kind of evidence can be considered. Prior consensual sexual acts between the individuals involved can be helpful but is not necessarily exculpatory. Making general claims regarding the accuser’s sexual history can be prejudicial and even work against the accused.
Some individuals simply cannot consent. This defense of consent is not possible when the victim is a minor, mentally challenged and unable to comprehend the sexual nature of behavior, or incapacitated (i.e., if the person was not conscious).
States vary in the level of awareness an accused has of the victim’s ability to consent. In some states an accused cannot argue that they didn’t realize the victim wasn’t giving their consent. In other states, it is a defense if an accused took reasonable care to establish consent. A mistake as to consent can serve as an effective defense.
Defense of Mental Incapacity
If an accused had a mental disease or defect at the time of the incident, that condition could rise to the level of an effective defense. Most states show leniency to a defendant if they have a condition that prevents them from understanding the criminal nature of their actions.
Being accused of a sex crime can be quite stressful. You will be concerned about protecting your reputation, having a criminal record, and possibly losing your freedom.
Contact an Experienced Haddonfield Sex Crimes Lawyer at the Law Offices of Agre & St. John
Agre & St. John has successfully represented defendants in sexual assault cases. We appreciate the sensitivity of these cases and the stress involved in being accused. Contact a seasoned Haddonfield sex crimes lawyer today by calling 856-428-7797 or by completing an online form. Our Haddonfield, New Jersey office provides quality legal defense to clients throughout South Jersey, including those in the areas of Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.