Sexual Assault Defense Strategies
Being charged with a sexual assault case is one of the most stressful experiences a person could go through. Besides possible jail or prison time, the person may also have to deal with the social stigma and ruined reputation of being charged with such a crime.
Unfortunately, an allegation of sexual assault in itself is bad enough and can have life-altering consequences for those accussed, or even falsely accused, of such a heinous crime. With that said, it gets worse with a conviction; not only will a person typically need to spend time in jail or prison, there is also usually mandatory sex offender registration, a label that can remain with you long after being released.
Considering the stakes in sex cases, it’s not a good idea to go through the defense process alone. From the moment you walk in the courtroom and the judge reads the charges, even the jury will presume your guilt without having heard a single fact in the case. This means that the prosecution often has an effortless time proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your greatest task will be introducing reasonable doubt into the jurors’ minds to win them over, something only a skilled criminal sexual conduct attorney can do with a high degree of success.
Building a Strong Defense for Sex Crime Cases
What you do when you first hear that you are being investigated by the police or that allegations are being made against you involving a sexual assault crime, the smartest thing to do next is to immediately call a lawyer who has years of knowledge and skills with working on sexaul assault cases.
What happens during the first few days that immediately follows the start of an investigation or an arrest for sexual assault can make a massive change in the outcome of your case. Do not follow the instructions of an attorney that says to you, “call me back if and when you are charged.” If an attorney says that, you know they are not the right attorney for you because they clearly do not focus on sex crimes.
Below are some steps you should take to make your defense stronger:
1. Avoid Talking to the Police and Get a Lawyer
As any defense lawyer will tell you, your first line of defense in sex cases is exercising your right to remain silent. Tell the investigating agency that calls you that you will be hiring a lawyer and you will have your lawyer contact them.
The prosecution and the investigating officers often will use what you say during an interrogation or what seems to be a casual conversation on the phone against you, so you want to avoid saying anything at all.
Even when it may seem that you are not able to afford one, the United States Constitution guarantees your right to legal representation, so you may want to request a court-assigned lawyer. While a court-assigned lawyer is better than not having one at all, it would be best if you hired sex offender lawyers that have records of success with similar types of crimes.
2. Avoid Contact with the Alleged Victim
Often sexual assault allegations are made by persons known to the defendant. For example, it could be an estranged spouse, a niece, or other family members. Since such people are individuals you once shared a good relationship with, you may feel like it’s wise to talk to them, but it’s not!
Making contact can worsen an already bad situation because they can claim intimidation or an intention to assault them again. Such a turn of events can result in you being charged with other offenses or even new sex offenses. So the best idea would be to avoid this urge.
Sexual Assault Defense Strategies
For a person to be convicted of a sexual assault, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender committed the said sex crime. Even if you are falsely accused of CSC, a weak criminal sexual conduct defense can result in a conviction. Every defense strategy should aim to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and introduce reasonable doubt in it.
Below are some defense strategies your criminal defense attorney could explore when defending your sex crime case:
1. The Alleged Assault Crime Never Happened
This can be used as a defense argument where there are no admissions made by the defendant of the sexual act happening, and there is no physical evidence of a sex crime of which alludes to a sexual act occurrence.
A good case scenario where this defense argument could be admissible is when two adults go into a hotel room. A month later, one files a sexual assault report to the police claiming the offense happened when the two were in a hotel room. While the prosecution may be able to present evidence of the defendant and the claimant being in the hotel room, there may be no sex crimes evidence to prove that the alleged sexual assault happened. Under such circumstances, the defendant may claim they were in the room for another reason besides what was reported, i.e. the alleged sex crime never happened.
Such a case becomes a credibility competition, a “he said – she said” scenario, but the odds may still be against the defendant given the negative stigma of the sexual assault charges.
To have this defense strategy work for you, the defendant must present in court, with the help of a lawyer, a version of the events that is significantly different from the complainants in order to introduce doubt to the jury.
The jury doesn’t have to believe the defendant’s version of the events. The only requirement is that it makes them doubt the credibility of the alleged victim’s sexual assault allegations.
2. The Sexual Interaction was Consensual, or the Defendant Thought it was Consensual
It is possible to participate in consensual sex only for the other person to turn around and claim it was a case of sexual assault, or what is non-consensual sex.
There are many reasons why a person could consent to sex and then turn around and claim rape. One of these reasons could be a setup by the complainant. Another reason could be a soured relationship after the sexual interaction. The reasons go on and on.
This defense strategy is best applicable where the defendant has admitted to having a sexual interaction or there is glaring physical evidence of sexual contact. Such physical evidence can include pregnancy, DNA evidence, or communication alluding to the occurrence of a sexual interaction.
There are situations where a defendant may have assumed that the interaction was consensual. A good example is if there is evidence showing the you and another person were in a prior sexual relationship, and then that other person claims she is the victim of a sex crime offense. In such a case, you could assume the claimant consented to sex based on previous sexual interactions.
Your lawyer can also use the claimant’s actions to prove that you could have safely assumed there was consent. For example, if there is witness testimony or evidence of the two of you holding hands, kissing, or engaging in some degree of making out or other sexual behavior before getting into a hotel room or home, this would work in your favor. Under such circumstances, your sex crimes attorney can use presumed consent as a defense strategy.
3. Mistaken Identity
Mistaken identity is the least used defense strategy in sexual assault cases. It is best applicable in a sexual assault charge with little to no evidence connecting the defendant to the offense or the complainant.
To use mistaken identity as a defense strategy, the defendant must have a solid alibi to indicate that they were somewhere else at the time of the said offense. However, this often compels your lawyer to call witnesses to the stand or use other means of establishing an alibi, such as receipts for payments made in a location the defendant says they were.
Additionally, your lawyer can present mobile phone tracking data or photo and video footage showing where the defendant was when the sexual crime allegedly happened to prove mistaken identity.
4. Evidence Presented Obtained Illegally
The police may search your home, computer, or electronic devices when executing a search warrant and investigating a sexual assault case. However, they must do so within the confines of the law. Failure to abide by the law in their investigation can result in evidence being thrown out.
For example, the police must have a search warrant or have admissible probable cause before searching your home, phone, computer, etc. If a search does not meet legal requirements, your sex crimes attorney can cite illegal acquisition of the evidence as a reason for a case dismissal.
Identifying illegal conduct in investigating officers can be complicated, and only an experienced sex crimes attorney knows how to attack these legal issues and build a defense around this strategy.
Sexual abuse involving a minor is the most severe form of sexual assault. It also carries the most severe sentences with a possibility of spending the rest of your life in prison without parole.
Unfortunately, it is also a fact that children are coached to make false sexual assault allegations against others. Sometimes, the coaching could be intentional, when one is trying to get back at somebody. At other times, the coaching could be an attempt to help the child recollect events of the alleged sex crime, yet the suggestability of the questions forms a different narative. Whatever the reason for the coaching, your defense attorney could use manipulation as a sexual abuse charge defense strategy.
Let Attorney Nicole Blank Becker Help You with Your Sex Crime Charge
A conviction of a sexual assault crime can alter the rest of a person’s life. If you are being investigated for a sexual offense, your best chance to beat your case would be to hire an experienced attorney who only focuses on sex crimes. If you live in Michigan or anywhere else in the U.S., your go–to lawyer for all your sex crime charges is Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC.
Nicole has more than two decades of practice in Michigan sex crimes criminal law and is focused solely on sex crimes. This means she knows all there is to know about sex crimes and winning defense strategies.
Nicole has served as the Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit and Cheif of the Child Abuse Unit, as well as a prosecutor in both Wayne County and Macomb County. Her vast experience assists her in handling sex crimes case by having the ability to look at a sexual assault case from all perspectives. This way, she stays far ahead of the prosecution.
Nicole truly wants to help, and she has a passion for what she does. She focuses on collecting as much information as possible concerning your case during your initial free consultation in order to ensure that she gets the material necessary to build your case.
Nicole is also very big on establishing a trusting relationship with you; after all, your life and your future are in her hands. The attorney-client relationship plays a big role in putting the client at ease and taking the stress off their shoulders. Nicole will listen intently as you share the details of your case in order to build the strongest and best defense for you.
Do not let allegations of sexual abuse or a sex crime charge ruin your life. Contact attorney Nicole Blank Becker at (248) 515-6583, or reach us online to book your first free consultation and get Nicole on your side!