What are Common Sexual Assault Defenses?

January 26, 2021

There are many different defenses that can counter a sex offense charge. A defendant may proclaim innocence, claim that the victim consented to their behavior, confess but claim insanity or mental incapacity, or have another reason to be cleared of the suspected crime. For help with choosing the best defense, the accused should contact a lawyer. A sex offense charge, such as sexual assault, can be hard to fight without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.

Sexual assault is any sexual activity that happens without the consent from both parties involved. This is a considered a criminal defense with the possibility of jail time. Sexual assault laws state that anyone who is mentally ill, under 18 years old, or intoxicated is unable to consent to the sexual activities. Rape, molestation, incest, and many other situations are considered sexual assault.

Pleading Innocent

The most common basic defense is the claim of innocence. Most often, a defendant will claim that they were in a different location at the time the crime took place, which gives them an alibi. The defendant will need to support their alibi with credible evidence and fully establish that they were not with the victim at the time of the crime. A defendant can also make the claim that they were misidentified as the perpetrator of the crime. DNA evidence can be used to determine if this defense is applicable.

Victim Consent

In a criminal defense case, a defendant may state that the victim consented to the situation. If the defended can demonstrate that the victim consented, this would provide a defense to the assault allegations.

Issues arise when the accused needs to prove this defense to a court. It can be very difficult and often controversial to do so. In most cases, the defendant will use the victim’s past sexual history to help prove that they consented to the sexual activities. This defense can backfire with the jury and cause the defendant to look worse. Consent can be very difficult to prove, and it is impossible if the victim is a minor, incapacitated, mentally challenged, or incapable of understanding the sexual nature of the situation.

Insanity Argument

A defendant may also argue that they had a mental disease or problem at the time of the crime and should be removed from criminal liability. Most states will treat an offender more leniently if they can show that their mental disease makes them incapable of understanding the criminal nature of the assault.

Why Should I Contact a Lawyer After I am Accused of a Sex Crime?

There are a few other defenses against sexual assault charges, which include mistaken identity, age in cases of statutory raped, or involuntary intoxication. Involuntary intoxication is a situation where the accuser’s drink may be spiked, or they are drugged without knowledge or consent.

Sexual assault is a serious accusation and can be extremely traumatic for the defendant. A defendant’s life can be changed if they are accused of sexual assault. It is important and helpful to hire a lawyer to handle the case. A lawyer can help create the best defense for the specific case.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Advocate on the Behalf of Clients Accused of Sexual Assault

If you have been accused of sexual assault, contact a West Chester criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes for help with your case. Let our legal team handle the difficult tasks involved in your sexual assault case. Call us at 610-431-7900 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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