Sexual assault and rape

Virtually every sexual assault crime (rape, sexual battery, oral copulation or sodomy) contains the element of “against the victim’s will.”  What that means is the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent to the sexual activity.  So what do you do if you have been accused of a sexual offense?  How can you fight against an alleged victim who says she did not give consent?

In general, these offenses come down to a simple question for the jury:  Who do we believe?  It’s a little more complicated, however.  The jury must believe – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the victim’s claims are true.  The prosecution will no doubt rely on the alleged victim’s testimony as the cornerstone of their case.  But can that testimony withstand cross-examination?  You are guaranteed a right to see and confront your accuser.  Are there inconsistencies that cast doubt on the charges?  Is the story being told not backed up by the physical evidence?

Is there any other evidence to support the alleged victim’s story?  Often, the prosecution will also rely on evidence from a physical examination of the complaining witness.  Contrary to popular belief, no examination can conclusively prove whether or not any sexual activity was consensual or not. Findings are often inconclusive, building doubt into the prosecution’s case.

What about DNA?  Like any other piece of evidence, it is subject to the same scrutiny.  Was the evidence legally obtained?  Was it properly collected?  Were the testing procedures correct?  Are the conclusions by the examiner legitimate?  Even if DNA is present, all it can “prove” is that some contact took place, but it has nothing to do with consent.

If these pieces of scientific evidence fall apart, what is the DA left with?  Your words might be used against you.  Many times, the police will secretly record conversations between an alleged victim and the person they are accusing.  The police will ask the complaining witness to call you and engage you in a conversation about the incident.  Even if you know in your heart you did nothing wrong, a slip-up by you during this conversation can be used against you.  If you get a call like that, be very careful before you engage in conversation about the charges.

If you give a statement to the police, even those statements are subject to challenge.  Miranda rights violations may render your statement inadmissible against you.

If you are facing allegations or criminal charges for any sexual offense, you have a lot at stake.  If you are being investigated or even accused of any sexual offense, I can help.  Contact my office any time to discuss your situation.

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