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Sexual assault cases can be very trying in the courtroom. The defendant has to develop a strong strategy, backed by an overwhelming amount of evidence to land an acquittal, mostly because the majority of sexual assault defenses are difficult to prove. This obviously favors the victim and the prosecution, but it can still make it difficult for even an innocent person to prove said innocence. For the prosecution the case may be equally challenging if the only evidence is based on the victim’s statement.

DNA evidence is important to both sides of the argument in these cases, but it can’t be guaranteed, and so both sides in the case often have to get very creative in order to prove their case.

Sexual AssaultThe defenses

The defenses for sexual assault are innocence, insanity and consent. Consider that for a moment. It’s clear that insanity and consent can be almost impossible to prove, unless you have a legitimate mental disability, or you can provide unequivocal proof of consent (written consent, recording of verbal consent). In other words, your only real defense is to plead innocence and then attempt to prove that there is absolutely no way you could have been present at the time of the incident, via a rock solid alibi with supporting physical evidence. This defense may also boil down to a case of mistaken identity defense.

In situations where a false accusation has been made, it can get very difficult for both the prosecution and defense to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt. The only problem with this is that, nationally speaking, less than 2% of all women who experience a sexual assault report it. This decreases the likelihood of a false claim significantly.

Consequences

Registration – will likely be required if and when you complete a sentence for committing a sexual assault. The sex offenders registration database helps to keep the public aware and reminds them to practice due diligence when it comes to their personal safety. For the offender, registration keeps you accountable for your actions and makes it very easy to disseminate your information in the future, should you be accused again.

Indeterminate sentencing – this can be a very scary thought. Many serious sexual assaults that lead to convictions see the convicted remanded to a prison facility for a defined period of time. With indeterminate sentencing, however, a judge is required to notify you of the minimum amount of time you will spend in prison, but is not required to set a maximum. In other words, you could spend a really long time in jail based on the nature of your crime and your conduct during your remanded time.

Your past doesn’t matter…

As a female victim of sexual assault, many defendants attempt to cite past sexual exploits as proof of consent, or as evidence that the accusation is false. It’s an approach that is generally frowned upon by jurors. The general belief is that despite a woman’s history, she cannot inherently be providing an open invitation for sexual conduct.