Building up a solid defense in court is the backbone of what a defense lawyer does – but it’s no walk in the park. Some charges are more difficult to defend against than others. In the case of sexual assault charges, there are more unacceptable defense strategies than acceptable ones, and the circumstances of the situation that led to the charges aren’t even substantial enough evidence – in many cases – to build a defense. Why?
First things first
Barring a situation where there are eye witnesses, recorded video evidence, or medical evidence (including DNA) that can conclusively put you at the scene of the crime and speak to your intentions, there are only a few avenues a defense lawyer can pursue to protect their client from such serious charges.
First option – Mistaken identity
If a sexual assault defense lawyer can reasonably demonstrate that the victim could not possibly be certain about the identity of their attacker, then they can create doubt as to your guilt. In situations where a sexual assault happened at night (indoors or outdoors), in a dark environment of any kind, the assailant was known to be wearing something that obstructed their face (mask, hood, hat, etc.), then it is plausible for a defense attorney to build a defense around the fact that the victim would in no way be capable of positively identifying their attacker.
Second option – Alibi
This means that the lawyer must be able to conclusively prove that their client, the defendant, could not possibly have been at the scene of the crime at the time the crime was taking place. An alibi is an account or explanation for a person’s whereabouts during a crime, and an alibi can be substantiated by a third-party under oath, or by physical evidence. Some evidence that could support an alibi are time-stamped receipts that display a location, video recordings that show you in another place at the same time (ATM camera, store surveillance), or even still pictures of you posted to social media or kept on a mobile device that demonstrate a time and/or an irrefutable proof of location or third-party presence.
What won’t work
A jury will not accept a defense that builds itself around ‘implied consent,’ which means that the victim was inviting sexual activity based on their appearance, attitude or anything like that. They also will not accept any claims that the victim simply consented to the act, unless it can be proven. Proving that consent was given is very difficult. The only way you can prove this is if it is in writing or has been recorded in some way. In most cases the argument of consent boils down to a ‘he said, she said,’ and it will not stand-up in court.
Defending against sexual assault charges isn’t easy, but it has been done successfully in countless cases. Being wrongfully accused does happen, and providing doubt for a jury is always the best approach in these situations. If you have been charged with sexual assault, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced defense attorney at Peter Albani Law today