Sex Offenses Law

Common Legal Defenses for Sex Crimes

This content contains sensitive subject matter related to legal defense for crimes of a sexual nature.

Being accused of a sex crime can do permanent damage to your reputation. Friends and co-workers may think the worst of you even before you have your day in court. Sex offenses also have serious criminal penalties, including prison time and possible sex offender registration.

Sex crimes can be prosecuted under state or federal law. If you are facing sex crime charges, talk to a local sex crime defense lawyer for legal advice. A criminal defense lawyer can review your case and identify the best legal defense strategies.

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges

According to the Justice Department, sex-related offenses are “any crimes that have a sexual component.” Sex crime cases can include:

To be convicted of a sexual offense, the prosecutor has to prove each element of the criminal charge “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the jury has any doubt about any of the elements of the crime, they should find you not guilty.

Rape and sexual assault can involve sexual acts without the consent of the victim. For these kinds of sex crime allegations, as long as the victim is not a minor, the consent of the victim is a defense. Most sexual acts between consenting adults are legal. Presenting evidence or testimony of consensual sex can be a legal defense against sex crime allegations.

However, consent is not a defense in other types of sex crimes. Some people cannot give consent because of their age or condition. The age of consent is the age when someone is old enough to legally consent to have sex. If someone is under the age of consent, they cannot give legal consent, even if they say the sexual activity is consensual.

Some people with a mental illness or developmental disability may also be unable to give consent. Someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be considered “physically helpless” under the law and is also not able to consent.

Consent is also not a defense to crimes like prostitution or solicitation. In most states, sexual contact for money is against the law, even when it involves consenting adults.

Internet Sex Crime Common Defenses

Many types of sex crimes can happen online. This includes online solicitation, child pornography, revenge porn, and underage sexting. Even if something happens on your phone, computer, or IP address, it does not mean you were responsible. Someone else could have used your home Wi-Fi network to access illegal materials. You could also think you’re downloading a pirated Hollywood movie and end up accidentally downloading child pornography.

Defending against internet sex crimes can involve showing other people had access to your phone, computer, or internet network. A forensic expert could also show evidence that you were a victim of hacking.

What if I’m a Victim of False Accusations?

In many situations, people immediately believe the alleged victim of the sex crime without hearing the other side of the story. False allegations of sex offenses can be devastating and cause permanent damage for the rest of your life. Even if the accused is never convicted, it can hurt their reputation in the community and harm their personal relationships.

Why would someone make up false claims of rape or sexual assault? There may be different reasons why someone would lie about being the victim of a sex crime, including jealousy, revenge, attention, or to protect their own reputation. An ugly child custody dispute could end with false accusations of child molestation.

For example, a college freshman and senior meet at a party. They like each other and end up sleeping together that night. The next day, the senior tells the freshman it was just a one-night stand. The freshman feels spurned and rejected and claims that they didn’t want to have sex and was a victim of date rape to punish the senior.

Your attorney can question the alleged victim’s motivations, showing inconsistencies in their story and why they may have made up lies about sexual assault.

Challenging DNA Evidence

Courtroom dramas often treat DNA like a smoking gun. However, forensic evidence is not always reliable in criminal cases. If there were problems with the way the physical evidence was collected, handled, or analyzed, it could compromise the results. Your criminal defense attorney can challenge the reliability of the evidence.

Law enforcement may also have violated your Fourth Amendment rights in gathering evidence. If the police violated your rights against unlawful search and search, challenging the illegal search can be an effective defense.

How Can a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer Help?

There is a lot at stake in sex crime cases. A sex crime conviction can mean jail time, a felony criminal record, and a sex offender registry. A sex crime defense attorney can evaluate the evidence in your case and build a strong legal defense. Your lawyer can challenge the prosecutor’s case even before it goes to trial with pre-trial motions.

In a sex crime trial, your attorney can challenge the evidence presented and the reliability of witness testimony. Your lawyer can introduce evidence that contradicts the prosecutor’s case so the jury has a reasonable doubt about the charges. Find a sex crime law office in your area for an initial consultation about your defense options.

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