Sexual assault is one of the most serious types of charges that a criminal defense lawyer in Dallas has to handle for his or her client.
But recourse is available to a defendant who is adamant that sexual assault allegations are false, and that the person making the accusations is lying.
Let’s take a look at how defense lawyers handle these types of cases by first defining the crime of sexual assault, then talking about the common defense strategies that can help prove a false allegation.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Although the legal language varies in each state, sexual assault is commonly defined as unlawful sexual conduct without the victim’s consent. Sexual assault can involve some type of force, threat, or circumstance that prohibits the victim from escaping the situation, but it does not have to. Sexual assault can occur because the alleged victim is tricked or is too incapacitated to resist, such as because the person is too intoxicated.
The most important element that often elevates a sex crime to a sexual assault charge is lack of consent. If the victim claims to have been forced or threatened or to have been too intoxicated to understand what was happening, then prosecutors will usually charge a defendant with sexual assault.
It’s important to remember that a victim doesn’t have to be conscious for a defendant to be charged with sexual assault. For example, if a woman is asleep or is not responsive due to intoxication, and a man decides to have sexual contact with her, the fact that the woman is unable to give consent would be sufficient for a sexual assault charge, if the woman filed a report. In most states, sexual assault charges can be filed against a spouse, between members of the same gender, and between children. The fact that a victim knew his or her attacker doesn’t give a defendant the presumed right to have sexual contact with someone who doesn’t consent to that act.
Some of the more common types of sexual assault include:
Forcible – This occurs when a defendant uses violence, the threat of violence, or force prior to sexual intercourse with a victim.
Statutory – This occurs when a defendant has sexual contact with a minor. A minor is unable to legally give consent to have sexual contact with an adult, so if an underage person gave consent to have sex with an adult, it would still fall under the category of rape. Statutory rape age thresholds vary by state, and in some states, it is charged as unlawful sexual contact with a minor. Most states now make it a defense to show that the accused and the alleged victim were above a certain age and were close in age. These are called “Romeo and Juliet laws.”
In Texas, the punishment for first-degree sexual assault can vary from 5 years to 99 years in prison, and a fine of $10,000. The minimum prison sentence for a person convicted of sexually assaulting a child in Texas; when the victim is under the age of 6 or younger than the age of 14 – is elevated to 25 years. (1)
What Are False Sexual Assault Allegations?
False sexual assault allegations refer to claims by an accuser against a person who either had consensual sexual contact with an adult accuser or never committed the crime at all.
While there is no doubt that there are many sexual assault accusations that are true, which result in a defendant’s conviction, there are some instances in which those charges are false. (2)
Defendants who are not guilty of this serious sex crime have the right to mount a vigorous defense and to provide the evidence that can exonerate them in the eyes of the law.
Sexual assault allegations will often come down to issues of consent, which is why that is one of the main defenses to counter these allegations.
Defense Strategies Against False Sexual Assault Charges
Some of the more common defense strategies against false rape charges include:
Establish Relationship Between Defendant and Accuser – If a defense lawyer can provide evidence that the defendant and the accuser had a relationship, this can indicate that the sexual activity on the day in question was consensual. Evidence to support this can include text messages or emails about imminent sex.
Prove that the Accuser Lacks Credibility – In some instances, a defense lawyer may be able to show that the accuser lacks credibility due to previous false accusations of sexual assault or a demonstrated willingness to make false allegations against people.
Find Ulterior Motives – Defense lawyers will also try to find evidence that a sexual assault allegation is driven by an ulterior motive such as revenge, trying to get money, trying to get attention, or even trying to explain away an incident of unfaithfulness to a spouse or romantic partner.
Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer In Dallas
Finding a criminal defense lawyer in Dallas is critical after a person is falsely accused of sexual assault. Defendants have the right to mount a strong defense against this serious crime, and an experienced attorney can find the evidence that may expose the truth.