Sex crimes are amongst the most aggressively prosecuted criminal defense cases. Prosecutors often seek the harshest penalties, which could threaten you with years behind bars and a criminal record that will haunt you for decades to come. As scary as that may sound, you shouldn’t be terrified into inaction or automatically accepting a plea deal offered by prosecutors. Instead, you should carefully consider your criminal defense options to see if there’s a way that you can escape the harshest penalties or obtain an acquittal.
The first step is to understand the law that you are accused of breaking. Let’s look at rape as an example. First-degree rape, which is the most serious form of the crime, occurs when any sexual act is engaged through force or threat of force without the consent of the alleged victim. This may include using a weapon, suffocation or threat of harm. The punishment for this crime is steep, too, with the most severe imposition being life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Even lesser forms of rape and sexual assault can carry significant penalties, which is why those who have been accused of sex crimes need to be prepared to defend themselves. Depending on the circumstances at hand, there may be a number of defense options available to you. The most common defense is consent. If the alleged victim consented to the sexual contact without force, coercion, or fraud, then rape has not occurred. This means that accused individuals often have to attack the credibility of the alleged victim, the timing of his or her disclosures and police tactics utilized to identify the accused individual.
Defending yourself against allegations of rape or sexual assault can be extremely uncomfortable. Yet, being aggressive in these cases is necessary if you want to maximize your chances of successfully defending yourself. If you think you could benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in this area of the law, then you may want to do your research before settling on a firm that is right for you.