Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for sexual assault can result in six months in jail to a maximum of 48 years in prison. Even if convicted offenders receive a minimum sentence, they face the long-term consequences that come with having a criminal history. Following an arrest for sexual assault charges, suspects must be careful to avoid making any self-incriminating statements. A felony attorney near Denver, CO can review the circumstances of the case and develop an effective defense strategy.
Consent of the Victim
One of the most important questions in any case that involves sexual assault charges is whether the alleged victim consented to the act. Giving consent isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. In many cases, individuals are legally unable to give consent. Consent cannot be given if any of the following are true:
- The victim is underage
- The offender drugged, intoxicated, or otherwise compelled the victim
- The victim is asleep or otherwise unconscious
- The victim is mentally incapacitated and isn’t capable of understanding the sexual act
- The victim is a detainee in a jail or hospital, and the defendant has authority over the victim
If none of those factors are present in the case, and the victim did indeed give consent, then this could be the most effective legal defense strategy.
Lack of Sexual Activity
It’s not unheard of for individuals to make false allegations of sexual assault when no sexual activity of any kind took place. If there is no medical evidence, audiovisual recordings, or eyewitness testimony to prove that sexual activity took place, then the defendant shouldn’t be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, all a sex crime lawyer needs to do is undermine the credibility of the prosecutor’s arguments.
Status of Marriage
In most cases, a person cannot claim that a rape never occurred simply because the two parties were married. A married person commits sexual assault against his or her spouse if no consent was given. The sole exception is if the sexual assault charge is for statutory rape. Statutory rape assumes that the alleged victim was too young to have given consent. But if the alleged victim did consent to the sexual act, and the alleged victim is legally married to the alleged offender, then no criminal act occurred.