Sexual assault charges are very serious and can result in prison time, huge fines, and damning consequences like being listed as a sex offender. If you have been charged with sexual assault, there are few things you need to know before you decide to take on your case. Here is a brief low down on the basics of sexual assault.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a term that means sexual behavior or contact occurring without the explicit permission of the victim. If you are facing a sexual assault charge, it means you have either been accused of:
- Unwanted sexual touching or fondling
- Penetrating the victim’s body, commonly referred to as rape
- Forcing the victim to engage in sexual acts. This includes forcing them to penetrate your body or forcing them to perform oral sex
- Attempted rape
What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault?
The penalties for sexual assault vary from one state to the other. The federal government has its own set of rules for sentencing sexual assault offenders. For example in the state of California, a person accused of sexual assault is likely to get a sentence of between 24-48 months in prison and a possible fine of $10,000. In the state of New York, on the other hand, sexual assault is a Class D felony. The accused is subject to a minimum sentence of 2 years, and a maximum sentence of 7 years.
What are the Defenses for Sexual Assault?
When defending your case, a sexual assault lawyer might present any of the following defenses:
- Innocence: You can claim that you were at a different place when the crime was being executed.
- Consent: You can claim that the victim consented to the act.
- Insanity/Mental Condition: You can claim that you were afflicted with a mental illness when the crime was conducted.
Apart from mounting any of the above defenses, the other ways you can win an assault case is through:
- Passing a Polygraph: If an assault case has insufficient proof, your lawyer may advice you to take a polygraph. Passing a polygraph is admissible evidence of innocence in many jurisdictions.
- Use of Forensic Experts: Your lawyer can use forensic experts to challenge evidence obtained on a cell phone, computer, camera, or other storage device.
- A strong Defense Team: The other key to winning an assault case is hiring a defense team that has experience and a track record of emerging victorious in these cases.
If you are facing an assault case, there is no need to panic. With an experienced lawyer and sufficient evidence, you can fight off the charges and walk home free or get off with a reduced sentence.
Author Information: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter at @eileenoshanassy.