In a recent post, we explored the extensive damage that can be done when a person is accused of sexual misconduct. However, it is crucial for anyone in this position to remember that being accused of these crimes is not the same as being guilty of them.
Several high-profile sexual assault cases have been reported in the news recently, from the case involving Bill Cosby, which we discussed in this post, to alleged rapes on college campuses across the country. While every case is unique and must be considered on its individual merits, there are some common defense strategies that may be employed when it comes to sexual misconduct charges.
- Mistaken identity: A victim of a sexual attack may not be able to accurately identify the alleged attacker. This is a fairly common defense, but may not be appropriate in all situations, for example, if the alleged offender is a celebrity, friend or family member.
- False allegations: Many cases of sexual assault or rape boil down one person's word against another's. There are at least two sides to every case, and thoroughly scrutinizing and challenging each detail can be a good way to cast doubt or poke holes in an accuser's story.
- Consent: Proving that an alleged victim consented to a sexual act (and was of a certain age) could result in the dismissal of charges. Sometimes people engage in behaviors they later want to deny or don't remember, but they may have consented to certain activities at the time. Showing that an act was consensual for both parties can prove to a crucial defense.
- Statute of limitations: The amount of time that people have to file a lawsuit for certain sexual assault offenses in Illinois is 10 years, but it varies from state to state. It also can vary based on the alleged crime and age of the alleged victim.
These and other defense strategies can prove to be very effective in having charges dismissed or reduced. However, they are very complex and can require extensive legal knowledge to utilize properly. Thankfully, people who are accused of an offense have options when it comes to defending themselves without having to depend on their own understanding of the law. Attorneys familiar with sexual misconduct charges and defense approaches can be valuable resources for any person who is facing charges.