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What criminal defense can be used in sexual assault cases?

Here in Texas, gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has recently proposed that the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault crimes be eliminated (Davis calls for an end to statue of limitations for rape). Currently, the statue stands at 10 years, except for crimes against children or if no one in the state’s database is a match for any collected DNA. If a law like this was passed, it could have serious repercussions for those who are accused of rape or other sexual assault crimes. It may be helpful for those people to know what a criminal defense against a sexual assault charge might entail.

The most obvious defense is for an accused person to profess innocence. In any crime, the accused is presumed innocent until and only if he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An alibi can help solidify this defense, as well as DNA evidence pointing to another suspect or otherwise at variance with the prosecution’s view of the case. The presence of either could raise doubt that the accused committed the crime.

One of the other two possible defenses is the establishment of consent. An accused person may admit to having personal relations with the victim, but argue that he or she had the victim’s consent to engage in such activities (assuming the alleged victim was of legal age to give consent). This may not be easy to prove and sometimes involves calling the victim’s previous sexual history into question. The second way is if the defendant is mentally incapacitated or uses a defense of insanity. If a person can prove that he or she has a diagnosed mental illness or is mentally challenged, a defense based on that person not knowing right from wrong may be appropriate.?

Every case is different and these types of criminal defense scenarios may not be able to be used in all circumstances. Here in Texas, those accused of sex-related crimes will want to have a thorough understanding of all available options, so as to decide upon a course of action that is focused on achieving the best outcome possible.

Source: FindLaw, “Sexual Assault Defenses“, , Aug. 24, 2014

Source: FindLaw, “Sexual Assault Defenses“, , Aug. 24, 2014