Sexual abuse or assault charges can be among the most divisive in the criminal justice system. The public will often pass judgment long before a court does, and if someone is ultimately convicted of a sex crime, he or she will often face extremely harsh penalties.
But it is essential for people to remember that allegations of a sexually-related offense are no different from other criminal offenses in that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and has the right to defend against the charges. However, crafting a defense strategy in these cases can be a much more delicate process because of the nature of the alleged crimes and the sympathy that many alleged victims often receive.
There are a number of defenses that may prove to be effective, depending on the details of an individual case. But in general, there are a few common defense strategies that attorneys may employ when someone is accused of sexual assault or abuse in Florida.
- You didn't do it: Many people are accused based on a wrongful identification. Police may arrest someone based on a physical description or other information that can lead them to the wrong person.
- You didn't know it was wrong: While ignorance of the law is typically not an effective defense, a person may have been ignorant of certain facts. This might include not knowing how old a sexual partner is or was at the time of an interaction or making a mistake in determining consent from the other person.
- The accuser is not telling the truth: False accusations, exaggerated statements and outright lies can lead to criminal charges, whether an accuser means for it to happen or not.
In any case involving allegations of a sex crime, identifying the most appropriate defense strategy can be crucial. As we mentioned above, defending against these allegations often requires a delicate balance between aggressive legal measures and cautious approaches when challenging claims by an accuser.
Navigating this complicated area of the law can be very difficult. Working with an attorney who is experienced in these matters can prove to be beneficial for those facing these serious charges.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Sexual Assault Defenses," accessed on Sept. 30, 2014