False accusations of sexual assault can haunt you for the rest of your life. Penalties for conviction vary wildly from case to case, as these charges can be extremely complex and difficult to work through. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you thoroughly understand these charges, and build the strongest possible defense for your situation.
Especially in today’s climate, when sexual assault on campus is in all the headlines, being charged with rape can come as a complete shock to many people. With all the grey areas in the areas of adult sexual relations, as well as the intricacies of consent and capacity, the accused may not even understand they may have committed a crime. On the other hand, however, the accuser may have made a terrible or malicious mistake.
How Can I Defend Myself?
If you’re charged with sexual assault or rape, it’s imperative you consult with sexual assault lawyers immediately. Try not to give any statements without a lawyer present. Being proactive is always the key to a strong defense. Although there are no accurate statistics on false rape accusations across the country, your attorneys understand the many ways a false charge could happen:
• Innocence. Simply enough, you’re innocent and can prove it with an alibi. Your attorney can help you collect all credible evidence to show this — you were not there at the time, witness statements, documents like credit card receipts, etc.
• Mental incapacity. In some cases, a defendant may not understand what they did was wrong or against the law. Due to a mental challenge or deficit, they had no understanding that unwanted sexual contact is prohibited by law. Some courts may show more leniency in these situations.
• Consent. The issue of consent is difficult and complex. With sexual assault, the prosecution must prove the alleged victim didn’t give consent. Perhaps you did have sexual relations, but believed the accuser gave consent. What happens now? Sometimes the issue of consent is almost impossible to prove, but if your experienced criminal lawyer can show that you made a concerted and reasonable effort to ensure the accuser gave consent, the court can look favorably on this.
• Mistaken identity. Again, you may not have committed any crime at all. With a case of mistaken identity, an arrest for sexual assault can traumatize you for the rest of your life. Your attorney will work with you to determine your alibi, locate witnesses and, if necessary, perform DNA testing to prove your innocence.
Your Best Defense is a Good Offense
Even if you believe any accusation against you is false, consult with qualified sexual assault lawyers as soon as possible. Your legal team is on your side, even when it might feel like the world is against you. They work with you to identify all the facts, establish the truth, and present a vigorous defense both in and out of the courtroom. With your reputation and freedom at stake, start your legal strategy as soon as possible.
Jonathan A. Kessous, Esq. joined Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq where he is currently a senior associate in the Criminal/Municipal Court Defense Unit. As an associate within this unit his practice is primarily focused on Criminal and Municipal matters throughout the State of New Jersey with a primary focus on defending those accused of serious Driving While Intoxicated infractions. Mr. Kessous is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney.