As the opening lines of Law and Order: SVU claim, “In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.”
Although this is true, and our state – like the rest of the country – takes sex offenses very seriously, just because you are accused of a crime does not mean that you will automatically be convicted of said crime.
For this reason, if you are accused of a North Carolina sex crime, it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will help you beat your charges. Sex crime accusations often come down to the individual accounts of both parties regarding what did and didn’t happen, and it’s up to the judge or jury to decide who they believe.
Defense Strategies That Can Be Used to Battle Sex Crime Charges
Every sex crime allegation is different. A skilled lawyer will be able to determine the best defense strategy based on the specific details and circumstances of your case to ensure that you have the best chance of getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
The most common defenses used to beat sex crime charges include:
You are innocent. If you absolutely did not commit a crime, your defense will be based on claiming actual innocence. The most important factor in proving that you are innocent will be to show the court that you were in another location when the alleged crime was committed. This is called establishing an alibi.
For your alibi to be valid, you will need to provide substantial and credible evidence that proves you were not with the victim. Depending on where you were or what you were doing, you might be able to provide receipts, video footage, pictures, financial statements, and so on to support your alibi.
Another way to show actual innocence is to show that the victim misidentified you as the perpetrator. This can be proven with an alibi or forensic evidence like DNA to determine if you were at the crime scene.
The victim consented. For a sex offense to occur, the act has to be done against the will of the victim. If the alleged victim actually consented to the act, then a sexual assault didn’t occur and you can’t be found guilty on those charges. Providing evidence that the victim consented can be difficult, though, because it’s your word against theirs.
If the victim consented and then falsely accused you of a sex crime, your lawyer will look at both your and the victim’s history individually and together, including text messages, photos, witnesses, the possibility of ulterior motives, and any evidence that would cast doubt on the prosecution’s theory.
You were mentally incapacitated. If you have a mental health issue that prevents you from understanding or knowing that the act you are committing is a crime, you might be able to build a defense on your own mental incapacity. This route will require you to be examined by a number of health professionals to determine the verity of your mental capacity.
Knowing Which Strategies Can Help Is Only the Start
While it is valuable to know the basics about the various defenses you could potentially use to help your case, that’s just the beginning. Which strategy you should use will depend upon the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
Because of this, your best chance for a positive outcome will be to hire an attorney who has the skill and knowledge necessary to determine which one is most likely to help you. He or she will be able to analyze the evidence against you, poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and fight for your rights every step of the way. Don’t waste time. Reach out to a North Carolina sex crimes attorney today.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.