A sexual assault charge has a certain stigma in our society; the shame the alleged perpetrator feels functions as a deterrent from committing this act more than once. However, those charged with sexual assault are often “tried” by their communities before a jury even hears their case. These defendants often face ostracism, loss of friendships, and trouble at work.
The torment defendants face is decidedly at odds with the American belief that everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
What is Sexual Assault?
The law labels a wide range of offenses as sexual assault. Depending on the governing state, sexual assault can include:
- Sexual contact, such as groping or fondling, which can occur through direct skin contact or over one or both party’s clothing or other material.
- Assault or battery, which involves an individual attempting or actually physically striking the victim or acting threateningly or explicitly threatening the victim in order to instill fear.
- Attempted rape
These acts vary greatly in severity. By labeling any unwanted act sexual assault, we often attach violent connotations to the defendant’s actions. This is alienating for each of the accused, but it’s especially catastrophic for innocent defendants who can’t shake the stigma even when their case is dropped or they’re found not guilty.
As Minnesota sex crime attorneys, it’s our goal to help our clients get through this challenging time in their life, whether innocent or guilty of the crime.
Defending Against a Sexual Assault Charge
Minnesota sexual conduct lawyers attempt to protect their clients’ rights before, during, and after a sexual assault trial. It’s a prosecutor’s responsibility to prove our client is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – that is their burden. Our responsibility as defense attorneys centers on ensuring our client receives fair treatment in the eyes of the law. Whether you’re innocent or guilty of the charges, we’ll fight for a fair outcome to the case.
Evidence is one of the biggest defenses against false or misleading claims in a criminal trial. Both physical evidence or witness testimony can strengthen our defense. Some components of a sexual assault defense may include:
- Consent- Did the victim consent to the alleged actions? This must be disproven by the prosecutor. If you have evidence of consent (text messages, video recordings, etc.) this evidence can be used to show consent.
- Victim motivation- If these accusations are retaliation, can we show that the alleged victim had a motivation to be dishonest about what occurred?
- Accepting a plea- Unfortunately, being innocent of a crime sometimes isn’t enough to receive a “not guilty” verdict. Or, maybe you agree you were partially at fault but don’t believe the charges fit the crime. Your criminal defense attorney will analyze the charges and the evidence to determine whether accepting a plea may be in your best interest.
Defending against a charge of sexual assault varies greatly from case to case. There is, however, one piece of advice we can offer all defendants: seek out an experienced criminal defense team as soon as you’re charged with a crime.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Law Firm
Sieben Edmunds Miller is a premier criminal defense firm in Mendota Heights. We’ve helped many defendants in Minnesota and Wisconsin defend against criminal charges, including sexual assault. Our job is to be your advocate. If you are charged with a sexual harassment offense in Minnesota, make sure your first call is to a Sieben Edmunds Miller criminal defense attorney.