Being charged with sexual assault is a frightening experience. However, an accusation is not the same as guilt. Your freedom and reputation are at stake. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not give up hope.
Two primary defenses exist for sexual assault charges. One is that no sexual contact occurred. The second defense is that sexual contact occurred, but with consent.
The most obvious defense to a sexual assault charge, or rape, is that no sexual activity occurred. A medical examination and the use of a rape kit can often be used to determine the presence of semen and other evidence of sexual assault. A swab is frequently used to collect DNA samples that may have been left by the alleged attacker. In addition, a medical examination can reveal if any other physical trauma is present.
However, not all sexual assaults show signs of physical abuse. Texas law provides that if a person takes advantage of someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs, then the person that is incapacitated has been sexually assaulted. Also, the law forbids an employee at a hospital or prison to have sex with a patient or inmate. Having sex with a person under the age of seventeen is also illegal if you are more than three years older than the victim.
Medical Examinations and Laboratory Test Do Not Prove Guilt
Regardless of the apparent evidence against a person accused of sexual assault, an aggressive and experienced attorney investigates and studies the evidence. A good attorney knows not to take anything for granted. Results of medical examinations and laboratory tests are not conclusive. Sometimes medical examinations and laboratory reports are in error or intentionally misleading.
The case of the Duke lacrosse team in Durham, North Carolina, is an example of how the prosecution unethically manipulated a laboratory report.
In 2007, three members of the Duke University lacrosse team were charged with rape. A private laboratory conducted DNA testing on the evidence from the rape kit. The physical evidence included DNA swabs from the victim and the victim’s underwear. The lab found semen present in the victim’s underwear and conducted DNA testing to determine from whom the semen came. According to the New York Times, the head of the laboratory, Brian Meeham, told the district attorney, Michael Nifong, that the DNA test indicated that the semen did not match the DNA of the men on trial for rape.
The district attorney had a legal duty to turn over all evidence to the defense team. He failed to inform the defense team that semen found in the woman’s underwear was not that of the accused. Also, the information was omitted from the report of the laboratory’s findings. The defense attorney questioned Mr. Meeham at the trial about the DNA testing. Mr. Meeham admitted the omission of evidence from the report. He further testified he told the prosecuting district attorney that no semen from the men accused of the rape was present on the woman’s underwear.
Mr. Nifong violated his duty as district attorney when he failed to inform the defense team the lab found semen in the woman’s underwear and it did not match any of the defendants’ DNA. A link to the New York Times article is provided. In the end, the rape charges were dismissed against the defendants and the district attorney was disbarred due to his misconduct in office.
A fair question is, “I am in Texas, what does this have to do with me.” Prosecutorial misconduct is not restricted to North Carolina.
The second defense to sexual assault is consent. If you engaged in consensual sex with an individual and that person subsequently claims it was not consensual, do not argue your case to the police. The only thing the police will hear is that you admitted to having sex with the victim. Also, your admission can be used in court against you. The state has to prove that you were engaged in sexual activity with the accuser, and that it was against her will. Do not help the state prove its case by admitting to having relations with the accuser.
Many motives exist for an alleged victim to claim she did not consent to sex. An experienced trial attorney can expose bad motives. For example, perhaps the accuser has a boyfriend or husband to which they need to explain the situation. Often, when the person making the false accusation knows they will have to face a tough and experienced defense attorney at trial, they start backing off before the case goes to trial. In such event, you may be offered a plea deal to a lesser offense. In consultation with your attorney, you can make the decision to accept the plea or go to trial.
Bryan Hoeller Can Help
Bryan Hoeller will examine each piece of evidence in your Fort Worth sexual assault case. As the attorney did in the case of the Duke lacrosse team, Mr. Hoeller will take nothing for granted. Laboratory reports can be incomplete or just flat out wrong. The person making the accusation can have a motive to be untruthful.