3 Things You Should Know When Fighting A Sexual Assault Charge
If you are being charged with a sexual assault crime and believe you are innocent, you are going to need a good lawyer and a good defense strategy. When you meet with your criminal defense lawyer —like one from Clark & Clark LLC — it's important you to tell him or her your side of the story. From there, your lawyer will begin creating a defense strategy to help you fight this charge. If this is your first time being charged with a crime, here are three things you should know.
You Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty
A sexual assault crime can land you years in prison if you are convicted; however, it may take going through a trial before you are assumed guilty. Your trial will most likely be completed with a jury trial, which means that 12 jurors will be selected to hear the case. These jurors will then be responsible for reaching a unanimous decision about your verdict.
While it can be hard to prove your innocence in a criminal case, your lawyer's main objective will actually be to prove there is not enough evidence to prove you are guilty. The court cannot legally convict you of a crime unless they are 100% certain you committed it. If there is not enough evidence to prove this, they will legally have to give you an innocent verdict.
The Evidence Your Lawyer May Use
Your lawyer is likely to try to instill doubt in the minds of the jurors. To do this, your lawyer may gather evidence that makes you look good, and that would probably cause the jurors to doubt you committed the crime you are being charged with. Some of the evidence admissible for this purpose may include:
- Alibis – If you have alibis for the time when the crime allegedly occurred, your lawyer may subpoena them to court to testify on your behalf.
- Expert witnesses – An expert witness is often hired to help build a person's credibility. This person might be an expert in a field and could testify there is no way you could have committed the crime. Witnesses can also be subpoenaed for character reference purposes. For example, your boss might be called in to testify on your behalf if this testimony could help your case.
In a sexual assault case, the plaintiff might not have any hard evidence to offer in court. All the evidence may be considered circumstantial evidence, which is usually not enough to convict a person. If this is the case, your lawyer may use this as a defense strategy to help you win the case.
Defense Strategies To Use
Reminding the jurors the evidence the plaintiff is offering is strictly circumstantial is a common defense strategy used in criminal cases. To use this strategy, there must be a lack of direct evidence proving your guilt in the crime. Your lawyer must also remind the jury that convicting with circumstantial evidence alone is not fair or right.
Another strategy commonly used in sexual assault cases involves questioning the accuser's credibility. If the person accusing you of this crime has done things in the past that he or she is not proud of, your lawyer may bring these things up in court. For example, if the accuser has a criminal background or is a known drug user, your lawyer may bring these up to reduce this person's credibility.
There are many ways to fight a sexual harassment charge, but you should begin the process by selecting a good criminal defense lawyer. This could help you win the case, which is always the ideal verdict for a person charged with a crime.