Building a strong defense requires knowing the in’s and out’s of the law as well as each individual aspect of a sex crimes case. While the legal defenses in a sex crime are static, the effectiveness of a legal defense is based on the ability of the criminal defense attorney’s to investigate the complete details of the case and illustrate the lack of the credibility of the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses. Our attorneys at Cofer Luster Law Firm, P.C. have experience in investigation on both sides of the aisle, as all of our defense attorneys were once prosecutors. Hiring a defense team that knows how the prosecution works and thinks gives us an edge into winning cases and is one of the reasons why we have such a high dismissal rate for our clients.
If you’re in need of experienced criminal defense attorneys for a sex crime, contact our office immediately by phone or our website and we’ll connect with you quickly. We’ve also put together a list of the most common defenses used in sex crimes cases for you to be prepared for your consultation.
Technical Defenses for Sex Crimes Charges
Charges Must be Filed Within the Statute of Limitations Period
The statute of limitations (SOL) protects an individual from having to defend himself against alleged criminal activity after a certain period of time passes after an injury*. The period of time varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim. In Texas, for example the statute of limitations for rape is 10 years if the victim is an adult while if the victim is a child there is no limitation.
The “clock” in Texas begins on the date of the alleged commission of the sexual offense. If a defendant is not formally charged with the crime before the statute of limitations period has expired, the prosecution for that offense legally cannot charge for the offense.
Evidence in a Sex Crimes Case
Building evidence for a defense in a sex crimes case needs to be fast and effective in order to get ahead of the prosecution. While there are a variety of types of sex crimes (e.g., rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse), these offenses are all serious.
To the benefit of the defense, evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime has been committed. Elements of these crimes can include penetration, sexual gratification, lascivious intent, lack of consent, force and more. Each sex offense has a distinct set of elements, and all must be proven beyond reasonable doubt for the prosecution to win.
Our defense lawyers at Cofer Luster Law Firm, P.C. have both prosecuted and defended such cases and can eloquently and methodically cast doubt upon these individual elements at every available opportunity during trial. If we’re able to prove any of these elements didn’t occur within a reasonable doubt, then we will move for a dismissal of the case.
Physical Evidence of a Sex Crime
Physical evidence is the primary source of evidence in prosecuting a sex crime case. Physical evidence includes DNA, semen, or bruising as well as video and audio among other things. If there is a lack of physical evidence it can be easier to prove that without the “corroborating” evidence that the allegations are false.
It’s much easier to poke holes in a case with limited to no evidence and create doubt necessary to convince jurors. The jury can then make a much easier assessment that reasonable doubt exists and that the defense’s case is more credible than the complainant’s false allegations.
Creating Reasonable Doubt by Discrediting the Statements of the Complainant
Before beginning any trial, our attorneys at Cofer Luster Law Firm, P.C. will carefully take note of every statement previously given by the complainant and his or her witnesses. This way when it’s time to present our defense of your case, we can show the inconsistency and contradictions within their own testimonies and prior statements.
Creating Reasonable Doubt by Establishing Accuser Motivation
One of the most important elements to defending a criminal case is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors. During our pre-trial investigation, we’ll do an in-depth background check into the accuser and the circumstances that led to the allegations of the sex crime. These investigations can many times uncover facts that prove motivation.
Here are four motivations that lead to claims of sexual assault, which may explain the reasoning behind the allegations against you.
- Embarrassment or Shame. Even though a sexual encounter may have been consensual, a person may claim that it was sexual assault or rape after the fact out of embarrassment or shame that they willingly participated in an encounter.
- Revenge or Contempt. People who feel hurt and angry may seek revenge against a previous partner or person in their life. Revenge and contempt are both powerful motivations to false legal accusations, especially if the person was humiliated, embarrassed, physically or mentally hurt, disrespected, or felt dismissed by their own advances. These malicious attempts to ruin a persons life and even have them sent to prison should be stopped. If you have been the victim of a false sexual assault or false rape accusation, then you should contact our legal defense team at once.
- Financial Incentive. False sexual assault and rape claims can be made to extort money from another person, but generally begin without the involvement of law enforcement or lawyers. If anyone threatens to sue you for sexual assault, you need to immediately retain a criminal defense attorney as these are very serious accusations that can likely lead to terrifying legal repercussions. This happens often in relation to extramarital relationships.
- Divorce and Child Custody Disputes. Divorce and child custody battles can be brutal. One parent may falsely accuses the other of sexual assault or sexual violence in order to gain advantage in family court by forcing the other parent to give up many of their rights and property to simply make it go away.A parent may falsely accuse his or her spouse or partner of having sexually molested one or more of their children in order to gain an advantage in family court. Such false charges can arise during divorce and custody cases.
Use of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses are witnesses that usually include doctors, DNA scientists, forensic scientists and professionals related to the case that are becoming almost always required in a criminal sex crime case. They can provide evidence and information regarding topics such as showing to the jury how children are easily influenced and susceptible to suggestion. As a defense team, we can benefit by their ability to create doubt about the validity of the case.
Defending Against False Allegations Made by Minors
Children and teenagers for their own reasons may make false claims of sexual assault, rape, and other sexual cases. So, while some may be accurate, at Cofer Luster Law Firm, P.C. our sex crime defense attorneys can help defend against false allegations made by minors.
False allegations by teenagers typically involve drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, parent/stepparent issues, live-in-boyfriend arguments, and/or revenge. With children under 12, we see a different dynamic. Allegations made by a child can be made on nothing but imagination, repeating something they heard, or simply because the child’s inability to always accurately describe the events that took place. As most parents care deeply for their child, they often rush to judgment and form a solid belief that the child had been sexually abused. Parents and adults surrounding the child at the time of this announcement will naturally ask questions that can “taint” the case as a whole.
“Taint” Hearings. Filing a “Taint” Motion
Child sex crimes can be the most difficult type of sex crime case to defend as children because jurors are extremely likely to trust a child for everything they say. At the same time, children can be easily mis-guided and unreliable in their memory and testimony. They’re also easily manipulated by parents, legal teams, and outside pressure into creating false imagery of what occurred. The difficulty in predicting what can happen in a child sex crimes case means that our defense team needs to ensure that all established protocols are followed, and if they aren’t to file a “taint” motion by illustrating that the complainant’s memory has been so compromised that it is no longer reliable as required by Rule 602 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
If we build an effective defense by showing the testimony of the child witness is uncorroborated by forensic and physical evidence, then we can usually prove that the child in incompetent to testify under Rule 602.
If you feel that one of the legal defenses above may apply to your case or if you’re looking for a team of lawyers that can defend your case effectively, then contact us for a consultation by calling us at (682) 777-3336. Bad things happen at all times and we’re here for you 24 hours a day. We know how important your case is, and we want to protect you from the beginning.