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Defending a sexual assault case

Defending a sexual assault case

Experience and tenacity are very important qualities in a criminal defense lawyer, but when it comes to sexual assault cases, vision (“the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be”) may trump them both. Essentially, your attorney should have a good idea of what to expect and how the case will unfold before discovery even starts.

Vision is so important because, although every case is different, most sexual assault cases have some common elements. Typically, a man and a woman meet in a public place, and there are several third party-witnesses. After the two people move to a private place, subsequent events are much harder for a jury to piece together, especially since the standard of proof is so high. In this context, “beyond a reasonable doubt” basically means that the evidence must be so overwhelming that the prosecutor’s version of events is the only logical interpretation.

Vision is important in other criminal cases as well, so the process laid out below is also applicable to most other matters.

Evaluating the evidence

A “date rape” drug is another common feature of many sexual assault cases. Typically, the substance is alcohol, but there are some other ones as well, such as gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), rohypnol, and ketamine. If the alleged victim had traces of GHB or some other similar substance in her bloodstream or a very high BAC level — usually above .16, then the jury will most likely presume that the defendant intended to incapacitate the woman. The only defense is that someone else administered the drug, and that is a fairly remote proposition.

The same can be said for any physical injuries. If the alleged victim had any wounds requiring first aid, jurors are almost certain to conclude that there was a lack of consent.

Consent is also a very powerful argument, but an attorney must tread lightly, because aggressive questioning risks violating so-called rape shield laws and also alienating the jury. So, a better approach may be to address the alleged victim’s motivation in bringing the accusation, because there are fewer legal limits to this line of questioning.
For a free consultation with an aggressive criminal defense attorney in New York, contact Merchant Law Group, LLP. Call us today at 212-658-1455. If you were arrested, then you should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. We are available twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week and are available for court appearances at short notice.

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