Under California law on sexual assault, it’s a crime to touch another person’s intimate parts without their consent. Its termed as a violation of human rights. Being accused of sexual assault is not an easy thing. You need to realize you’re in big trouble and will face nasty consequences. Thus, it’s better to ensure you’re in control of your situation by understanding what you should do after an accusation. If you have been accused that you forced the victim to engage in any sexual activity without their consent, do not understate your circumstance. It’s better to seek help from a criminal attorney who has dealt with sexual assaults cases before.
Understanding Sexual Assault In California
It’s against the human right to touch the intimate parts of another individual against their will. The act must be intended to cause sexual arousal, sexual abuse, or self-gratification. For instance, if a victim is under medical treatment or is medically incapacitated, any touch to their intimate parts would be against their will. Sexual assault may not include rape or even the actual act of penetration. These are separate crimes with different legal consequences. But if the sexual assault leads to non-consensual intercourse, this may be termed as rape. Sexual assault allegations can ruin one’s reputation. Therefore, if charged with a sex crime, it’s better to consult the best Los Angeles criminal attorney who can guide you on what to do.
What You Should Do If Accused Of Sexual Assault
The best action to take after being accused of sexual assault is to look for ways to defend yourself. It’s a common belief among individuals that if they don’t do something wrong; they don’t need to bother with the situation as they will be found innocent. According to the law, ignorance is no defense to any criminal charges. Most of the crimes don’t even require knowing whether the defendant did or knew that their conduct was illegal. To ensure you’re not on the mercies of the law, you need to:
- Get a qualified criminal defense lawyer: Without legal representation, you will be doing yourself more harm than good. The lawyer will bring out all the relevant defense strategies to be used for your case to win. You should ensure to have a lawyer the moment you suspect the police are investigating you. The investigation sometime starts way before any arrest is made. For example, the police have to ensure they get information from the victim and the witnesses before heading to question you as the accused. This will give you time to prepare. Ensure that you don’t give any information to the police before speaking up with your lawyer.
- Document any interaction you had with the victim: You need to recall as many details as possible. You should indicate the date and time and any other interaction you had with the victim.
- Have your witnesses list: You need to have the name and addresses of people who can testify that the incident never occurred.
- Don’t lie: It’s not the job of law enforcement to presume you’re innocent. The police will find the evidence necessary to prove you’re guilty. The worst thing you can do at this moment is to lie to the police. It’s against the law to present any evidence that’s not correct. You risk your defense, and this may lead you to harsher sentences. If you lie, two things may happen to you:
- You will be charged with a separate crime such as perjury.
- The information you gave will be sued against you at trial, and thus this will destroy your credibility.
Sexual assault charges need to be defended just like any other criminal charge. You need to ensure that even if you have been found guilty, the charges or punishments can be dropped or even dismissed. The possible penalties for the sexual assault charges are either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Defenses For Sexual Assault Charges
A good lawyer can formulate the right strategies to be used to defend your allegations. Some of them include:
- False accusation: You need to provide evidence that you were not around at the time of the alleged accusation. For instance, if you had traveled, you can provide ticket receipts or any other evidence to show that you were not with the victim.
- Victim’s consent: This is had to prove. However, in most cases, the defendant uses past sexual relationship with the victim to show that there was sexual consent on the part of the victim. Nevertheless, if the victim is a minor or mentally incapacitated, you cannot claim that there was consent.
As the defendant, it’s upon you to raise reasonable doubt to counteract the prosecution burden of proving you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This will lead to an acquittal since the evidence obtained will be insufficient. This is all possible if you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.