A criminal charge of Sexual Assault can result from an accusation of a wide range of actions.
Every state’s laws define sexual assault a little differently, but most sexual assault statutes include any behavior that includes unwanted or un-consented sexual attention or action.
Any kind of unwanted sexual contact can result in a sexual assault charge.
- Sexual Harassment
- Voyeurism/Peeping Tom
As you can see, many charges of sexual assault involve no physical contact whatsoever.
Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges
A charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault can result if there are certain aggravating factors, such as if a minor child is involved, someone who is disabled or elderly, or if the case involved certain levels of violence, use of weapons, or injury.
Aggravated sexual assault is a felony offense which will result in at least a year in prison (and often much more) if you are convicted.
Physical Sexual Assault
Unwanted and nonconsensual sexual assault usually consists of physical contact or groping of breasts, buttocks or genitals. It can apply to situations as different as grabbing someone familiar to you against their will in a social setting or groping a stranger in public, such as in a crowd or on a subway.
Generally, a sexual assault charge does not include penetration, which would make it a rape offense under most state laws. And these laws and terms vary a lot from state to state. For example, in Massachusetts, sexual assault is called indecent assault. In Ohio, it’s classified as Gross Sexual Imposition.
Sexual Assault Defenses
If you are accused of sexual assault, don’t give up hope. There are valid defenses in a wide variety of circumstances. And you are always innocent until proven guilty. The state must prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
There could be a legitimate misunderstanding about what took place. It may not have been clear that the sexual attention was unwanted. It is even possible for a sexual assault charge to result from inadvertent behavior, such as sex in public or in public view.
Witnesses and alleged victims can sometimes lie about these kinds of charges. A good lawyer will challenge any evidence against you and contest any testimony in cross-examination that is questionable.
Fighting A Sexual Assault Case in Court
Can you fight (and win) when charged with sexual assault? You absolutely can, but note that there are a few things stacked against you that you’ll have to overcome.
The Prosecution is not going to cut you any breaks. Don’t expect to get the “benefit of the doubt” on anything in a sexual assault case. Your lawyer will likely need to fight for everything and challenge every piece of evidence. It’s a simple fact that in cases of sexual assault, the prosecutor or district attorney won’t risk being “soft” on these types of charges. Even if the facts are shaky and the evidence weak, they probably aren’t going to be eager to dismiss the charges in most cases.
The quality of your attorney can make a huge difference. Find an attorney who you feel confident is ready to fight for you, and definitely knows his or her way around the courtroom.