Sexual Assault 101: Basic Laws and Possible Defenses
Sexual assault offenses vary from sexual groping to attempted rape. While all sexual assault is illegal in all states, the specific definitions or sexual crimes that fall within the sexual assault category are different from one state to another. And although the statutes share some general elements, the scope, wording, and structures of sexual assault offenses significantly vary.
General Sexual Assault Laws
Essentially, sexual assault involves nonconsensual sexual contact by coercion, force, or by taking advantage of a victim’s incapacitated state. An incapacitated victim is someone that doesn’t have the right mental capacity to understand sexual acts, or someone who is physically unable of refusing to participate in sexual acts—this may be due to the perpetrator’s use of date rape drugs or alcohol against the victim, which will make the victim incapable of legally consenting to sexual acts.
Newer laws governing sexual assault also include involuntary sexual contact that happens between individuals of any sexual orientation and between individuals of any age, explains dntriallaw.com. For instance, most laws cover nonconsensual sexual contact that happens between two children, two females, or two males, among others, and not just between an adult male and female.
In addition, the majority of states use sexual assault as an umbrella term for other sex crimes like rape, while some states differentiate between offenses involving involuntary or coerced touching and those involving penetration, which could make the former a lower level offense and the latter a first degree or aggravated felony.
Possible Defenses to Sexual Assault
The most common defense that defendants use to fight sexual assault charges is stating that another person committed the offense. Some may likewise claim that the sexual conduct was consensual. The issue of consent is crucial to any sexual assault case and this is questioned and determined in any sexual assault case. Some defendants also use the insanity defense wherein a defendant claims to be mentally incapable of controlling his behavior, have criminal intent, or comprehend what he did or that what he did was illegal.
When faced with a sexual assault charge, you should have an experienced lawyer to safeguard your legal rights and represent you in court. A Houston sexual assault lawyer will guide you through the whole legal process and more importantly, secure the best possible outcome for your case.