Consent as a Defense to Sexual Assault Charges
Consent is often a key issue in a sexual battery case. Simply proving that the sexual act took place is not sufficient; the prosecution must also establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the act took place without the alleged victim’s consent.
The evidence regarding consent is often one person’s word against the other’s. In that situation, the defense has a strong argument that the prosecution’s burden has not been met. The prosecutor will attempt to support the case with physical evidence and the testimony of experts, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer will have strategies for disputing that type of evidence, as well.
Disputing Physical Evidence and Medical Conclusions
Some of the most common physical evidence in sexual assault cases involves DNA evidence connecting the defendant to the crime and medical evidence supporting the claim that the alleged victim was assaulted. This evidence can be challenged in many ways, including:
• Questioning the reliability or accuracy of collection or testing procedures
• Showing a break in the chain of custody of samples or evidence
• Having a defense expert challenge the prosecution’s conclusions
• Moving to suppress the evidence
Suppression of Evidence
When evidence in a criminal case is suppressed, the prosecution is prevented from presenting that evidence to the jury. While there are many reasons evidence may be suppressed in a criminal case, one of the most common is that the evidence was illegally obtained. For example:
• Statements by the defendant may be excluded if the police were required to read Miranda warnings and did not do so
• An audio recording may be excluded if it was recorded without the defendant’s knowledge or consent
• Physical evidence may be excluded if it was collected without the defendant’s consent or a valid search warrant
Talk to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Sex Crime Charge(s)
Sexual assault cases can be difficult to prove—a charge does not necessarily mean a conviction. However, the most effective defenses to sexual assault charges are technically legal and scientific arguments. If you’ve been charged with sexual battery in Florida, give yourself the advantage of an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side every step of the way. It’s easy to get started. Just call 727-531-2926 today to schedule a consultation.