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Defenses for Sexual Assault Charges in Texas

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Texas is tough on sexual assault crimes. The legal punishments for a rape conviction can be severe. The police will collect as much evidence as possible when rape accusations are made. The prosecution will attempt to use this evidence to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty.

However, it is possible to defend against rape charges in Texas. The defense can use several strategies to convince the jury that the defendant did not commit a sexual assault.

Types of Defenses

Section 22.011 of the Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault as the penetration of a person’s sexual organs, mouth or anus without that person’s consent. Based on this legal definition, defense against sexual assault charges often take three forms:

  • No sexual penetration took place
  • Consent was given
  • Mistaken identity
  • No Crime Occurred

The first type of defense often depends on the type of evidence that is recovered by the police in the case. For example, if the medical examination of the alleged victim uncovers no evidence of sexual penetration, the defense may argue that there is no way to prove the occurrence of rape. If the DNA of the defendant is discovered at the scene, the defense may argue that the defendant was present at the scene but did not commit rape.

Consent Was Given

If DNA evidence shows that sexual activity took place, the defense may argue that the activity was consensual. Because the legal definition of sexual assault includes language specifying a lack of consent, consensual sex cannot be charged as rape.

For example, the defendant may argue that, even though sex occurred, there were no other signs of forced sex. They may point to the fact that there were no signs of trauma, no evidence of drugs or alcohol or that the defendant and alleged victim were in a loving relationship. While these factors may not be enough to prove that a rape did not occur, they can point out a lack of evidence in the prosecution’s case.

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, a person may claim to have been raped by a stranger. If this happens, the alleged victim will have to identify the alleged perpetrator in order to press charges. In cases like these, the defense may argue that the alleged victim made a mistake when identifying the alleged attacker.

For example, if the alleged sexual assault took place in a dimly-lit area, the defense could use crime scene evidence to claim that an accurate identification was impossible. If the alleged victim tested positive for the presence of alcohol or drugs, the defense may claim that he or she was too intoxicated to make a reliable identification.

In sexual assault cases, the defense may use one, two or all of these defense strategies in order to convince the jury of the defendant’s innocence. It is important to note that the defense does not have to completely disprove every single element of the prosecution’s case. Instead, they can show that some important elements of the prosecution’s case are not supported by reliable evidence.

The Importance of Evidence

Evidence is the most critical factor in sexual assault cases. Witness, victim and defendant statements play an important role but the evidence has more of an impact. In terms of a legal defense, pointing out a lack of evidence is often a good strategy.

This means that the defense can use evidence that counters the prosecution’s claims and they can also show how the prosecution’s evidence is unreliable. For example, the defense can introduce evidence showing that the alleged victim approached the defendant to initiate sexual activity. This can counter the prosecution’s claim that the sex was non-consensual.

In another strategy, the defense could claim that signs of sexual activity do not automatically prove that rape occurred. They could point out the lack of signs of forcible sexual activity. While this may not completely prove the defendant’s innocence, it can show that the prosecution’s evidence is not conclusive.

Developing a good legal strategy requires good legal advice. Hiring an attorney as soon as charges are filed is the best way to build a good defense.


If you’ve been accused of sexual assault, contact the Law Office of Brett A. Podolsky. Our experienced team will work hard to build a defense to protect your rights and preserve your future.

Call 713-227-0087 or email today for a confidential consultation!

 

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