What Defenses Can You Use To Fight A Rape Charge?

Three main defenses can be used to fight a rape charge: innocence, consent, and insanity.

Innocence. An innocence claim is a fundamental defense for all crimes, including rape and sexual assault. The innocence defense is simply stating that the defendant did not do the allegedly criminal action. One way an innocence claim can arise is in the context of an alibi defense. With an alibi defense, the defendant asserts that they were at a different location at the time the alleged crime took place. Witnesses can be presented to confirm the defendant's whereabouts at the time in question. Other evidence such as surveillance footage, store receipts, and vehicle GPS data, can also be used to support the alibi.

A defendant can also claim that they were misidentified by the victim, or that the alleged victim is simply lying, perhaps due to some underlying motive to harm the defendant. If DNA evidence is available, it can help establish with a high degree of certainty whether the defendant was involved or even present at the scene of the alleged crime.

Consent. The focal point of sexual offenses is often consent. Sometimes with this defense, the defendant will not deny having sexual relations with the alleged victim, but will assert that those relations were consensual. In the consent defense, it is crucial to establish that the sexual act was not done against the will of the complainant. If the alleged crime involves a child or a teenager under the age of 16, or a person with mental illness, consent is no defense-even if everyone agrees that the activity was consensual. Minors and persons with mental illness cannot legally give consent. Learn more

Insanity. A defendant can also claim that a mental illness has impaired or affected their ability to use moral judgment, preventing them from 'seeing' the act as a crime. In the insanity defense, it must be established that the defendant, at the time the alleged crime took place, suffered from a mental defect and as a result did not understand the nature and consequences of the act, and could not distinguish between right and wrong -- and therefore cannot be held responsible for the crime. When a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity, that does not end the process. Such a verdict will result in an indefinite civil commitment.

If you are facing rape and sexual assault charges, call to get a free consultation with the attorneys at Roberts Law Group.

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North Carolina vs. M.W.
Charge: Charge: Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon (4 Counts), First Degree Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon
Facing: 12 - 17 years in prison
Result: Dismissed

An incarcerated defendant accused our client of participating in the robbery of a group of youth at a party. We were able to raise doubt as to the credibility of this individual. In the end, the prosecutor dismissed these charges, citing a lack of evidence.