Navigating a Sexual Assault Charge

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Assault charges are always a serious matter, but they are especially consequential if they are cases of sexual assault. The precise definition of this offense varies from state to state. Regardless, it is most certainly prohibited by every state. It is also outlawed by the federal government as a serious crime. If you need legal assistance, Military Trial Defenders can help.

Sexual Assault: The Basics

In general, an action can be identified as sexual assault if it consists of any manner of coerced or forced sexual contact that is offensive or unwanted. Commonly, throughout the United States, the act need not necessarily involve penetration, but this is not always the case. In New York, penetration must have occurred for a trial to ensue under the label of a sexual grievance. Many states now include spousal assault under the umbrella of sexual offenses. Marriage can no longer be used as a defense. Thus, even if a couple is legally married, a forced sexual act can be charged as assault if it involves the use of threat.

In all cases of sexual assault, the burden of proof is on the victim. These cases are very challenging and complex, and it can be difficult to gather proof that leads to a verdict of “guilty.” Nonetheless, criminal prosecutors are skilled at gathering evidence to incriminate the defendant, and anyone charged with assault should hire a defense lawyer immediately. Hesitation will increase a defendant’s chances of conviction, and penalties can include heavy fines as well as jail time.

How to Choose an Attorney

It is your constitutional right to choose an attorney. This is much better to do than to allow one to be selected on your behalf. It is important to remember that not all criminal defense attorneys are experienced in the area of assault. A defendant should always seek out representation that is experienced in the area of the charge. Additionally, the defendant’s choice of attorney should reflect the unique situation. If the defendant is a member of the military, for example, he or she may want to look to a law firm like Military Trial Defenders. Say the defendant is charged with a case of child assault, the criminal lawyer should have a background in this type of case. If the charge involves alcohol or drugs, these factors should be taken into account when choosing an attorney as well.

What to Expect When Charged

While many sexual offenses are solved through a settlement or a plea bargain, there is a good chance that the case will end up in court. If this happens, the victim will likely be asked to testify. The defendant will also have to give a statement. Criminal cases can be long and drawn out. A defense lawyer is available to partner with the defendant throughout the length of the process. Attorneys offer invaluable counsel and aid in these critical situations. It is highly recommended that those charged with sexual assault seek out a criminal attorney. 

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