Q. What kind of evidence is required to prove a sexual assault?
A. People often believe that physical evidence, like DNA or observable physical injuries, are required to prove a sexual assault, but this is not true. Many defendants have been convicted (sometimes wrongly) based upon the testimony of an alleged sexual assault victim and little else. The law does not require any specific type of evidence to convict someone of sexual assault. The law only requires that the evidence presented is relevant and reliable. Because a jury can find the testimony of an alleged victim alone to be sufficient to find a defendant guilty of sexual assault, you will want an experienced attorney who knows how to confront and contest whatever evidence is presented in court.
Q.What do I do if I’m falsely accused of sexual assault?
A. The first thing to do is to consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney will advise you on how to protect yourself during a police investigation. Many people think they should submit to a police requested interview in order to defend themselves, but this can be a big mistake. The police can twist your words or take them out of context to make you look guilty. An attorney can also begin investigating the allegations against you immediately in order to gather evidence for your defense before the evidence goes missing or witnesses’ memories fade.
Q. Can I go to prison if I’m convicted of a sexual assault?
A. Yes, but it depends upon the charge. Many very serious sexual assault charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. In other words, if you are convicted, the judge must sentence you to no less than a specified number of years, as much as 25 years in the most serious cases. Other types of sexual assault charges do not have a mandatory minimum sentence, but can still expose you to serious time in prison. An experienced attorney will know what potential penalties you face based upon the charges against you and can advise you on the best strategy to avoid prison if possible.
Q.Do you have to register as a sex offender if convicted of sexual assault?
A. It depends on the specific law under which you were found guilty. Many types of sexual assault convictions require registration as a sex offender. The length of time required for registration is either 10 years or a lifetime registration for sexual assault convictions in Connecticut. In addition, if you move away from Connecticut, you will still be required to abide by the local jurisdiction’s laws on sexual offender registry. Being on a sexual offender registry can cause all types of disadvantages. An experienced attorney can assist you in resolving your case to keep you off the sexual offender registry if possible.
Q. What is the best way to defend against charges of sexual assault?
A. This will depend on the charges, the person making the allegations against you and the evidence that supports the allegations. The credibility of the person alleging the sexual assault is a crucial issue in any sexual assault charge. The physical evidence, if any, in a sexual assault charge is also highly important and will inform the defense strategy. Defenses can be based upon a denial that an assault occurred at all, that an assault occurred, but someone else is responsible, or that a sexual encounter occurred, but it was consensual. An experienced attorney can review all of the evidence against you and determine the best strategy for defending against the charges. An attorney can also conduct an extensive investigation to gather evidence in your favor. Whatever the allegations and evidence are against you, you’ll want an experienced attorney to defend you at every turn.