Branford Sex Crimes Lawyer
Sexual based offenses require special attention due to their sensitive nature. In the court of public opinion, sometimes the allegation of a sex crime is just as damaging to a defendant’s reputation and freedom as the conviction itself. Rape charges can carry significant fines, penalties, and incarceration, depending upon the seriousness of the offense.
If you believe that the alleged sexual contact was consensual or did not occur, you should contact a Branford sex crimes lawyer to protect your rights and build a defense if the sexual contact is claimed to be forced, or non consensual. A skilled criminal attorney can help you assess how to best handle your case.
Types of Rape in Connecticut
In Connecticut, there are a number of crimes that can be considered sexual exploitation, depending largely upon the conduct surrounding the sexual act in question. A criminal defendant can be the subject of a wide variety of charges, including:
- Statutory rape
- Sexual assault
- Lewd behavior
- Date rape
- Promoting the prostitution of another
- Indecent exposure
- Domestic violence
- Sex offender registration violations
- Sexual abuse
Of these, the most serious crime a Branford sex crimes lawyer has seen is considered aggravated sexual assault. This felony is considered a first-degree offense if the defendant compelled another person to engage in sexual intercourse by force or the threat of force. It is a Class B felony, punishable up to 20 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. If the victim is under age 16, the crime is considered a Class A felony, punishable from 25 to 60 years in prison with a maximum fine of $20,000.
Possible Defenses to Rape Charges
Even though the prosecutor may have a wealth of evidence in terms of victim testimony and DNA evidence, there are several defenses a criminal defendant of a sex crime may assert to escape culpability:
- Alibi – an alibi is a strong defense because it illustrates that the defendant was not in the vicinity of the criminal act, and thus could not have committed the act. An alibi defense often relies upon testimony from a witness. However, if the testimony is derived from a witness sympathetic to the witness, such as a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member, the testimony may not be deemed credible.
- Mistake of Age – commonly asserted, but not a viable defense. A defendant cannot claim they thought the victim was of a legal age to consent.
- Rape Shield Laws – these laws benefit the victim, and not the accused. Essentially, a rape shield law prohibits the use of a victim’s sexual conduct as evidence of that individual’s character. This helps to avoid juror bias.
Defending with Consent
A consent defense means proving that the sexual act was consensual. Proving consent can be a viable defense to the claim of rape. Rape, by definition, is the unwanted carnal knowledge (intercourse) of another that has not agreed to the sexual act. Proving that the sexual act was desired, or agreed upon, can assist a defendant in terms of trial strategy. The basis of the crime is that the defendant committed a wrongful act that violated the victim’s rights. Proving consent would negate this element of the crime by illustrating that no rights were violated by way of the sexual contact.
Sometimes consent is difficult to prove if the defendant claims the consent was given orally (possibly hearsay) or was inferred from the victim’s acquiescence (silence, or failing to deter). Often times, the validity of the consent argument rests upon a determination of credibility – if one party says something that the other party denies, the jury will be forced to believe whichever party they find more credible.
Talking to a Branford Sex Crimes Attorney
Due to the severity of the penalties for defendants facing sex crimes charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney now to discuss your options. A Branford sex crimes lawyer can evaluate your case and consider negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor depending upon your goals.