In Maryland, rape is a serious crime that can result in significant sanctions. Rape, however, is not a single crime. There are two different rape charges that prosecutors can pursue against individuals, as well as other charges based varying alleged conduct related to claims of sexual assault. As such, it is impossible to assume that two rape or sexual assault charges will benefit from the same criminal defense strategies.
This post discusses some of the possible defense options that individuals may be able to use when they are charged with rape and sexual assault. It does not provide any legal guidance or advice. Support with case-specific questions and needs should be directed to knowledgeable Maryland-based criminal defense attorneys.
Defense Option #1: Consent
At the heart of rape and sexual assault charges is the assertion that the alleged victim did not consent to the alleged acts that were committed against them. Without evidence of this element of a crime, a prosecutor’s case may fall apart. When a defendant and their counsel can show that an alleged victim permitted or invited the sexual contact that was later deemed criminal, the charges against them may be dismissed.
Defense Option #2: Mistake or innocence
It is a sad fact that in some sexual assault and rape cases, alleged victims falsely identify the parties that allegedly harmed them. When this happens, an innocent person can be charged with a serious crime that could rob them of their freedom and rights. Mistakes of fact and identification can be used a defense options for those facing rape and sexual assault charges.
Defense Option #3: Mental defect or disease
When an individual is connected to a rape or sexual assault crime, they may have the option of pursuing a defense based on their mental state or capacity. Individuals who lack competency and do not understand their actions may have defense options if they are charged with sex-based crimes.
There are no easy answers to charges of rape and sexual assault. Only legal support focused on one’s own criminal charges can yield options for a person facing the daunting process of a criminal trial. Attorneys who work in the criminal defense field of law are excellent resources for rape and sexual assault defendants.