What Are Reasons For False Sex Assault Charges In Georgia?
Most false sex assault charges result either from spite or when someone seeks leverage in a domestic or divorce action. Many times, we have found that allegations of sex offenses, physical violence, and even theft, are alleged by one party in a divorce or child custody dispute against the other party. False allegations are usually used against a person as payback or to seek leverage in a pending legal action. The FBI did a study some years ago and found that as many as 18% of sex assault charges were entirely based on reasons unrelated to any actual criminal activity. In other words, they found that up to 18% of sexual crimes were absolutely false and unfounded.
What Sort Of Evidence Do You Typically Use To Defend Clients In Sex Assault Cases?
Most sex offenses are based on eyewitness testimony as opposed to physical evidence. Yes, in some sex assault cases, there is physical evidence, such as DNA, but most sex assault crimes do not involve DNA or other physical evidence. Eyewitness testimony can come from the alleged victim, witnesses to the assault, or alibi witnesses. It’s very important to reach out to any possible witness as soon as the crime has been reported. Memories get stale, and people tend to fill in gaps subconsciously with other information. It’s critical that we interview fact witnesses, alibi witnesses, and victims when possible. Eyewitness testimony is often false, misleading, or confusing. The key is to reach out to the witnesses immediately and lock them in while their memories are still fresh. That’s imperative in defending a sex crime.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Sex Crime Charges?
In Georgia, sex crimes have a two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor sex offenses. Felony sex offenses have a basic statute of limitations of four years. However, this can be extended by four years from the time an assault is first reported if the victim is a minor at the time of the assault, or when the victim becomes 21, whichever is first. Additionally, there is an unlimited statute of limitations for sex crimes where the perpetrator is discovered by DNA evidence. For instance, if an alleged rape happened 20 years ago, but the suspect is arrested on unrelated crimes and their DNA matches the profile of the sex assault perpetrator from 20 years ago, that person would still be prosecuted.
What Is The Standard Of Proof In A Sex Crime Case?
The standard of proof in a sex crime case is the same standard that applies to all criminal matters: In order for a conviction, guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is the highest burden placed on any side, in any type of case. In contrast, the standard to prove that a person is an unfit parent and take their children away is a lower standard called “proof by clear and convincing evidence.” And the standard to prove who caused a car accident in a civil case is “the preponderance of evidence.” For an arrest, it is only “probable cause.” But for a conviction of sex offense, every substantial element of the allegation must be proved beyond a doubt that’s reasonable.
What Happens In Cases Where Alcohol And Drugs Are Involved In An Alleged Sex Crime?
While it may be counterintuitive, most of the sex offenses that we handle do not actually involve drugs or alcohol. This may be partly because a fair number of reported sex offenses are fictitious. But, when sex offenses do happen, there can be many other causes: a mistaken belief that a teenaged victim is of legal age to consent; a misunderstanding as to whether consent was actually given; and more sinister reasons, such as attempts to manipulate, control or exhibit power.
Oddly, many studies have shown that actual sexual fulfillment is a fairly low motivator in sex offense crimes. More often these cases have to do with power exchange, retribution, and other emotional factors. Drugs and alcohol actually play a fairly reduced part in causing sex crimes. But, when drugs and alcohol are involved, it is usually in a date rape type situation where the victim has either been deliberately drugged or given too much alcohol. In other words, drugs and alcohol can serve as a tool to help the perpetrator commit the act, as opposed to the reason for the act.
How Much Does Forensic Evidence And Expert Testimony Play Into A Sex Crime Case?
Although some sex offense cases rely almost entirely on forensic evidence, most sex offense cases have little or no compelling forensic evidence. When it is present, the most powerful type of forensic evidence is DNA evidence, which comes from the technology used for collecting DNA, extracting DNA from very small physical samples, and from quickly evaluating the source. DNA evidence has tremendously improved over the past few years. DNA can be used to find a perpetrator who might not have been otherwise identified. It can also be used to help exonerate the wrongly accused. We like DNA evidence, and we hope that it will continue to play a large role or even a larger role in identifying sexual perpetrators and in exonerating the wrongfully accused.
We often use expert witnesses in sexual assault or sexual battery case. Experts can evaluate forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, autopsy reports, toxicology screens, videos of victim interviews, medical evaluations, and “rape kit” results. Likewise, we often employ private investigators to find and interview witnesses, perform background checks of victims, establish alibis, and generally assist in the defense of the case.
How Should My Attorney Discredit The Accuser In A Sex Crime Case?
Many times, the principal accuser in a sex offense is a child. Sometimes, it can be a child as young as five or six years old. It could also be a teenager. It is never helpful to the defense to appear to be “attacking” the child, or to make the child look like a villain. What we’ve learned to do with children is to embrace what they tell us, to understand what they’re saying, to look for their motivations, to see if they have been coached, to understand if they have fears, if they have reasons to fabricate the story, or perhaps if their memories are just wrong. Maybe they identified the wrong person, but we embrace what the child says. We accept what they’re saying, and then we work to explain why their memory or statement is not correct. There is nothing to be gained by vilifying a child on the witness stand. Juries do not react well to that approach.
Recently, I tried a case where a high school teacher and track coach was accused by a student for touching her inappropriately. The young student testified at trial. I presented myself to her in a friendly manner, and politely asked her questions. I asked her to explain what her memories were, and found, through investigating the case and interviewing fact witnesses, that there simply was not any reasonable possibility that this teacher had been present at the time and place of the incident. We were able to show that her memories were not correct, that the time frame was not possible, and that this teacher could not have done what he was accused of, all without attacking the teenage victim. The jury agreed, and the teacher was found not guilty of these very severe charges.
For more information on Reasons For False Sex Assault Charges, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 637-5505 today.
Call For A Free Consultation