Being accused of any crime can have a serious negative impact on your life. However, being accused of rape can taint every area of your life. All too often, the mere accusation of an offense involving sexual conduct, even without a conviction, can be devastating to your employment, home life and social standing. Although the American justice system is based on the principal that an individual is innocent until proven guilty, people often forget about that when they learn of someone accused of a sex offense. If you have been accused of a sex offense in the State of Nebraska, your first step should be to retain the services of an experienced sex crimes lawyer. The exact form your defense will take after that will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. It may alleviate some worry in the meantime, however, to learn about some common defenses which may be available.
- Consent – Consent is by far the most common defense. Consent simply means the alleged victim agreed to the sexual conduct. Keep in mind, however, the alleged victim must be over the age of consent in order to legally give consent. The age of consent in Nebraska is 17 years old. Accordingly, even if the alleged victim initiated the sexual conduct or willingly participated, if he/she was under the age of consent at the time you cannot assert consent as a defense. Even if the alleged victim was over the age of consent, whether or not he/she actually did consent is often an issue for the judge or the jury to decide because it frequently comes down to a “he said, she said” argument. Some factors that may be considered when trying to determine if the conduct was, indeed, consensual include:
- Whether or not a relationship existed between you and the alleged victim prior to the alleged sexual conduct.
- Whether the alleged victim was intoxicated or under the influence of a substance that may have impaired his or her judgment at the time of the alleged incident.
- Whether any physical violence was used. Did the alleged victim have marks, bruises, or injuries?
- When and how was the incident reported? Did the alleged victim come forward immediately or not until a substantial period of time after the alleged incident?
- Does a motive exist for the alleged victim to fabricate the sex offense? For example, did you have a relationship which recently ended?
- Conduct never occurred – This one is simple. It claims the conduct upon which the allegations of rape or another sex offense are based never happened.
- Mistaken identity – When an alleged victim was attacked by a stranger, mistaken identity can occur. You could, for example, have been picked out of a lineup or photo array simply because you have the same basic physical characteristics as the actual perpetrator.
- Insanity – Not having the requisite mens rea, or state of mind, necessary to commit the crime is always a legitimate defense to a crime.
- Illegal search and seizure – Prosecutions for sex crimes are often won or lost based on physical evidence. If that evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed, meaning it cannot be introduced at trial.
- Victim motivation – Although this can be a powerful defense, extreme care must be taken to ensure you don’t “blame the victim.” The reality is, however, that people sometimes have ulterior motives for claiming rape or other sex offenses. If, for example, you broke up with the alleged victim just prior to the alleged sex offense and he/she vowed to “get you back”, you might have a valid defense.
Only an experienced Nebraska sex crimes lawyer can review the specific facts and circumstances of your case to determine which of these common defenses, or another defense, might apply in your case.
If you are currently facing sex crime charges in Nebraska, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska sex crimes lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal lawyer.