As some North Dakota residents may know, a legal defense varies depending on the type of crime and the evidence used to support the charges. When considering charges of sexual assault, there are three main types of defense. Two are common to other types of crime where the defendant claims innocence or mental incapacitation that would make the defendant unable to assume responsibility.
A claim of innocence requires supportive corroboration. This is usually accomplished by providing an alibi. Being in the company of others who might serve as witnesses or providing such items as a cab or restaurant receipt might help prove this defense. Other ways of proving innocence might involve the use of DNA analysis. In the case of sex crimes, DNA may be procured from the victim. If the DNA does not match that of the defendant, this may lead a jury to decide in the defendant’s favor.
Consent is another type of defense strategy. Although an individual may say that sexual assault occurred, the defendant might argue that the experience was consensual. Proving consent may be complicated. In addition, there are times when proving consent was given, particularly if the victim is underage, mentally deficient or incapacitated, is not possible. In such cases, the defendant would need to prove that, despite reasonable effort, the defendant did not know. A defendant may also claim insanity or mental incapacity as a defense. Showing that a defendant was incapable of knowing the act was wrong might result in a not guilty verdict.
When an individual is charged with sex crimes, consulting an attorney may be helpful. The attorney may review the case and build a defense using witness statements, DNA analysis or consent.