Building a Defense for Virginia Sex Crimes
In addition to fines and incarceration, sex crimes can brand a person with a negative reputation for life. It may be difficult to maintain relationships with friends and family, secure loans, or find employment in the future due to a sex crimes charge. For this reason, building a strong defense for a Virginia sex crime is crucial, and only an experienced attorney can help to make sure you are given the best possible chance at minimalizing any penalties associated with your charge.
First Steps An Attorney Will Take
The first key element in a sex offense case is determining whether the sexual contact was consensual, whether it was between adults, whether it was between minors, or whether it was between an adult and a minor. All of these factors will play heavily into how a Virginia attorney will build a defense against a sex crime. An attorney will also see whether this is a case including a very young victim, or whether there was any significant violence or threat of violence that occurred during the alleged crime. An attorney will be looking to find out all of the facts and circumstances that surround the alleged crime.
Another element of the crime may be a witness. An experienced lawyer will look to find out if anyone had seen what happened, or if anyone can give evidence that might discredit the accuser in the case. Another point of note is whether the accused person has a previous criminal record, and whether even a minor offense may impact their charges in a particular way. For example, if an individual has a security clearance, works in a school system, or has another career which could be significantly impacted or ended by even the most minor allegations, it is a point to note.
Key to a Strong Defense
In these cases, the defense strategy is built with reference to the specifics of the case. Particularly with sex crimes, a Virginia attorney can build a strong defense only if they have all of the pertinent information. In some cases, it will be important to show that it cannot be proven that the alleged victim did not consent. A point to note may be that the person making the accusation had become intoxicated, and does not have a good memory of what occurred.
In other cases, it may be important to show that the person who is accused is actually not the person who committed the crime. Sometimes, when the crime is violent, it may be difficult to identify the accuser.
In some cases, an insanity defense can be used to show that the person did not know right from wrong, or understand the nature of the act at the time that it happened. Each of these has to be assessed on a case by case basis, and only an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to do that.
Some of the factors that an attorney will consider when building a defense strategy include:
- The relative ages of the accuser and the accused
- The relationship of the accuser and the accused
- The severity of the charges that have been brought
- Whether the accused has been appropriately charged or overcharged
An experienced attorney is also looking at whether there are any credibility issues on the part of the accuser, and whether the accuser has a past criminal history. All of these things can factor into building a successful defense.
Some of the first questions that an attorney will ask before building a defense for a sex crime are how old the accused person is, and how old the alleged victim is. An attorney will also ask whether there are any witnesses to the alleged event. The relationship between the parties and the evidence, which might tend to show that the act was consensual in cases where it was alleged that it was not, are important exhibits to note. In the case of a child, if there is evidence that they have been untruthful in the past, it should be considered. It should also be noted if the child does not understand the severity of the allegations.
In addition, an experienced lawyer will always ask whether the person has any prior criminal history and whether they are under a suspended sentence or probation of any court. It is important to analyze whether these new charges can significantly impact any existing cases, and have an attorney tailor a strong defense around that knowledge.
Benefit of an Attorney
What makes an attorney qualified to handle sex crime cases is a wealth of experience in this area of defense. Sex crime cases are very different from other kinds of criminal cases that most practitioners of criminal law encounter, and building a defense in Virginia is not easy. This is something that only an experienced lawyer should dabble in. Only those attorneys will be able to give an individual the very best chance for an ideal legal outcome.