Consent Key to Defense to Sex Assault Charges
Consent is often the key to the defense in sex assault charges in Texas. This issue comes up most often in “date rape” scenarios. Two people get together. They may be out on a date or may have just met at party or a bar. They wind up back at one of the parties residence. Drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs is almost always a factor. Within a day or two a sexual assault allegation is made to the local law enforcement agency. The key to the defense of these sexual assault charge almost always will be consent.
Under the law both parties must consent to the sexual activity. There must be an agreement. If the victim was unable to give consent due to the effects of alcohol or drugs then the police can bring charges. They may allege that the victim drank so much alcohol they either passed out or were too inebriated to give consent. The victim may allege that they were given a drug such as rohypnol or GHB and they have no recall at all of the assault but there is physical evidence sex occurred.
Since alcohol or drugs are usually consumed before sex both parties may have foggy memory of what exactly occurred. When law enforcement begins their investigation a detective will usually ask the victim to show him her phone and review any text messages between the victim and the suspect. Often there are texts between the two parties the days after the incident and these can be used as evidence of lack of consent. These text usually consist of the victim asking the suspect if “they had sex and why”. any answers from the suspect which can be interpreted as proving lack of consent will soon become a key part of the prosecutions case.
Detectives will sometimes try to gather evidence by having the victim make a recorded call the the suspect. The goal is to have the suspect discuss what happened and admit that there was sex and that the victim was was in a very impaired mental state.
Once the suspect becomes aware that he is under suspicion for sexual assault the should contact an experienced sex assault criminal lawyer as soon as possible. The criminal lawyer should immediate begin preparing the defense based on consent. Every witness who saw the suspect and victim together should be identified and interviewed. These witnesses may be able to verify the defendant’s story and show the victim was coherent and knew exactly what was going on. All text messages and any other form of communication made by the victim and suspect should be located and preserved. All social media post made by the victim and suspect should be located and reviewed.
The criminal lawyer should also consider having his client take a polygraph examination. Depending on the facts the polygraph examiner may be able to test on specific facts that go directly to the allegation. Polygraph results can be summited to a grand jury as part of a packet or given to the the prosecution for review.
Sex Assault charges are very serious and can result in a prison sentence. A prison sentence or probation also requires registering as a sex offender for the defendant. If you are a family member is accused of a sex assault get in touch with a sex assault attorney as soon as possible