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What are defenses to sexual assault?

A sexual assault conviction in California can result in serious and life-altering consequences, including jail time, hefty fines and a damaged reputation. Unfortunately, when it comes to sexual assault accusations, it is more often than not the victim's word against the defendant's. Most jurors show bias in the victim's favor, making it difficult for defendants to move beyond the case and forward with their lives in a positive manner. That said, if you were recently charged with sexual assault, you are not without defense options. FindLaw explores those options more in depth.

Your first defense option against sexual assault is a claim of actual innocence. From claiming you could not have committed the crime because you were in a different location at the time the incident took place to asserting that the plaintiff misidentified the offender, there are several defenses you may use to prove your innocence. Bear in mind that the prosecution has the burden of proving you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can create reasonable doubt, the jury has not choice but to let you off the hook.

If you cannot use innocence as a viable defense, you may opt to use the consent defense. One element plaintiffs of sexual assault cases must prove is that the sexual behavior in question occurred against his or her will. If you can prove the plaintiff consented to the act, you may be able to successfully defend yourself against allegations of sexual assault. 

If you cannot prove innocence or consent, you may be able to rely on the mental incapacity defense. If you can show you had a mental disease or defect at the time of the crime, you may be able to successfully remove criminal liability for your actions.

This content is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.



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