While rape is a terrible crime, it is just as terrible to wrongly convict someone of the crime. That’s why America has the high burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to criminal charges. However, we are increasingly seeing rape charges brought up in college hearings with much lower standards of proof and the inability to cross examine the alleged victim or confront the evidence. The stakes are often expulsion without the ability then to get a degree or into other universities. This is why it is so important to work with a top sex crimes defense lawyer if you have been accused of rape.
He Said/She Said
The confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh serve as an excellent reminder as to why sex crimes charges are often so difficult to prosecute. In the majority of cases, women do not come to police for one reason or another. When they do, there is often a lack of physical evidence because few women go to the hospital to undergo examinations after they have been raped. This is particularly true in cases where the woman has been date raped rather than raped in a violent manner by a stranger.
To make matters worse, traumatic memories are rarely consistent or reliable, making the victim’s account of events often questionable. If there is no physical evidence and there are no witnesses, then ultimately the case becomes a matter of one person’s word against another -in a situation where one of the person’s memories are often inconsistent due to trauma. While this is occasionally enough to convict someone, particularly if he has already been convicted of a related crime or if the prosecution can prove he has a history of violent or aggressive behavior towards women, it usually falls short of the burden of proof required in the American court system.
Your Right to Silence
That being said, it is critical you work with a top attorney if you have been accused of a sex crime. That is because while most cases lack definitive proof, a confession, or even a defendant’s inconsistent statement can be used as evidence of a crime instead.
Police will often try to bully, coerce or even trick a defendant into confessing to a crime when they do not have enough evidence otherwise. In many cases, they will even tell the suspect that there are other witnesses or that there is DNA evidence linking him to the crime when there is no such proof against him. Sometimes they may ask the victim to call the suspect in a recorded conversation, hoping the defendant will apologize or otherwise confess. That is why you should never speak to the police or the alleged victim of a crime without your lawyer present.
The police will also request a suspect to provide a DNA sample. The suspect should speak to a lawyer immediately and not consent.
If you have been accused of a sex crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to discuss your case with Peter M. Liss.