Fighting Accusations and Proving Sex Was ConsensualPublished: Jan 02, 2020 in Sex Crimes
Being accused of sexual assault or another sex crime in Texas is not something to take lightly. An accusation can impact every part of your life, so you need to respond swiftly and carefully. Do not trust the justice system to do right by you. The goal of prosecutors is to find a guilty party, secure a conviction, and get the case off the docket.
It’s essential that you prepare for the worst, secure an attorney, and learn more about proving sex was consensual. To discuss how to best defend yourself, clear your name, and obtain the best possible outcome, contact an experienced and highly skilled Houston sex crime attorney at The Law Office of Ned Barnett,
Defining Consent in Texas
Before you can fully understand your situation and start making a plan, it’s important to know how consent is defined in Texas. Without a complete understanding of how Texas defines consent, you could unintentionally provide evidence that casts doubt on your innocence or paints you in a bad light.
Under Texas law, there are several situations in which consent cannot be given:
- When a person is compelled to participate by the use of physical force of violence or the viable threat of force or violence
- The person is unable to resist or is unconscious
- The person has a mental disease or defect that renders them unable to understand sexual acts or resist sexual acts
- The person has been intentionally impaired by the other party
- When someone is coerced to participate by a public servant, mental health services provider, clergyman, or care provider
- When a person is 16 or younger
Consent is widely assumed to be clear, affirmative, voluntary, and ongoing. This means that a participant in sexual activity should provide consent in an easily understood way, that consent should not be assumed but should be actively given, that consent cannot be given under duress, and that consent can be withdrawn at any time.
Accused or Questioned? Avoid Implicating Yourself
The culture around sexual assault accusations is highly charged, and statements you make to friends and family, media, or other people could be used against you. For many, their first instinct after being accused of sexual assault or rape is to defend themselves.
They may vent their frustration to friends and family members, on social media, or to news reporters. This rarely paints accused individuals in a positive light.
The statements you make could be interpreted as victim blaming, which could make public opinion turn against you. For example, commenting on the other party’s attire, past sexual activity, or reputation will likely backfire.
The best thing you can do after an accusation is to stay quiet. It is difficult, particularly when you hear your name being dragged through the mud. However, if you don’t say anything, it is impossible for your statement to be used against you. You may also want to lock down or temporarily disable your social media. In the aftermath of an accusation, everything you’ve said or done could end up under a microscope.
The only time to speak up is when you contact a lawyer. Yes, you do need an attorney if you have been accused of sexual assault. Some people decide to fight charges on their own, believing that their innocence will save them. Many of those people end up with a permanent spot on the sex offender registry and a destroyed reputation.
Gather Evidence of Consensual Sex
One of the most difficult aspects of proving that sex was consensual is that consent can be nearly impossible to confirm. You may have text messages where the other party talks enthusiastically about engaging in sexual activity with you, but that doesn’t mean that they provided consent at the time. Consent can be withdrawn, so prior discussion of sexual matters isn’t the solid defense that many believe it is.
However, you should still provide your attorney with copies of contact between you and the other party. This is particularly true if they attempted to blackmail you. In some situations, one party threatens to report the other for sexual assault if the other party doesn’t give them money, stay in a relationship with them, or meet other “requirements.” Any written proof of these demands can be beneficial to your case.
The best thing you can do is be honest with your attorney and follow their advice.
Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Yourself
The consequences of sexual assault charges and convictions can cripple your future. They may leave you with limited job options, destroy your reputation, restrict where you can live, or even hurt you in custody cases. You need an attorney you can trust to defend you aggressively.