“Help, I’ve just been accused of rape.”
You are in very vulnerable situation, so you should be concerned. If you believe that you are going to be accused of rape, or have been accused, there is a possibility that you can avoid a charge of rape if you take the right steps.
Every situation is different, but the best course when accused of rape is to have a defense lawyer who can be your go-between with the police. Anything that an attorney tells the police can’t be used against you. If you try to negotiate with the police, everything you say can be used against you. Trying to talk your way out of a situation can make things worse.
Have no contact with the alleged victim. Any attempts to reason with the person can come across as an admission of rape. Begging the person not to have you arrested makes it appear as if you have done something wrong. Very often your calls are being recorded and your texts or emails are being collected to be used against you later.
Often, people will try to apologize for harsh words or an argument, or a fight, but the phrase, “I’m sorry” in a text in the context of a rape or sexual assault can appear to be an admission. This can be very detrimental to defending a rape charge.
Before charges are filed, it’s important that I speak with you as your attorney to establish the facts and all the surrounding information around the alleged event. Generally, allegations of rape only involve you and the person accusing you. No one else really knows the facts about what happened.
If there has been a charge of rape filed, then you still need to make sure not to contact the alleged victim. You might violate the terms of your bond or complicate your case immensely. At that point, to prepare for trial you need to gather as much information as possible. The collection of information is something that I help to guide as your criminal defense attorney.
Unfortunately, false rape accusations are a bit of an epidemic. There’s so much sensitivity for alleged victims in these cases and very little sensitivity for those wrongly accused. In some states, schools have required written consent to sexual activity. Indiana is not currently among them in 2014, but that could change at any point.
What this means is that in rape cases the burden gets shifted – maybe not legally, but by societal prejudice to the defendant to prove they didn’t commit the crime. This is why experience in this type of criminal law is very important in choosing a defense lawyer.
There are two common defenses to rape:
In this case, you have to show that you reasonably believe that you had the consent of the other party. In Indiana, the current law is that the person has to say “no” in order for there not to be any consent. The circumstances of the event are crucial in determining whether there was consensual sex.
If there was consent, or perceived consent, then a rape defense needs to focus on the motivation of the accuser. Is there a jealousy or emotional issue? Is the person young and has to answer to their family in case of pregnancy? Is there a monetary interest? Has the person accused others several times in the past of the same crime?
As someone who has been accused, it may be very difficult to think through these issues, or to understand all of the possible ways that a defense lawyer could help shape your defense.
But, especially before a charge has been filed, communicating with this law office can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
2) Mistaken Identity
In this situation, the person has confused you with someone else. The victim might have been intoxicated, the situation could have been dark, or the suspect was wearing a mask. You need to show that you were not the suspect, or that there were problems with identifying you as the suspect.
If there was DNA involved, this defense is very unlikely to be successful.
In conclusion, rape cases require the accused to act quickly. In my 20 years of experience, it is one of the few types of crimes in which you can entirely avoid a charge if the facts and your actions mesh well enough, and early enough.