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5 Common Defenses Used in Sexual Assault Cases


Sexual assault cases are complex and delicate, and they require deep knowledge of criminal law, sexual boundaries, and human psychology. If you are facing a sexual assault charge, you need to explore all your legal options and possible defenses with a skilled lawyer who specializes in these cases.

If you are facing sexual assault charges, our lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers can help. Contact our Georgia sex crimes lawyers to review your unique situation and determine the defenses available to you.

5 Defenses in Sexual Assault Cases

Although every case is unique, the following are some of the most commonly used defenses in sexual assault cases:

1. Consent

This defense argues that the alleged victim willingly gave permission for the sexual act, making it not assault. However, proving consent can be challenging, as the law stipulates that consent must be informed, affirmative, and voluntary. If there is any doubt about the victim’s ability to consent, such as intoxication or coercion, the defense may be weaker.

2. False Allegations

Another common defense is that the accusation is false, and the defendant did not commit the crime. This defense requires a strong investigation to prove the accuser’s motives and credibility, as well as the absence of physical evidence or witnesses. This defense may be more effective if there is evidence of a grudge, blackmail, mental instability, or manipulation.

3. Mistaken Identity

Sometimes, the accused is not the person who committed the assault, and this defense aims to demonstrate the wrong identity. This defense necessitates a thorough forensic and eyewitness testimony investigation to prove that the defendant was not present, did not match the description, or that someone else committed the crime. However, a mistaken identity defense may not hold up if there is strong physical evidence, such as DNA samples.

4. Innocence

The most straightforward defense in sexual assault cases is to argue that the accused did not commit the crime, had no motive or opportunity, and was far from the scene. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, and the defense will try to create reasonable doubt by outlining alternative scenarios or evidence. This defense may be challenging but is often successful if there is no physical evidence or eyewitness testimony.

5. Insanity

Finally, a defendant may use the insanity defense, also known as the mental disorder defense, to argue that they were not sane at the time of the crime and thus not responsible for their actions. This defense often includes testimony from mental health professionals and medical records and may result in acquittal or commitment to a mental health institution. However, using the insanity defense is risky, and the jury may still hold the defendant accountable if they perceive them as dangerous.

Note: Although a general insanity defense is not considered a defense in Georgia, Georgia Code § 16-3-2 recognizes the defenses when the defendant had no capacity to distinguish right from wrong.

Discuss Your Defense Options with a Lawyer

Facing a sexual assault charge is a serious and life-changing situation, and every case has its unique circumstances and challenges. Therefore, it is crucial to work with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and build a strong defense strategy.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers to discuss the facts of your case and evaluate your defense options. We serve all of Georgia, including Gwinnett County, Atlanta, Cobb County, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Fulton County, Johns Creek, and Sandy Springs. Call 770-685-6400 for a free case evaluation.

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