Being accused of sexual assault is a serious legal matter that can have far-reaching consequences for your personal, professional, and even financial well-being. A conviction can bring jail time, sex offender registry status, and civil liability. So make sure to seek quality legal counsel who can examine your sex crimes case fully.
If you, or someone you know, is accused of sexual assault in Colorado, you likely have many questions to be addressed. The initial stages of a sexual assault investigation is a critical period for gathering evidence. The best way to go about defending your rights is to contact a criminal defense lawyer with experience in sexual assault cases.
The sooner you can begin to build your case, the better you can defend your rights and navigate the legal system for a resolution that protects your reputation and future. Don’t hesitate to contact the team at Wolf Law LLC for more information and even a free consultation about your sexual assault case.
Common Evidence Collected in Sexual Assault Investigations
When a claim of sexual assault is made against someone, investigators immediately begin to collect evidence against that person. Some of this evidence may have been compiled by medical professionals before the person reported the alleged sexual assault incident to the police, creating what is known as a “rape kit,” the goal of which is to gather DNA evidence and prove that a victim did not consent.
Depending on the time elapsed from the date of the alleged incident, the police may want to collect the alleged victims’ clothing, bedsheets, and other property that may have evidence from the alleged assault. They may also ask the person to take a blood test or another medical test to check for anything untoward in his or her system. The test results and other items will be submitted for forensic examination and testing and are often used as lead pieces of evidence in a legal case.
Of course, throughout the evidence-gathering stage of the investigation, the investigators are looking specifically for proof of lack of consent or violence between the supposed victim and their alleged assaulter. Physical evidence, which could have another explanation, is often gathered if it could be interpreted to help the prosecution’s case.
Do you still have questions or concerns? A lawyer can explain the evidence-gathering process in more detail.
Physical Evidence Versus Digital Evidence
If you are facing a charge of sexual assault, you deserve to know what digital or physical evidence may be given in the case against you.
Physical evidence – such as DNA, blood, clothing, hair, and fibers – are often the main pieces of evidence upon which prosecutors base their cases. However, evidence also comes in other forms – including digital.
Digital evidence – by contrast – usually refers to any information stored on a computer, cell phone, or another electronic device. Some common examples of digital evidence presented as exhibits by prosecutors in jury trials are:
- Text messages
- Dating app correspondence
- Phone logs
- Photographic or document data stored on a computer
Much of what we do on the internet is not truly private, rather being accessible long after the fact. Any such information found could be interpreted by another party in various ways.
While it is not often that digital evidence is the only basis upon which a person is charged in sexual assault cases, it can lend credibility to the prosecution’s claim of force or lack of consent.
While it may seem like you are fighting an uphill battle, remember that it is the prosecution’s job to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt – it’s not your job to prove your innocence. Whether the evidence against you is physical or digital, you would do well to have legal advisors who can defend your rights.
Evidence That Doesn’t Hold Up in Court
44 percent, on average, of reported rape cases in Denver make their way to court. These are the cases that the prosecution believes they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the other hand, accusers sometimes lie or lack enough evidence from the scene, witness testimony, DNA evidence, or medical records to back up their claims.
The main pieces of evidence in a sexual assault or rape case are:
- Biological evidence collected from the alleged victim’s person
- Medical records
- Specific details about the events leading up to the supposed sexual assault or rape
- Statements from witnesses, and;
- Other evidence from the crime scene where the sexual assault occurred
However, sexual assault survivors often report the sexual violence after the fact, long after DNA evidence has been eradicated. Whether or not this lends credibility to the survivor’s story is one example of what can make sexual assault cases hard to prove.
In addition to a lack of evidence, another thing that can derail the prosecution’s case is evidence that was illegally obtained, perhaps where the officer did not follow search and seizure procedures correctly.
Another situation where the prosecution may offer evidence that does stand in court would be if an interview conducted by law enforcement personnel with the accused was performed incorrectly. That can happen if the suspect is not read their Miranda rights or those rights are not respected.
A dedicated Colorado criminal defense lawyer may prevent charges from being filed or suppress evidence that does not meet the legal requirements – ways to decrease your chances of being wrongfully convicted or sued in civil cases. Your attorney can decide who gets to testify, help you corroborate your story with evidence from the scene, and aggressively seek justice on your behalf.
Statements and Interviews as Evidence
In sexual assault cases, there are often few to no witnesses present during the alleged crime. Most sexual assault cases are “he-said, she-said,” or based solely on the word of the alleged victim – most commonly women.
The alleged victim’s statements are what the police use to jump-start their investigative process. And if he or she chooses to testify in court, that testimony is seen to corroborate or prove a sexual assault.
Both actual victims and so-called victims often claim to have not consented to sexual contact – or, in the case of historic sexual assaults, that they were not of age or the perpetrator was present in another area of their life so that’s why they didn’t report it until later. Whether or not age was a factor or sexual assault occurred, victims usually don’t document the crime scene or preserve any evidence or proof.
However, very little police time may be spent delving into the behavior, motivations, and personal history of the alleged victims, their relationship with the accused, or any prior sexual contact. While this information is highly relevant in sexual assault cases, it often falls to the defendant’s legal team to do the necessary digging into the supposed victim’s background and securing witness testimony to prove sexual assault did not occur.
The use of psychological experts and private investigators is one way in which sexual assault defense attorneys can reveal the truth about the alleged victim, his or her story, and what actually did occur. If you are concerned that your statement or interview will have a negative impact on your credibility, your lawyer can help talk you through the options for your sexual assault case.
How Wolf Law LLC Can Help You
At Wolf Law LLC, we understand the potentially devastating consequences associated with a sexual assault conviction. We take all our sexual assault cases extremely seriously and are ready to defend our clients each step of the way.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can thoroughly investigate your case, find and/or challenge evidence, secure witness testimony, and suit their defense strategy to your unique circumstances.
For example, the prosecution needs evidence that a crime or assault took place, proof that the accused was the perpetrator, and witnesses to back up this claim against the supposed perpetrator. However, what they might fail to consider is the possible motive of the alleged victim to seek compensation in civil cases against the alleged perpetrator of the supposed crime.
The experienced sexual assault defense lawyers at Wolf Law LLC, though, know how the legal world works. We know that the prosecution has a very high burden of proof, so we know how to undermine a case that lacks a solid foundation.
We explore every avenue available in your – or your loved one’s – case. Whether that be negotiating reduced charges with the prosecution, seeking a plea agreement, or taking the case to trial and fighting for an acquittal.
To learn whether we can help you get justice, it is critical that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Call us at 720-479-8574 to schedule a free consultation.