Fort Worth Sexual Assault Defense
If you have been accused of sexual assault in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas, what you do (or don’t do) next can impact the trajectory of your case and, ultimately, your life.
Sexual assault cases are usually built on the word of the alleged victim, often without corroborating evidence, so you will not help yourself by cooperating with police or giving your side of the story. They aren’t interested in fairness or getting to the truth. In fact, giving a statement to the police is the worst thing you can do right now.
Your next contact needs to be with an experienced sexual assault defense attorney who has a proven record of success and the reputation to back it up. Our team has helped numerous people beat a sexual assault charge and we are prepared to help you, too. Do not underestimate the gravity of your situation. A conviction for sexual assault carries life-altering consequences, including possible prison time, steep fines and sex offender registration. You will need the very best defense team in your corner to beat a sexual assault charge.
How to Beat a Sexual Assault Charge
At Varghese Summersett, we have a reputation as one of the best sexual assault defense firms in North Texas – and for good reason. We have exceptional results defending rape cases, including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and sex allegations involving children.
So what’s our strategy? We get out in front of the case fast – and leave no stone unturned when looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In this blog post, we share ways to beat a sexual assault charge. But first, please watch this video by Letty Martinez, a board-certified criminal attorney and former prosecutor who has handled dozens of sexual assault cases during her legal career.
Advantages of Getting Out in Front of the Case
If you have been accused of sexual assault, formally or informally, the first thing you need to do is contact an experienced Fort Worth sexual assault attorney. Do not talk to the police – or anyone else.
- If you heard through the grapevine that your ex-girlfriend is telling people you sexually assaulted her, you need to contact a defense attorney.
- If a detective contacts you and asks you to come down to the station to give “your side of the story,” you need to contact a defense attorney.
- If you are arrested on a sexual assault charge, you need to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a defense attorney.
By contacting an experienced defense attorney before you do anything else, you can level the playing field and put yourself in a much better position to defend against sexual assault allegations. The attorney will act as the buffer between you and the police, so you are not inadvertently incriminating yourself.
The attorney can also start investigating the sexual assault allegations right away and, if necessary, take steps to preserve evidence that may be helpful to your defense. For example, if there are text messages or social media posts that contradict the alleged victim’s story, an attorney can work to obtain them before they are deleted.
An experienced sexual assault defense attorney will also be able to assess the credibility of the alleged victim and begin looking for any possible motives that she or he may have to make false accusations. For example, if the alleged victim is trying to gain an advantage in a child custody case, that is extremely valuable information.
In some instances, the attorney can provide police and prosecutors with information that may prompt them to reconsider filing sexual assault charges. For example, if the alleged victim has a history of making false accusations or there is evidence that she was not actually assaulted (i.e., she had consensual sexual contact with someone else around the same time), that may be enough to get the charges dropped.
If it looks like they are going to proceed with the investigation, the attorney can work on a presentation for the grand jury in an attempt to get the case no-billed, or dismissed, at that stage in the process.
The bottom line is this: if you have been accused of sexual assault, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get an attorney on your side, the better your chances of avoiding charges or getting the charges dismissed.
How to Find Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case
In sexual assault cases, detectives and prosecutors tend to believe their alleged victims – even in the face of evidence to the contrary. It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to move forward with a case even when an alleged victim recants. Instead of dismissing the case, they may even double down and bring in an expert to explain to the jury why recantations should not be believed.
As defense attorneys, our job is to look for every weakness in the prosecution’s case – large or small – and use them to our client’s advantage. Some areas that we focus on include the timing of the allegation, insufficient evidence, inconsistent statements and motives for lying.
The timing of a sexual assault allegation can be very important when defending a sexual assault case.
1. When was the outcry made?
Did the alleged victim make the accusation immediately after the sexual assault occurred or weeks, months or even years later? The longer the delay, the more likely it is that there are other motives for making the accusation.
For example, if an individual alleges that she was sexually assaulted by her boss and she waits until she is about to be fired for embezzling company funds to make the accusation, that raises serious questions about her motives.
On the other hand, if an individual reports a sexual assault to the police immediately after it happens, that is much more difficult for the defense to overcome.
2. Is the outcry consistent with the alleged victim’s conduct over time?
If an alleged victim reports a sexual assault and then posts photos and videos on social media that are sexually promiscuous or inappropriate, it could be used to show that he or she is unfazed by the alleged sexual assault.
It’s important to look at the individual’s social media posts and conduct over time to see if there is a pattern of sexual promiscuity or making false accusations. If there is, that can be used to impeach the alleged victim’s credibility.
3. Does the timing of the allegation make it more or less plausible – in other words, what else was going on at the time of the allegation?
For example, if an individual accuses her ex-boyfriend of sexual assault and she makes the accusation immediately after he breaks up with her, that raises questions about her motives.
→ Insufficient Evidence
In sexual assault cases, there is often very little evidence beyond the alleged victim’s word. There may not be any eyewitnesses, video footage or physical evidence. This can make sexual assault cases difficult to prove – and easier to defend.
If there is no concrete evidence linking the defendant to the sexual assault, that creates a major weakness in the prosecution’s case. Our team will capitalize on that weakness to create reasonable doubt.
→ Inconsistent Statements
It is not uncommon for sexual assault victims to give inconsistent statements to the police, or even change their story completely. When investigating sexual assault cases, our defense team will spend significant time finding, gathering and analyzing any statement the alleged victim made to determine if there are any inconsistencies, including:
- The first statement – or outcry – the alleged victim made (and to whom)
- Statement to the patrol officer
- Statement to the police detective
- Statement to 911 call taker
- Statement to sexual assault nurse examiner
- Statement to a forensic examiner
- Statement to therapist
- Statements to friends, family, co-workers, teachers
- Family court statements, including in a divorce or child custody case
- School records, work records, doorbell recordings, etc.
If we find any inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s statements, we will use those as leverage in an attempt to get the case dismissed or, if we go to trial, create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.
→ Motives for Lying
In sexual assault cases, the alleged victim often has ulterior motives for making a false accusation. If we find a motive or bias for lying, we will use them attack the credibility of the accuser. Some common motives for sexual assault allegations include:
- to get revenge – sexual assault allegations are often made in an attempt to get revenge on the accused for some real or perceived wrong.
- to obtain child custody – sexual assault allegations are often made in child custody cases as a way to try to get an advantage.
- to get attention – some people, particularly young girls and boys, crave attention and will make sexual assault allegations as a way to get attention from their parents or others.
- to cover up infidelity – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made to cover up an affair or other sexual misconduct.
- for financial gain – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made in an attempt to get a large financial settlement from the accused or their insurance company.
- mental health issues – some people who make sexual assault allegations are suffering from mental health issues, such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
- fabricated – some sexual assault allegations are completely fabricated and the alleged victim has no memory of any sexual assault because it never happened.
- To obtain immigration status – sexual assault allegations are sometimes made by people who are not citizens in order to try to obtain legal status in the United States.
As you can see, there are many possible motives for bringing false sexual assault allegations. Our experienced criminal defense team will carefully investigate to try to find any ulterior motives in an effort to beat a sexual assault charge.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help Beat a Sexual Assault Charge
We understand that sexual assault cases are often based on “he said, she said” testimony with little to no physical evidence, so we work tirelessly to poke holes in the victim’s story and cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
If you or a loved one has been accused of sexual assault, please contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced defense attorney. We have handled thousands of sex cases – first as prosecutors and now as highly skilled defense attorneys. We know how the other side thinks, which is why are in the best possible position to beat a sexual assault charge. Call 817-203-2220 now; time is of the essence.