Stamford Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault is investigated and prosecuted aggressively by Stamford police and prosecutors. While the law is written to protect vulnerable people, broad state statutes and over enforcement of the law can sometimes result in an unjustified rape charges. The stakes for these crimes can be life-changing, including long prison sentences and a public sex offender record that could significantly impact the rest of your life. So, if you are being investigated or arrested for an offense involving sexual violence, then reach out to a top Stamford sexual assault lawyer immediately.
What is the Definition of Sexual Assault?
The basic legal definition of sexual assault is the nonconsensual and intentional touching of another person’s intimate body parts. Sexual contact is defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-65(3) as touching another individual’s intimate body parts for the purpose of sexual gratification of the actor or for the purpose of degrading or humiliating such person.
There are four degrees of sexual assault in Stamford, Connecticut with first degree being the most severe and fourth being the least. Typically, first- and second-degree sexual assault involve nonconsensual intercourse and third- and fourth-degree sexual assault involve nonconsensual sexual contact. A defense attorney could analyze your case and let you know exactly why you are facing charges of sexual assault.
Additional statutes describe aggravating factors that could lead to increased charges, such as the use of weapons or involvement of a minor. Our Stamford attorneys could help someone determine which specific statutes may apply to their sexual assault charges.
What is Statutory Rape?
A second-degree sexual assault charge—also known as statutory rape— is defined in the Connecticut Penal Code as sexual contact in which one party is legally ineligible to consent to the contact. The inability to consent may be due to age, mental state, or the alleged perpetrator’s authority position. For instance, sexual contact between a schoolteacher or coach and a student could qualify as this degree of sexual assault.
What are the Jail Penalties for Sexual Assault?
Instances of fourth-degree sexual assault not involving individuals under the age of 16 can lead to Class A misdemeanor charges that carry potential fines and a maximum sentence of one year in jail. All other sexual battery cases are felonies and could lead to prison sentences of up to 20 years as well as maximum fines up to $15,000 if the individual is convicted. In addition to prison terms and exorbitant fines, those convicted could face public sex offender registration and highly restrictive sex offender probation requirements for many years after. Moreover, the arrest could become public record that may affect everything from employment to personal relationships.
Contesting Sexual Violence Charges in Stamford
There are only two affirmative defenses for sexual assault offenses outlined under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §53a-67, each of which only applies in very specific situations. First, anyone accused of committing sexual assault by engaging in sexual contact or intercourse with someone who is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated cannot be convicted of that offense if they were earnestly unaware of the other person’s condition when they engaged in the conduct in question.
Second, it can be an affirmative defense specifically to fourth-degree sexual assault allegations that the perpetrator and their alleged victim were cohabiting together by mutual consent when the alleged offense took place. The legal status of the involved parties’ relationship has no bearing on this affirmative defense, and this defense does not apply to any other degree of sexual assault, as a lawyer in Stamford could explain.
Outside of these exceptional circumstances, qualified legal representatives generally build defense strategies around proving that one or more core elements of sexual assault as defined under the Connecticut penal code were not present in the defendant’s alleged actions. For instance, if someone is accused of engaging in third-degree sexual assault by forcefully compelling sexual contact with another person, evidence that the contact was consensual or did not involve the use or threat of physical force could be crucial to mitigating the penalties a defendant might end up facing.
Medical Evidence in Rape Investigations
When someone goes to the hospital and alleges that they have been sexually assaulted, the personnel there will generally conduct a rape kit after stabilizing the patient’s physical condition. Under Connecticut state law, only the qualified medical professional performing the exam and any close family members, or friends specifically requested by the person being examined may be present in the room while the exam is taking place.
After, law enforcement may compare the DNA evidence collected from the exam to samples taken from the clothes and personal possessions of the person who allegedly experienced the assault, as well as from the area where the assault allegedly occurred.
Testimonial and Documentary Evidence in Rape Cases
Investigators may also seek out documentary evidence like cell phone records or electronic message logs that may indicate where the allegedly involved parties were before, during, and after the assault, as well as what they may have said about it to each other and/or to other people.
The centerpiece of many sexual assault investigations is a series of multiple interviews with the victim, the alleged perpetrator, and potentially other individuals who either witnessed the assault take place or saw one or more involved parties immediately before or after. The testimonies given during these interviews will be recorded and cross-referenced, and investigators will look for inconsistencies between subsequent recollections of the same events to determine whether one party is not being wholly truthful about what they remember happening.
Depending on the circumstances, different types of evidence may be more or less important to building and executing upon an effective defense strategy. Guidance from a dedicated Stamford lawyer can be all but essential to determining what information might play a role in a particular sexual assault case and what evidence could be factored into a comprehensive defense.
Contact a Top Stamford Sexual Assault Attorney
The investigation stage of every sexual assault and rape case is crucial and can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of an ensuing criminal case. Ensuring all evidence is located, preserved, and presented can help to bring about a positive outcome.
A dedicated and experienced Stamford sexual assault lawyer should understand what actions could build the best defensive strategy. Follow this link to Avvo.com to read reviews from over 300 clients who have worked with us in the past. Call now to schedule a consultation and put our firm’s experience to work for you.