Prosecution of Sex Crimes with Weak Evidence


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Many illegal sexual attacks and illegal sexual behaviors often do not happen in public areas. Therefore, many accusations are made without any witnesses to these crimes. Approaching these cases requires a dual commitment of protecting the victim who is reporting the crime and protecting the defendantís legal rights.

Severity of Conviction

Conviction of either an illegal sexual attack or illegal sexual behavior often carries a very harsh punishment. Imprisonment may be for consecutive years. Additionally, the convicted may be placed on a sex offender registry. Depending on state or federal law, this may require the convicted to take polygraph tests, submit a sample of their DNA, be occasionally evaluated and monitored and be required to seek treatment. In addition to the demands of registration, a person labeled as a sex offender is often affected by a negative social stigma.

Statistics Regarding Sex Crimes

The number of cases being reported for illegal sexual attack and behavior has not steadily risen or declined over the years. Various statistics with many variables show that violent illegal sexual attacks and behavior are still a great threat throughout the nation. The most condemned sexual offenders were crimes against children. Ages range from the very young to under 13 to 18 year old children. According to statistics, most convicted sex offenders are male who commit crimes against females. However, there are also crimes reported against male victims. Though the number may be lower, crimes against males must also be taken seriously.

Dishonest Reporting

Collections of statistical data show that there may be as many as one in four of all reports of sexual attacks that prove to be false. Evidence in an illegal sexual attack may not need to be strong in order for the prosecution to convict with juries who are sympathetic to the victim. The horror of these crimes is often enough to convince a jury or judge on the word of the victim even if very little evidence is introduced.

Plea Bargains

Often the alleged perpetrator will accept a bargain of a lesser degree of punishment. Sometimes a defendant may receive no jail time but still be required to register as a sex offender. Often, the defendant accepts such an agreement because the alternative may be to face a prison term in excess of ten years. Criminal defendants who accept such agreements should be certain to receive information from a person hired to protect his or her legal interests who will thoroughly describe the consequences of accepting a plea agreement. This may include information about the effect of registration, including effects on employment opportunities, living in certain areas and maintaining a social relationship with certain individuals.

Examples of False Accusations

Because of the strong possibility of a sex crime being falsely reported and the potential serious ramifications of a conviction based on such an accusation, it is important to be able to identify when a victim may be making a false accusation. Studies show that in some cases of divorce the alleged victim is usually a minor child coerced by another parent to give testimony of illegal sexual attack or behavior that did not occur. In seeking to gain additional time with the child or sole custody, sometimes a parent will cross that line. In other cases, the alleged victim wants to seek revenge from a sexual partner for ending the relationship or not starting one. An entire scenario is created that leads to an unwarranted arrest of an innocent party. This could also be a case of mistaken identity. There are many times that false claims are used to convict an innocent person.

Factors that Determine the Degree of the Crime

In many jurisdictions, sex crimes may be classified in different categories. Each degree carries with it a different potential criminal sentence. There are often many factors that affect the degree of the crime.

For sex crimes, one common factor is the nature of the sexual contact or behavior, with cases involving penetration usually being considered more serious. Another factor is the age of the victim. Similarly, if the victim was mentally, physically or emotionally disabled, the classification of the crime may be more serious. The crime may fit into a more serious degree when the perpetrator uses force, including making threats, harming the victim or having a weapon at the time of the sexual attack.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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