Allegations of sexual assault are serious criminal matters that can impact the futures of those individuals who face criminal charges based on alleged inappropriate or deviant sexual conduct. In Pennsylvania, a person may be charged with sexual assault or indecent assault depending upon the facts of their case. This post will provide a basic review of these two laws and will introduce several of the defenses that individuals may offer at trial.
Sexual assault involves sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person and without the person’s consent. A sexual assault claim may be modified into a statutory sexual assault claim if the alleged victim is under 16 years of age and the alleged perpetrator is more than four years older than the alleged victim.
Indecent assault occurs when the alleged perpetrator purportedly engages in behaviors to illicit arousal in the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator and either without the alleged victim’s consent or under duress or the threat of force. Additional elements exist regarding this complex criminal charge and readers should discuss their indecent assault cases with criminal defense attorneys.
When a person is charged with sexual assault or indecent assault, they may mitigate or overcome their charges with effective and legally permissible defenses. One such defense is that the alleged victim actually consented to the actions that gave rise to the criminal claims. Another is that the alleged perpetrator was involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the assault and was unaware of the alleged victim’s lack of consent.
Insanity, age and marriage can all also provide individuals with possible defense to their sexual assault and indecent assault charges. To develop an effective criminal defense plan, though, it is helpful for people facing serious legal claims to discuss their options with lawyers who work in the criminal defense field.