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Is there any defense for sexual assault?

When someone claims sexual assault, that's only one side of the story. There is still a person who is facing these charges, and if that's you, you need to make sure you and your attorney get your story known so you can protect yourself.

There are a few kinds of defenses you can try, depending on your case. Consent, innocence and insanity are all possible defenses, with consent and innocence being the most common. With these defenses, you'll be explaining not only your initial intentions, but also what happened the day or night you were accused of assaulting the alleged victim.

Innocence is something you can claim if you believe you are innocent of the crime. For example, if this is someone you don't know making a claim that you did something you didn't, then you can claim you're innocent. To prove innocence, you may want to have witness testimonies or an alibi, which is a person or evidence that can prove where you were at the time of an assault.

Consent is another good defense. Were you participating in a consensual act, just to later be accused of assault? You may be able to prove consent if you have emails or phone messages, texts or other written or spoken confirmation of consent. For instance, if you receive a message about how lovely the night was or even about how enjoyable your night together was, then you may be able to prove consent. Consent can be hard to prove, but it is possible to do so with the right evidence and support for your own testimony.

Insanity is probably the hardest claim to make. You would have to prove that you had a mental disease or defect when the alleged crime took place. This may be used if a mentally challenged individual really couldn't understand that what he or she did was wrong, for example.

Source: FindLaw, "Sexual Assault Defenses," accessed Sep. 28, 2015

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