What is the possibility of winning a statutory rape case in which there is no physical evidence? - Criminal Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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What is the possibility of winning a statutory rape case in which there is no physical evidence?

Several years ago, someone I knew threatened to falsely accuse me of statutory rape. There is no physical evidence. Does this seem likely to succeed? Does the gender/sexual orientation of the people involved matter? Do you think it would be possible to plea bargain such a case down to something without jail time or sex offender status? I can't afford a lawyer unless such an accusation actually does occur.

Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
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There is always a possibility that you will never be charged; or that, even if you are charged, the prosecutor would be unable to meet their burden of proof. Anyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty. You have a right to council. I'd recommend you exercise that right. It should be noted, though, that statutory rape is known as a "strict" liability offense; meaning that intent is not an element of the offense. "Strict liability" offenses may be somewhat easier to prove for a prosecutor. The question is strictly whether there was sex or not and whether the other party was of age. However, as with any case, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. The prosecutor must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Questions of fact, i.e., guilt or innocence, are up to the fact finder; i.e., a judge or jury. Credibility of the witnesses, as with any criminal sexual conduct charge, will be a key factor.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/28/2011

Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
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For a person to be convicted of statutory rape the following need to be proven. 1. That the victim was a minor. 2. That the defendant was an adult. 3. That intercourse took place. The first two can be proven by proving the time that the incident took place. The last is more difficult to prove. The closer to the date of the incident the more evidence will be available for proving or disproving this. As you say this is several years after the incident this will be more difficult to prove. It however is not necessary impossible to prove. The gender or sexual orientation of the people involved does not matter in the legal facts or conviction requirements of this charge. If you are charged by the state you should hire an attorney as soon as possible and do not talk to anyone about this alleged incident. Your attorney can review the evidence and provide you with your options.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/13/2011

The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
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I bet the statute of limitations has already run as you said this was several years ago. Plus the DA would have to file charges. Normal citizens cannot do this.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/12/2011

Answer By Aaron Black
Aaron Black Law
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It is not appropriate for an attorney to give you the odds of winning a case. In most cases a plea offer is made. However, if you did not commit the crime you should not accept a plea.

Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/12/2011

Law Office of Phillip Weiser
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Plea bargaining actually would depend upon a number of factors including the evidence. A weak case would lend itself to a plea bargain whereas a strong case would probably not. A case where there is only one person's word against anothers without any corroborating evidence would be a weak case. The prosecutor may not even file the case with only testimonial evidence.

Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 12/12/2011

Answer By Roy L. Reeves
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
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First, my advice is never never never plea to something you did not do, even to avoid jail time. That is easy for me to say, but think of it like this, the system is flawed. I think it is the best system in the world, but it is flawed. The number one flaw is the theory that you are innocent until proven guilty. That is a nice thought, we repeat it like a mantra but in fact, the State assumes you are guilty and the State through the DA's office will do anything to prove it. They do not seek the truth, they seek convictions and that is where plea bargains come into play. In a perfect system, plea bargains make justice move smoothly and efficiently. We do not have a perfect system because too many citizens accused plea to things they did not do to avoid jail. Please do not be part of the flaw in the system. If you did it, that is another story, but if you are in fact innocent, do yourself and society a favor, fight the state will all your heart and soul. Statutory rape is not dependent upon physical evidence, there is seldom physical evidence, it is a crime based on age. You are over 18, the complainant is not, and the sex can be consensual. It is a matter of age. Does the sexual orientation matter? That would depend largely upon your jury pool. In other words, if you are referring to same-sex and in Austin, it might make a minor difference but in Kerrville or Fredericksburg it would make a huge difference. The political slant of the community comes into the courtroom whether you want it to or not. We ask jurors to be fair, but they can only put off so much of their personal beliefs at the door.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/12/2011

Michael Breczinski
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The ability to win the case depends on whether there is a reasonable doubt as to guilt. That is what a good defense attorney tries to show. One would have to see the police reports and talk with witnesses to give a more accurate assessment.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/11/2011

Richard W. Barton
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The chances of winning such a case are good. The obvious considerations are why would the supposed victim wait to report this, if it were true? And why not report it at the time? Charges like this are not uncommon, and if you have a good lawyer working for you from the start, the district attorney can be shown that the charges are not true, before there is an indictment. That's critical, because once there is a grand jury indictment, the DA's will be much more eager to press the case.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/11/2011

Answer By B Jason Jones

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This answer is for Alabama, and I am not responsible for mistakes and/or inaccuracies. This answer does not establish an attorney/client relationship. A person can be accused of something with no solid legal basis for the accusations. It would not be surprising for someone that is angry with someone else to threaten to accuse the person he/she is angry with of a crime, and even to file a report against the person he/she is angry with. However, proving the allegations is another matter. And, there are penalties for filing false reports. Why are you already thinking about plea bargaining something down, if you did not do it? Youstated that the personthreatened to falsely accuse you. You alsostatedthat the threatwas several years ago. Don't let someone ruin your life with worryfrom them makingidle threats. However, if someone accuses you, and you were to end up being charged, that is a time when you could use an attorneyto help you with your case. You could possibly be eligible for a court appointed attorney. Your case will also go before a Grand Jury, which could possibly drop the charge.If youdo get anattorney, it will be your attorneysjob to defend you, look into your case, and the evidence (or lack of evidence), and try to either get your charges reduced, or dropped. You do not have to have an attorney for the Grand Jury. In addition, if you choose to go to trial, it is your attorneys job to defend you at trial. Thereare a number of things that could be used as evidence in a statutory rape case, including, but not limited to testimony. Of course, even if there is testimony, it does not mean that you would automatically be convicted based on the testimony. In statutory rape,a personcannot okay the sexual incident. By law, no matter if theunderage person agrees or not to the sexual act, it is still considered rape. Of course, certain things have tohappen for there to be statutory rape. Below, I have listed several Alabama statutes that might relate to your situation. The listmay not be all the statutes that would/will apply. If you think the threats are serious, you may want to get a consultation with an attorney. An attorney might could give you more information at the consultation. I could say more, but maybe this will give you some answers to some of your questions. Again, I encourage you to not let someone ruin your life with worry, from them making idle threats. 13A-6-61. Rape in the first degree (a) A person commits the crime of rape in the first degree if: (1) He or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex by forcible compulsion; or (2) He or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or (3) He or she, being 16 years or older, engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is less than 12 years old. (b) Rape in the first degree is a Class A felony. 13A-6-62. Rape in the second degree (a) A person commits the crime of rape in the second degree if: (1) Being 16 years old or older, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 and more than 12 years old; provided, however, the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex. (2) He or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective. (b) Rape in the second degree is a Class B felony. 13A-6-63. Sodomy in the first degree (a) A person commits the crime of sodomy in the first degree if: (1) He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion; or (2) He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or (3) He, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is less than 12 years old. (b) Sodomy in the first degree is a Class A felony. 13A-6-64. Sodomy in the second degree (a) A person commits the crime of sodomy in the second degree if: (1) He, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old. (2) He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective. (b) Sodomy in the second degree is a Class B felony. 13A-6-65. Sexual misconduct (a) A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if: (1) Being a male, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female without her consent, under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-61 and 13A-6-62; or with her consent where consent was obtained by the use of any fraud or artifice; or (2) Being a female, she engages in sexual intercourse with a male without his consent; or (3) He or she engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-63 and 13A-6-64. Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. (b) Sexual misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor. 13A-6-66. Sexual abuse in the first degree (a) A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the first degree if: (1) He subjects another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; or (2) He subjects another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. (b) Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class C felony. 13A-6-67. Sexual abuse in the second degree (a) A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the second degree if: (1) He subjects another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than 16 years old; or (2) He, being 19 years old or older, subjects another person to sexual contact who is less than 16 years old, but more than 12 years old. (b) Sexual abuse in second degree is a Class A misdemeanor, except that if a person commits a second or subsequent offense of sexual abuse in the second degree within one year of another sexual offense, the offense is a Class C felony. 13A-6-69.1. Sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old (a) A person commits the crime of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old if he or she, being 16 years old or older, subjects another person who is less than 12 years old to sexual contact. (b) Sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old is a Class B felony. 13A-6-70. Lack of consent (a) Whether or not specifically stated, it is an element of every offense defined in this article, with the exception of subdivision (a)(3) of Section 13A-6-65, that the sexual act was committed without consent of the victim. (b) Lack of consent results from: (1) Forcible compulsion; or (2) Incapacity to consent; or (3) If the offense charged is sexual abuse, any circumstances, in addition to forcible compulsion or incapacity to consent, in which the victim does not expressly or impliedly acquiesce in the actor's conduct. (c) A person is deemed incapable of consent if he is: (1) Less than 16 years old; or (2) Mentally defective; or (3) Mentally incapacitated; or (4) Physically helpless.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 12/10/2011

Answer By Craig Orent
Orent Law Offices, PLC
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Many cases proceed and result in conviction without physical evidence; a witness' testimony is technically enough. However, there are way too many variables in such circumstances for anyone to give you an accurate, reasonable answer to your questions. Plea bargaining always is a possibility, but whether the outcome would be favorable will depend on the overall circumstances. You need to discuss this with an attorney directly, and not online. Feel free to contact me directly if you prefer, but regardless you should meet with an attorney.

Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/9/2011

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