Sex crimes can involve a number of different offenses, but in nearly every instance these cases will come down to consent says Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Mick Mickelsen
The responsibility of a defense lawyer is to cast doubt about whether the defendant had unwanted sexual contact with a victim, or whether the victim consented to the act.
Unfortunately, there are many situations in which consent really does come down to who said ‘yes’ and who said ‘no,’ and in the absence of direct evidence, the person a jury finds most credible will emerge victoriously.
“But good defense lawyers in sex crimes cases aren’t just seeking to win an acquittal or to get charges reduced. They are also seeking to change the nature of the conversation so that there are less of these assaults committed.” Mick Mickelsen
One way to do that is to publicize sexual awareness that can help everyone understand what consent means and to help people avoid placing themselves in situations that could lead to an arrest, a trial, and the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Before diving into the importance of sexual assault awareness training, it’s important to answer this question: What is sexual assault?
Although each state has different legal language, the general definition of sexual assault is sexual contact that is non-consensual, and that is committed through force, coercion or by incapacitating the victim.
In Texas, sexual assault is defined as a situation in which a person “intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent.” (1)
Unwanted penetration of a person’s mouth is also considered sexual assault under the Texas statute.
The key element in a sexual assault charge is whether the accused acted with consent. However, in some situations, the victim is not able to give consent because that person is unconscious, incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or mentally ill.
In those situations, the accused can still be prosecuted for sexual assault even without the element of consent. And in nearly every state, consent is also not a legal factor when the assault was against a minor.
Sexual Assault Statistics
A quick glance at the latest sexual assault statistics indicates that sexual crimes are a significant problem in the U.S.
An estimated 19 percent of women and 2 percent of men said they had been raped, and 44 percent of women and 23 percent of men will suffer some type of sexual violence.
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of women that report a sexual assault said that someone they knew assaulted them.
However, the rate of sex crimes reported to the police from 2006 to 2015 did not change, and researchers believe that’s because less than 40 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police.(2)
What Is Sexual Assault Awareness?
Preventing sex crimes is a noble pursuit, and one of the most effective ways to achieve that goal is through sexual assault awareness.
Each year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) sponsors Sexual Assault Awareness Month to focus on how people can become involved in preventing these crimes and adding their voices to the movement.
The NSVRC is a nonprofit organization that provides outreach to local communities about how to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
This year, Sexual Assault Awareness is taking place in the month of April and the theme is ‘Embrace Your Voice.” (3)
Some of the issues that the NSVRC has highlighted in April include:
- Supporting survivors of sexual assault
- Supporting the #MeToo movement to help eliminate sexual harassment
- Viewing sexual harassment in economic terms because of how it impacts productivity
- Ending the backlog of rape kits that are taking months and years to process
- Supporting sexual assault survivors with disabilities
By promoting awareness and providing tools and resources, the NSVRC helps the public understand the toll of sexual assault, and the ways to support survivors and prevent more of these crimes.
Finding a Dallas Sex Crimes Lawyer
Finding the best sex crimes lawyer is essential when a person is accused of sexual assault. This is a serious charge that can result in significant prison time, and without the help of an experienced attorney, defendants are at the mercy of prosecutors.
Defense lawyers are able to challenge evidence, find witnesses, assess a victim’s credibility, and protect a defendant’s rights.
Mick Mickelson is one of the best criminal defense lawyers who help many sexual assault crimes obtain justice.
Broden & Mickelsen, LLP
2600 State St Dallas, Texas 75204
Main Phone: (214) 720-9552
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.