Of all the offenses defined under Indiana criminal laws, being arrested for sexual assault puts you in one of the most difficult positions of your life. There are numerous provisions under Indiana’s state statute on sex crimes, and all of them are designated as felony offenses. As a result, sexual assault charges will typically include prison time and fines if you are convicted. Plus, offenders will be required to comply with laws on the Sex & Violent Offender Registry, which imposes significant limitations on your freedoms even after you serve your sentence.
Because of these implications, you can expect that your actions in the aftermath of an arrest will be critical. Your situation may seem grim, but it is always important to remember that you do have rights and an arrest is not a conviction. Therefore, one of your first priorities should be contacting a skilled sexual assault lawyer in Evansville who can assist with your defense. It is also crucial to follow a few tips on what to do after being charged with sexual assault in Indiana.
The circumstances surrounding an arrest can be overwhelming and confusing, which is why consulting with an Indiana criminal defense attorney is at the top of your To-Do list. Some additional tips may also be helpful:
Indiana criminal laws use the term rape to refer to unlawful sexual conduct, making it illegal to have non-consensual sexual contact with someone through the use of force or threats. It is also a crime to engage in these acts without force while the victim is disabled or unconscious. The basic form of sexual assault is a Level 3 Felony punishable by a minimum of three years’ incarceration, though a judge could order up to 16 years in prison.
However, certain aggravating circumstances could lead to Level 1 Felony charges. If convicted of sexual assault and these factors are present, the mandatory minimum prison sentence is 20 years and the maximum is 40 years’ incarceration. Aggravating factors include:
The penalties for a conviction provide a very convincing reason to work with experienced legal counsel if you have been arrested. When you have an attorney on your side, you level the playing field versus the experience, skills, and knowledge the prosecutor brings to the case. While you will have to handle the tasks on your list of what to do after an arrest for sexual assault, your lawyer will:
When your trial date arrives, your attorney’s initial strategy focuses on preventing the government from proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Weak evidence may be insufficient to establish each element of sexual assault, so you could be acquitted. Plus, after the prosecutor rests, you will have the opportunity to present defenses to sexual assault. This could include the consent of the accuser.
Note that Indiana does have a so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law, which is a solid defense in some cases. The statute provides that it is not a crime to engage in consensual sexual activity with a 14 or 15-year-old, but only when the other individual is less than four years older. The law does not provide a defense where there are aggravating factors.
Armed with these tips on what to do after being charged with sexual assault in Indiana, you are in a better position to leverage defense options with help from skilled legal counsel.
At Thomas Law, our team is prepared to develop a solid strategy and fight to obtain the most favorable outcome possible. To learn how we can assist, please contact our Evansville, IN office at 812-492-1900 to set up a no-cost, confidential consultation with one of our Indiana sexual assault defense attorneys. After reviewing the details of your case, we can determine how to proceed.