It can be frightening for a person to be charged with committing a sexual assault in Illinois. The potential consequences if a person is convicted of such offense may be very severe. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that may be raised against sexual assault allegations. The appropriate defense will depend on the relevant facts of an individual case.
The most obvious defense to a sexual assault charge is actual innocence. Actual innocence is normally subdivided into two separate defenses, the first of which is an alibi defense. In an alibi defense, the defendant presents evidence showing that he or she was elsewhere at the time the crime occurred, making it impossible for him or her to have been the perpetrator. The other type of actual innocence defense that is commonly raised is that the victim misidentified the defendant as the perpetrator. To be able to assert either of these two defenses, the defendant will need to present evidence of them as both are affirmative defenses.
Another defense that might be raised is consent. In this defense, the defendant admits that the sexual contact occurred but that he or she is innocent of an offense because the victim consented to the act. Finally, some defendants claim that they were either mentally incapable or insane at the time the offense occurred.
When people are charged with sexual assault, they may face years of imprisonment. Even after a prison sentence is completed, the person may still face a lifetime of registering as a sex offender along with collateral consequences affecting his or her ability to secure housing and a job. People who are charged with this offense may want to get help from a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It may be important to mount an aggressive and thorough defense to sexual assault charges for the best outcome.