29 Sep 23

Sex Crime Defenses

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Last Updated on: 1st October 2023, 10:08 am


Sex Crime Defenses

Being accused of a sex crime is scary. Even if you’re innocent, people might not believe you. The good news is, there are defenses that can help you fight the charges. This article will explain some common sex crime defenses in simple terms, so you can understand your options if you ever need ’em.


One of the biggest defenses for sex crimes is consent. If the other person agreed to the sexual activity, then it wasn’t a crime. Of course, there are some exceptions:

  • If someone is underage, they can’t legally consent
  • If someone is drunk or high, their consent might not count
  • If someone agrees at first but then changes their mind, you gotta stop

So consent can be tricky. But in general, if you both said yes and meant it, that’s a solid defense against sex crime charges.

Mistaken Age

Sometimes you might think someone is old enough to consent, but turns out they’re underage. This can happen if you meet online or at a bar. If you reasonably believed they were of age, you may have a mistaken age defense. For example, if a girl lies and says she’s 19 when she’s really 16, you can argue you didn’t know. This defense doesn’t always work, but it gives you a chance to fight the charges if you were fooled.


Having sex with your spouse normally isn’t a crime. But what if you get divorced and then hook up? Or what if you thought you were married but weren’t? Marriage laws are complicated, so this defense can get messy. Talk to a lawyer to see if it applies to your case.


If you were legally insane and unable to control your actions, you may have an insanity defense. You’ll need a mental health evaluation to prove you couldn’t understand right from wrong. This defense is hard to prove, but could get the charges dismissed if it works.

False Accusations

Sometimes people lie about sexual assault for revenge or other reasons. If you have proof the accusation is false, you may be able to avoid conviction. Texts, witnesses, and alibis can show your innocence. But false accusations are hard to prove, so you’ll need solid evidence.

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Statute of Limitations

If too much time passed between the alleged crime and the charges being filed, the statute of limitations may have expired. This time limit varies by state and crime, but is often 5-10 years. If it’s past the limit, the charges could get tossed out.

Identification Issues

Eyewitness misidentification is a common cause of wrongful convictions. If the victim or witness picked the wrong person in a lineup, you may have grounds for dismissal. Your lawyer can challenge the identification process and any biases that led to you being fingered.


Even if you’re guilty, you might beat the charges based on technicalities like:

  • Illegal search & seizure
  • Miranda rights violations
  • Improper police procedures

Your lawyer will review the investigation for any slip-ups that could get key evidence excluded.


If you were wasted out of your mind when the supposed crime occurred, you may have an intoxication defense. The legal standards vary, but essentially if you were so drunk or high that you couldn’t control your conduct or know it was wrong, you may not be criminally liable.


If the police pressured or tricked you into committing a crime you wouldn’t otherwise have done, you could claim entrapment. Like if an undercover cop persuades you to buy drugs you didn’t want. This defense argues you only broke the law because of police misconduct.


Using reasonable force to protect yourself or someone else isn’t a crime. If the alleged victim was the aggressor and you fought back to avoid harm, self-defense may justify your actions. Details like who hit first and any injuries matter.


In extreme situations, breaking the law to avoid greater harm can be justified. Like trespassing to find shelter in a blizzard. Necessity probably wouldn’t apply in sex crime cases, but could explain other peripheral illegal acts.

What will work for you?

There are lots of avenues to explore when building a defense in a sex crime case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help assess which options fit the facts of your case and give you the best chance of success. The stakes are high, so get advice from a pro before going to trial.

Fighting sex crime charges ain’t easy. The public is quick to judge. But with the right defense strategy, you have a chance of clearing your name or reducing the penalties. Don’t give up hope. Talk to a lawyer and start building your defense today.


Here are some references used as sources for this article: