Being charged with sex assault can be a life-changing setback for any individual as laws in Indiana are harsh when it comes to dealing with people convicted of a sex crime. The situation is worse if the accused is actually innocent and has been framed due to circumstances beyond his or her control. This is often the case when the defendant believes that the sexual acts were performed only after receiving due consent from the person who eventually accused the defendant of sexual assault.
There are, however, some recognized defenses that an accused can use to counter the charges in court. Those include claiming innocence, establishing consent and proving insanity or mental incapacity.
Claiming innocence is the most basic form of defense in the event of being charged with a sex crime. Arguments in support of this claim can include evidence showing that the accused was in a location different from the one where the crime was committed. This sort of claim, called the “alibi,” needs to be corroborated by adequate evidence. It is also possible for the defendant to claim that the accusation is a case of mistaken identity. In this case too, the accused needs to provide evidence that he was not present at the location of the crime. Usually, DNA tests are conducted in order to verify or refute the claim.
Establishing consent is a form of defense in which the accused admits to performing the sexual acts but also proves that the acts were performed after receiving consent. Sexual consent is not defined in Indiana statutes; therefore, establishing consent can be a challenging task. Nonetheless, there have been cases in Indiana and the rest of the country where an accused has been acquitted based on the consent defense. However, if a complainant is a minor or mentally incapacitated, the consent defense does not work.
Finally, a person accused of sexual assault can claim that the alleged sexual assault was committed under the influence of a mental disease or defect that was either pre-existing or was one that persisted during that time. The accused, in this case, has to prove that he was not aware that the act being committed was against the law. In Indiana, the burden of proof for such claims lies with the defendant, and if the defense is allowed by the court, the accused is given respite from the sexual assault charges.