What Evidence is Needed to Prove a Sex Crime?
Sex crimes can be very difficult to prosecute, but if you are convicted it can follow you around for the rest of your life. You could be required to sign up as a registered sex offender and there may be even more repercussions if you are convicted of a felony sex crime.
Evidence is key and knowing what kind is needed to prove your innocence could change the course of your case – and the outcome.
In this article:
- What is considered evidence in a sex crime?
- How much evidence is enough to convict someone?
- Why are sex offenses difficult to prosecute?
- What is the defense strategy for a he-said-she-said case?
What is considered evidence in a sex crime?
Investigators will talk to the victim and witnesses as well as collect evidence. Evidence in a sex crime can include:
- Crime Scene
- Photos of the crime scene and original placement of the evidence
- Sketches to show spatial relationships
- Fingerprints or latent prints on items that may have been touched or handled by the accused. This can include walls, doors, and furniture.
- Tire tracks
- Body fluids such as urine, tears, etc.
- Biological stains on clothing, bedding, furniture, etc.
- Other Physical Evidence
- Bedding with any wet stains marked
- Victim’s clothing
- Anything that may have been in contact with the person who committed the crime
- Any evidence that may be on the victim
- Foreign objects
- Saliva swabbed from the victim’s skin or a bite mark
Both testimony and physical evidence can make a case stronger and that is what prosecutors look for because it makes it easier for them to get a conviction.
How much evidence is enough to convict someone?
There is no set amount of evidence that is considered to be enough. Each case is different so it varies from case to case.
The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the prosecutor has to present the evidence collected from the crime scene as well as witness testimony and show that there is no other explanation for it other than its connection to the crime.
Why are sex offenses difficult to prosecute?
Sex crimes have a widely known reputation for being difficult to prosecute. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most common is the victim’s reluctance to pursue the case. Even though the identities of many sex crime victims are protected, there is still fear of retaliation and public criticism. They often fear that they will not be believed and that they will be humiliated and judged by the court of public opinion.
Many, if not most, sex crimes involve the victim and the perpetrator. There are no witnesses to corroborate the victim’s story and without a witness, it can devolve into a he said she said situation.
The victim and any witnesses can be discredited if the prosecutor brings up any questionable behavior or events in their history. This can include alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, and more. If the victim was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the incident took place.
The police units and prosecutor’s offices that are dedicated to pursuing and convicting the perpetrators of sex crimes are notoriously understaffed and under-resourced. They are not equipped to handle sex crime investigations the way they should.
What is the defense strategy for a he-said-she-said case?
When police or investigators take the victim’s word at face value but fail to present any evidence to back up the claims, it becomes a he-said-she-said case. This is why it is so important that you do not talk when you are arrested, especially if you have been falsely accused. Always ask for your attorney and let them speak for you.
When officers have a victim or a perceived victim but don’t have the evidence to back up the victim’s story, some will do everything they can to build their case, no matter how shady their tactics are. If they catch the accused off guard, they can twist his or her words and create evidence when there really isn’t any evidence.
When you have legal representation, your attorney will conduct their own investigation to prove your innocence. Some of the things they may do to build their client’s defense include:
- Place the accused somewhere other than the crime scene at the time the crime allegedly took place
- Secure incriminating emails, texts, and social media messages that can debunk the victim’s story
- Place the accused in a location that is far from the victim
- Challenge the victim’s and witnesses’ credibility
- Show that any sex that took place was consensual
Sex crime cases in Nevada can be extremely complex. It is best to hire an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you and protect your rights.
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