What Types of Sex Crime Cases Does Your Firm Handle in New York?
My firm often handles sexual abuse cases or forcible touching cases that occurred in a crowded location. Probably the most common type of sex crime that we handle involves a person in a bar accusing another of grabbing their buttocks.
I’ve also handled many cases involving either rape or a similar allegation. I would say that close to one hundred percent of rape cases I’ve worked on do not involve strangers. Most, in fact, are cases between people who know each other—maybe they’ve gone on a date together or have had some form of ongoing relationship—when the alleged victim accuses my client of engaging in sexual intercourse without their permission or consent. My firm also handles cases where a person is claiming that they were incapable of consent due to intoxication.
What Determines Whether a Sex Crime Will Be Charged at the Felony Level or Misdemeanor Level?
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor sex crime makes a big difference in terms of sentencing: a misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, while a felony sentence (in theory) is for at least a year in jail. There are several things that can make a sex crime a felony, including the amount of force that the offender used, whether the alleged victim was capable of consent, and the type of sexual act. Cases involving touching generally don’t rise to a felony level unless they involve an underaged victim.
What Should Someone Do If They Become Aware That They Are Being Investigated for a Sex Crime?
If a person becomes aware that they’re being investigated, they should most certainly contact an attorney. In my experience, this type of investigation often means the alleged offender will be contacted initially by either the victim, who will try to get them to make an incriminating statement that’s being recorded, or a detective, who will try to get them to come in and make an incriminating statement. My advice, therefore, is that people should avoid speaking to anyone who they believe is trying to falsely accuse them of committing some sort of a sexual act or crime. Even if the person is innocent, they shouldn’t speak to a detective. I know that sounds odd, but in my experience, citizens should use their right to remain silent and should contact an attorney and be guided by that attorney’s legal advice.
How Often Do Accusers Recant Allegations in a Sex Crime Case?
Accusers recant allegations in a sex crime case more often than you might imagine. Many times, what will happen is a couple has a problem and will break up and then one person will make an allegation against their former boyfriend or girlfriend saying they were sexually assaulted. Afterward, either they get back together and the accuser no longer wishes to pursue the allegation, or the accuser feels bad for making up a false story.
Even if the accuser recants their story, it doesn’t automatically mean that the case will be dropped. Some counties will videotape the victim and use that videotape to prosecute the case even if the person who made the initial report no longer wishes to press charges (something that also happens a lot in domestic violence cases). The prosecution can still go forward because criminal cases are not the complainant versus the defendant; criminal cases are the People of the State of New York versus the defendant, meaning the prosecutor can move forward in the name of the “People.”
How Often Are Drugs and Alcohol Involved in a Sex Offense? How Might That Impact a Case?
I handle cases where drugs and alcohol were involved in a sexual offense fairly frequently. Especially now after the #MeToo movement, a lot of people have been encouraged on social media to come forward and claim to be the victims of sexual assault. These cases often occurred several years ago, and instead of involving forcible rape, the complainant often insists they were unable to give consent due to drugs or alcohol or a combination of the two.
In my opinion, it’s very difficult for the prosecution to prove that the alleged victim was unable to give consent. They have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, but if the alleged victim was, in fact, too intoxicated to give consent, how are they remembering the details of the actual incident itself? To me, cases prosecuted years after the fact are tough cases, but they are becoming more and more frequent right now.
For more information on Handling Sex Crime Cases in New York, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 766-9779 today.
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