Defending Sexual Assault Allegations
Short of homicide, sexual assault charges carry the highest penalties. The most serious sexual assault crimes are Class B felonies—they have 40 year maximum sentences. Accordingly, hiring trained, experienced, and successful attorneys, such as Attorneys Richards or Dimmer, makes all the difference in resolving these matters. Here's why:
1. Sex offender registration. If convicted of a sexual assault offense, an offender may face years or a lifetime of registering as a sex offender. This carries with it immense stigma and responsibility. Many communities have ordinances or laws prohibiting a sex offender registrant from moving there. We can work to resolve your case in a way that eliminates or otherwise minimizes the terms of registration.
2. Sexual assault cases require intense investigation and litigation. In no other criminal defense case does the information admitted at trial have a bigger impact. We obtain and review the video interviews of witnesses—who are often children. These videos are proffered by the prosecution as a gold standard. Research and experts tell us just the opposite. By the time a witness has a “forensic interview,” the witness may have spoken to a parent, a loved-one, or a law enforcement officer several times about the alleged sexual assault. These conversations taint the truthfulness and integrity of the video-recorded interviews with trained experts. We also carefully review these videos, looking to see whether the interview properly employed a “forensic interviewing technique,” to ensure a fair and reliable statement from the witness. We also obtain the DNA results from any evidence obtained by law enforcement. We have successfully defended against sexual assault allegations by carefully reviewing the State Crime Lab’s reports. We have seen cases where the complainant’s version of events is inconsistent with the lab reports, and this can fundamentally alter a case. Beyond obtaining all discovery materials, we “leave no stone unturned” in investigating the history of the complainant. This can include information about the complaining witnesses prior sexual conduct, the defendant's prior criminal history, the complaining witness’s treatment records or juvenile records, and allegations that the defendant committed a similar crime against someone else.
One of our greatest success stories was litigating that a complainant should not testify against the client in a repeated sexual assault of a child case, where the complaint refused to release her treatment records. After years of litigation and appeals, the court ruled that the complainant be barred from testifying, and the client avoided prison and felony charges.
In another great success story from 2015, we successfully argued that a complainant lied about the number of sexual partners she had in the days leading up to the alleged assault. This argument stemmed from careful review of the State Crime Lab reports in comparison to the sexual assault examination reports. Wisconsin strongly defends against attacks of the sexual character of complainants. Despite this, we successfully argued that the complainant could be questioned about lying to the examination nurse about her sexual partners, as it went to her truthfulness of the complaint against our client. In sexual assault defense more than anywhere else, details matter!
3. Sexual assault cases require professional representation. Due to the nature of the charges, sexual assault defense requires being very professional when dealing with the client, the client's family, and the other involved parties. If necessary, we work with the prosecution as well as the courts to hammer-out an alternative to prison, to registration, and to the stigma that is sexual assault convictions. If trial is necessary, then you want attorneys who have won sexual assault jury trials. We have.