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The Linder Firm March 16, 2022

The intimacy and violence of rape classify it as a particularly heinous crime. Those convicted of it face serious consequences, including a requirement to be registered as a sex offender for life. Unfortunately, allegations of rape are easy to make, even if they are not honest or accurate.

During four years in Texas, more than 71,000 incidents of sexual assault were reported. Of those, above 23,000 were arrested, and above 16,000 were prosecuted. The disparity between reports and prosecutions can involve numerous factors, including a failure to identify and locate the perpetrator, a lack of substantiated facts, a victim’s reluctance to testify, and a finding that allegations made by the alleged victim were false.

For those falsely accused and facing lifelong repercussions, dismissed charges and not-guilty verdicts were likely hard-fought. For others falsely accused and found guilty, they are paying an even steeper price. There are, indeed, innocent people in prison and on the sex offender registry.

Attorney Phillip Linder launched his legal career prosecuting those charged with crimes. As a criminal defense attorney with The Linder Firm, he uses that experience to defend those accused of and charged with crimes, regardless of guilt or innocence. If you have been accused of rape in Dallas or anywhere in the Dallas Metro or North Texas, he can help.

What is Rape in Texas
and How Is It Proven?

Sexual misconduct is violence committed by using control, power, or intimidation with a sexual component to cause harm to another. Rape, or sexual assault, is unwanted sexual contact or penetration without consent. The types of rape are different depending on the physical contact, age, and relationship of the persons involved.

Statutory rape is indecency with a child under Texas statute. It can involve sexual contact with or exposure of the genitalia or anus of a child under the age of 17, regardless of consent.

Date rape involves the forced penetration or sexual contact with an acquaintance, which may or may not be a date, without the victim’s consent.

Marital rape is penetration or contact without the consent of the spouse.

As with any criminal case, the prosecution must prove the accuser guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There may be evidence supporting the charges; however, evidence in many rape cases is challenging to obtain and tough to prove a lack of consent. For example, there may have been no rape kit that could provide DNA evidence of sex but doesn’t necessarily provide evidence of force or lack of consent.

Despite the lack of solid evidence in many rape cases, law enforcement, the prosecution, and the courts are reluctant to not give credence to an alleged victim’s accusations. They tend to err on the side of the victim which leaves you, as the accused, unable to take full advantage of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Possible Consequences Do I Face?

Rape is a felony. Punishment for basic sexual assault includes 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Aggravated Sexual Assault is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. If the victim is under the age of 14, the minimum prison sentence can increases to 25 years if other factors are proven.  Probation is a possibility in some cases but there is still a requirement to register as a sex offender for life if convicted of rape.

There are other damaging consequences of a rape conviction. You can lose your job and be barred from most jobs, even after you have completed your sentence and probation. You can lose your professional licensure and certifications. Custody and visitation of your child will be curtailed or require supervision during visits. Moreover, if the victim alleges damages, such as physical or psychological injury, you could face a civil lawsuit in addition to the criminal proceeding.

What Are My Defenses?

Although the circumstances of the alleged incident will dictate the potential defenses you can use, some of the more commonly used defenses include:

  • The sexual contact was consensual. This defense is in cases where the sexual partner later lies because they are embarrassed or ashamed or regret the occurrence.

  • You may have an alibi for the time of the alleged rape. An alibi isn’t always a sure defense. The alleged victim, who has already falsely accused you, could change their story later about the timing of the alleged incident.

  • You may use witnesses in your defense. These could be people who witnessed the actions of the alleged victim before or after the alleged contact, as well as those who can speak to motive.

  • DNA evidence collected on the alleged victim’s clothing or in a rape kit could clear you if the DNA is not yours. However, the presence of more than one person’s DNA can complicate this defense.

  • The motive of the alleged victim, especially involving false accusations, is always a viable defense, although often extremely challenging to prove. Embarrassment, regret, anger, and revenge don’t always leave a solid trail of evidence.

What Should I Do or Not Do
If I Have Been Falsely Accused?

If you find yourself falsely accused of rape, you should immediately gather relevant evidence. For example, evidence of interaction between you and the accuser, clothing you were wearing or that the accuser left with you, and other documents, videos, and exchanges. Social media posts, text messages, and emails are often critical pieces of evidence that can be in your defense. Statements of witnesses who can testify to your relationship with the accuser, the facts of the incident, or the accuser’s motives are also valuable pieces of evidence.

What you should not do is contact the accuser in any way. You also should not answer questions asked by law enforcement. Even if they question you without placing you under arrest, do not answer until you have spoken with an attorney. Do not consent to provide DNA evidence without consulting an attorney. Any of these things can be used against you later.

Reach Out to The Linder Firm

Attorney Phillip Linder has listened to victims alleging rape, investigated crimes, and prosecuted those charged with committing them. He understands how the prosecution builds its case and can navigate its weaknesses to defend his clients.

If you have been accused of rape or arrested on rape charges, the only person you should talk to is at The Linder Firm in Dallas, Texas. He also serves clients in Dallas Metro or North Texas, so call today.