If you have been charged with rape or another sexually based offense, you might be wondering about the types of evidence your rape attorney can present in your defense at trial. One of the main functions of a lawyer is to help his client prepare a defense by gathering additional evidence and locating witnesses who can testify on the client’s behalf.
However, not all evidence is admissible. Neither the prosecution nor the defendant can present any evidence they want. Instead, the admissibility of evidence is governed by strict evidentiary rules. These rules are codified in the federal rules of evidence and state evidence codes, which are generally identical or similar to the federal statutes. To ensure fairness within the criminal justice system, both the defense and the prosecution are subject to these rules.
One of the most hotly contested pieces of evidence at a trial for a sex crime is evidence of the victim’s prior sexual behavior. If the victim has a history of promiscuity, the defense will wish to present evidence of it at trial, whereas the prosecution will fight to keep this evidence out.
Generally, such evidence is not admissible at trial. This means that your rape attorney will not be able to present evidence about the victim’s promiscuity or wanton sexual behavior to a jury at trial. This rule is in place to protect sexual assault victims from having their sex lives broadcasted in a public forum.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Although general evidence of sexual behavior is inadmissible, evidence that the victim consented to the sex is admissible at trial. Your rape attorney will be able to present this evidence because it is material to your defense. The consent of the victim will negate one of the essential elements that the prosecution must prove to obtain a conviction. Sex crime statutes generally include the fact that the defendant has sex with the victim without his or her consent. One exception is a sex crime against a victim who is below the age of consent. In this case, any evidence of the victim’s actions will not be admissible because lack of consent is not a required element of the crime.
Additionally, evidence of the victim’s sexual behavior will be admissible to prove that the defendant was not the person who committed the crime. For example, if semen was found inside the victim and she had sex with someone else earlier that day, your rape attorney could present evidence of this prior sexual act to show that the other person was the source of the sperm and that you were not.
This can be very important if laboratory testing on the sperm was inconclusive and could not develop a DNA profile of the perpetrator. The evidence that the victim had sex with multiple people in one day may create reasonable doubt in the eyes of the jury, which can mean an acquittal instead of a guilty verdict.