If you are accused of sexual assault, it is important to know your rights and the best course of action. This article will discuss whether or not you should plead guilty in a sexual assault allegation. It will cover what pleading guilty means, the consequences of pleading guilty, and factors to consider before fighting a conviction if you decide not to plead guilty. If you have been accused or charged with sexual assault and want to learn more about the process and your options, this post is for you.
What Does Pleading Guilty Mean?
Pleading guilty means admitting to the charges against you. If you choose to plead guilty, it can be helpful because there will not be a trial and your lawyer may encourage this option if they feel that the evidence is unfavorable for them to win or that you have an excellent chance at winning with another defense. They should always provide their honest opinion about your case.
Pleading guilty can be helpful because you will avoid the stress of a trial and it is possible that there may be more severe consequences if convicted at trial, like jail time or sex offender registration. However, pleading guilty also means saying “yes” to all of the charges brought against you. By pleading guilty in this situation, you could still face jail time, fines, and sex offender registration. You should always discuss your options with an attorney before entering a plea because it is irreversible.
What Are The Consequences Of Pleading Guilty In Sexual Assault Allegations?
Without going into too much detail, if you plead guilty to any charge related to the allegation against you, there are several possible penalties that you may have imposed by the court including:
- Jail time (potentially up to 20 years)
- Sex offender registration for life
- Mandatory HIV/AIDS testing
- Impact on future employment opportunities
Who Decides If I Am Convicted Or Not After Pleading Guilty?
After pleading guilty or being found “guilty” at trial, sentencing will be decided on by either a state judge using the State’s sentencing guidelines or by a federal judge. The court will take into account the severity of your crime, any previous criminal history, and whether you are considered to be violent or dangerous under state laws.
What Are Possible Defenses If I Am Accused Of Sexual Assault?
There are several potential defense strategies your lawyer might use depending on the specific facts and evidence presented against you. These include:
- Self Defense: This is when someone committed this act but they did so in order to protect themselves or another person from being seriously injured by the alleged victim, who could have been armed with a weapon at the time of the incident. The defendant would need to prove that they acted reasonably given what was happening at the time under state laws.
- Defense of Others: This is when someone committed this act but they did so in order to protect another person who was under the threat or actual use of force by the alleged victim. The defendant would need to prove that it was necessary for them to take action against the other individual under state laws.
- Duress/Coercion: If you only acted because you were forced into doing something illegal, then your lawyer might argue that you are not guilty due to coercion or duress-this means being too afraid to refuse criminal demands from a person with authority over you. You must have reasonably believed that refusal may result in death, serious injury, imprisonment, etc., and there could be no safe avenue of escape available at the time.
- Insanity/Inability to Form Intent: If a mental disease or defect prevented the accused from being able to understand what they were doing at the time of an alleged crime, then your lawyer might argue that you should not be held responsible for it under state laws.
Is Pleading Guilty Really Worth All These Consequences?
Pleading guilty will mean giving up many freedoms such as finding housing and voting, however choosing not to and facing the trial will be an intense experience, as well as time-consuming and very expensive. It may also include not being able to see your loved ones due to no contact orders with victims or witnesses involved in that case.
Another consequence worth mentioning would be having this forever branded onto your public record which could make any future career opportunities. In the future, you could be denied employment which could lead to a huge financial strain, especially with children or dependants.
On the other hand, there are many benefits to pleading not guilty such as increasing your chances of being found innocent and having the whole case dropped, however, that is not always a guaranteed thing. Having an allegation like this on one’s record could ruin their life but will completely depend on how willing you are in fighting for what happened between both parties wasn’t sexual assault and getting help from a good lawyer and/or an investigator who can help you find evidence that shows it wasn’t. Consider seeking expert advice from sexual assault lawyers such as LY Lawyers in instances like these.
So, should you plead guilty in a sexual assault allegation? Pleading not guilty is the best choice if possible because no one wants to be labeled as something they’re not or have their life ruined. So fight for your innocence if you can. It might be worth it in the end.