Defenses To Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor In Dayton
Charges, and even allegations, of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, have a significant stigma attached to them. Even if the allegations are proven to be untrue, or charges are dismissed, having been involved in a criminal case involving sex crimes can have long-lasting negative effects on your daily life. Convictions for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor can have even more profound consequences, like mandatory placement on the Ohio sex offender registry.
If you have become involved in an unlawful sexual conduct investigation or have been arrested for an alleged offense, it is important to form a solid defense to combat the allegations and protect yourself. To build that defense, it is vital that you hire an experienced defense attorney to formulate the best defense and protect your interests. The defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have experience in over 20,000 criminal defense cases and are ready to fight for you in your case. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call Joslyn Law Firm at (937) 356-3969 or visit our website.
Ohio Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor (Statutory Rape)
Statutory rape involves sexual conduct between two people where one of the people, even if they consent to the conduct, cannot consent by law. In Ohio, “sexual conduct” occurs when you and someone else have vaginal or anal sex by insertion of an object or something else, cunnilingus, or fellatio. Statutory rape is sexual conduct between someone 18 years or older and another who is 13 to 15 years old at the time of the offense, or where the victim is 16 or 17 years old and the alleged offender is more than four years older. Lack of knowledge about the other person’s age is not a defense to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your defense attorney may be able to raise defenses to the charges. Defenses are circumstances of your case that can help you combat charges against you. The experienced defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm know what defenses to use to have your charges dismissed or reduced. The following are some of the most common defenses used in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor cases.
Credibility is one of the most critical issues in a criminal case. In unlawful sexual conduct with a minor cases, the issue of credibility is also a sensitive one. Children or minors accusing someone of sexual abuse are subjected to extensive examinations from mental health professionals, social services, and others to determine their mental state and assess any factors that might affect it. The child or minor’s credibility in testimony is often central to your defense, which makes questioning their credibility even more important. Defense attorneys will challenge the alleged victim’s credibility in a few separate ways.
Accuser Is Lying
A minor may lie about sexual misconduct for several reasons. Age, circumstances, and the minor’s environment can affect whether the minor lies. Minors may lie to get attention, revenge, or when they are simply angry. Depending on the age of the accuser, they may not understand what sexual abuse is or the profound effect that it can have on the accused.
Exaggeration is different from lying, but the underlying motives and consequences are often the same. If the minor exaggerates the conduct, it may indicate their lack of understanding of sexual conduct and abuse, which may directly affect your case. Your defense attorney will decide the best course of action to determine why the minor would exaggerate and how to use their exaggeration to your benefit.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a minor might be lying due to manipulation from a parent, guardian, or some other person. Adult manipulation of a minor causing them to lie commonly occurs in circumstances involving divorce and custody, among others. It is important to approach adult manipulation cases with care, as there are other unhealthy elements in the minor’s environment.
A parent or guardian who influences or forces a minor to lie in court may face perjury charges, a felony. However, perjury charges will only attach to the parent or guardian if they caused the minor to lie and the accused is ultimately found to be innocent. After being proven innocent, it’s possible that you may sue the parent or guardian. This type of case can only be brought by a private defense attorney or on your own without an attorney. While you may bring the case on your own, hiring an experienced defense attorney from Joslyn Law Firm to represent you will help you achieve the best result.
Minor Status (Under Age 18)
In Ohio, if you are under 18 when you are accused of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, you cannot be charged with the offense. * depending on the age of the other party? While you cannot be charged with statutory rape, you may still be charged with other sex crimes like rape or sexual battery, depending on the facts of your case.
Lesser Included Offense
A “lesser included offense” is a lower-level charge with elements in common with a more severe crime. This means that if you are charged with both the more severe offense and the lesser one, you can only be charged with the greater one.
For example, you are charged with two offenses, and each requires a party’s age to be over 18, the contact to be nonconsensual, and the conduct must be committed at night. The lesser charge only requires those elements to be proven. However, the greater charge requires all the elements in the lesser one to be proven in addition to other elements in the charge. As the greater charge cannot be committed without the lesser one, the two charges merge, and only the more severe charge is brought against you. Only the more severe charge is brought because charging and convicting for both only requires the prosecution to prove one charge but allows them to impose the penalties from two, infringing on your rights.
In 2019, the Ohio legislature changed the legal marriage age to 18, and 17 in some circumstances where the age difference is less than four years and with parental consent. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor offenses that involve marriages that took place in-state before 2019 or in another state, and one of you was considered a minor at the time of the alleged offense, you will be allowed to use marriage as a defense. You will be able to use the defense because, at the time of the offense, one of you was a minor, and your marriage was entered lawfully. However, the defense is not available for marriages or circumstances occurring in 2019 or later.
Unfair Criminal Proceedings
Anyone charged with a criminal offense is entitled to legal representation in the trial and for that trial to be completed without unreasonable delay under the United States and Ohio Constitutions. If you are not allowed these rights, your defense attorney may argue that your rights have been violated, which may result in your case being dismissed.
Fourth Amendment Rights Violations
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unlawful searches and seizures. This means that police and law enforcement generally must obtain a warrant to obtain evidence or entry into your home. In some cases, law enforcement may still attempt to obtain evidence by unlawfully searching your property or threatening your arrest. If the prosecution tries to use unlawfully obtained evidence against you, your lawyer may argue to have the evidence thrown out. If the evidence is excluded by the judge, that evidence may not be used against you.
Rape Kit Defense
Rape kit examinations are where evidence of an alleged sexual offense is collected and submitted with the intent to prove an offense occurred and to identify the offender. These kits can be highly effective, but only if they are completed within a certain amount of time after the alleged offense has occurred. If the examinations are delayed, vital DNA evidence might be lost or tainted. If there has been a significant delay in the examination used in evidence against you, your attorney may argue that the evidence is unreliable and should be excluded.
Any allegation of sexual misconduct is serious. However, if the allegation made against you are false, this may have severe consequences, not only for you but for your accuser. Regardless of the accuser’s motive for falsely accusing you, if you can provide evidence that proves the allegation is false, your case may be dismissed. Additionally, the false accuser may face criminal charges for falsely accusing you.
In some cases, there may not be enough evidence to support the prosecution’s charges against you. An attorney may successfully argue that some evidence is not admissible in court. If the judge agrees, the evidence is not allowed in court. If after that evidence is thrown out, the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove the charges, your case may be dismissed by the court or dropped by the prosecution.
An alibi is an explanation provided by the defendant to show evidence that they could not be responsible for a certain crime or offense. These explanations are supported with evidence from family and friends, eyewitnesses, or material evidence like call logs or receipts.
Family And Friends
Testimony from family and friends can be used to support your alibi defense. While the testimony may be valuable and reliable, due to their connection with you, the prosecution will try to prove that they are willing to lie to help your case.
Eyewitnesses can be used to support your defense by providing an account of what happened during the alleged offense. These can be passersby, store clerks, or anyone who witnessed the events of the alleged offense. These accounts can provide a strong defense so long as the witnesses’ credibility is adequately supported.
Material alibis are physical or documented evidence used to show where you were or what you were doing at the time of the offense. For example, to prove that you could not have committed the offense, you submit a receipt that shows that you were in a completely different city getting gas at the time of the alleged offense. If the jury finds the evidence convincing, your case may be dismissed.
Lack Of Knowledge
An affirmative defense involves admitting that a special circumstance or event caused you to commit the offense. To raise a lack of knowledge defense, you argue that you attempted to determine the person’s age, but some action by the alleged victim or some other issue prevented you from learning their age. For example, you attempted to learn another person’s age by looking at their driver’s license. However, the age on the ID is false, and when asked their age, they give you the wrong age. After the fact, you have been accused of sexual misconduct, and your accuser was a minor. Because you made a good faith attempt to determine age, you might be entitled to use a lack of knowledge defense to combat the claim.
“Romeo And Juliet” Mitigation (Rule Of Lenity)
The rule of lenity means that any ambiguity in law should be interpreted in favor of the defendant. In Ohio, the application of this rule in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is called “Romeo and Juliet mitigation.” With respect to an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charge, the ambiguity refers to the age difference between two parties. For example, if you are over 18 and the alleged victim is 14, you might be subject to felony penalties because you are more than four years older.
However, applying the rule of lenity, you might be allowed to use an age calculation to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor. For example, you were born on January 1, 2003, and the alleged victim was born on December 31, 2006. In this case, when you are 18, the alleged victim is 14. Because the difference between 14 and 18 is four years or more, you might face felony penalties.
However, applying the rule of lenity, you could calculate the differences between your birthdays instead of your ages. When the difference in birthdays is calculated, the actual age difference is three years, 11 months, and 30 days, which is less than four years. While you would still be subject to misdemeanor penalties, those penalties are less severe than felony penalties.
Presenting a mistaken identity defense involves providing evidence to establish that you have been incorrectly accused of someone else’s offense. For the offense to succeed, it is necessary to obtain all evidence the prosecution intends to use against you, especially any DNA evidence obtained in a rape kit.
Hiring A Lawyer If Charged With Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor In Dayton
If you have been accused of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, it is important to act quickly, mounting a strong defense. To present the strongest defense, you will need a defense attorney. When you need representation in court, experience matters. The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have extensive experience in cases like yours and are ready to fight for you. For a free, confidential consultation, call us at (937) 356-3969 or visit our website.