Accusations of criminal conduct do not immediately terminate individuals’ civil rights. Under the law, men and women who are charged with committing crimes are entitled to certain protections to ensure that they face fair and objective prosecution. Pennsylvanians who have been accused of committing offenses related to rape and sexual assault may benefit from formalizing their understanding of their rights as they prepare for their trials.

For example, at trial an individual accused of committing rape has the right to present their own defenses.  Rape consists of several elements that must be proven by prosecutors at trial. Those elements include but are not limited to the act of sexual intercourse between the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator and the use of force by the alleged perpetrator or lack of consent from the alleged victim to that act.

Therefore, a defendant may demonstrate their innocence by showing that the elements of the charge were not proven. If the defendant did not engage in the act of intercourse with the alleged victim, or of the alleged victim gave their consent to the act then the prosecution may fail in their efforts to convict.

Additionally, certain traits present in the defendant at the time of the alleged act of rape may serve as defenses to allegations of criminal conduct. If the defendant suffers from mental illness or insanity, then they may not be able to be charged. Similarly, if a defendant’s state is altered by intoxication there may be circumstances that offer them defenses.

There is no way to apply all rape defenses to all cases and readers of this post are encouraged to speak with their own criminal defense attorneys about how best to prepare for their own trials. This post does not provide legal advice and only offers general information about a serious and complex legal topic.