Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer: Protecting Your Rights and Reputation
Sexual assault is a serious criminal charge that can drastically alter the course of your life. The criminal justice system in Denver, CO is harsh, with severe penalties for those convicted of sexual assault offenses. In such a dire situation, the importance of a skilled attorney cannot be overstated. Our experienced sexual assault defense lawyer, Richard Huttner, is here to provide you with the strong legal defense and support you need during this challenging time.
Sexual Assault Laws in Colorado
Sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual contact or activity. It is a violation of an individual’s right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity. In Colorado, sex crime laws encompass a wide range of actions, including but not limited to:
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse
- Forcible penetration without consent
- Fondling or groping without permission
You can also be convicted of sexual assault if you use force, coercion, or take advantage of the victim’s incapacity, such as age, mental state, or intoxication. The age of the victim and any position of authority held by the defendant can be factors in a sexual assault conviction. If you become a suspect or are accused, get in touch with our attorneys immediately.
Types of Sexual Offenses
- Sexual Assault: Sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual contact, which can range from unwanted touching to forced sexual intercourse.
- Rape: Rape refers to sexual intercourse without consent. In Colorado, rape can be classified as first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree, depending on the circumstances.
- Unlawful Sexual Contact: This offense entails unwanted sexual touching, fondling, and other sex crimes often without the victim’s consent.
- Sexual Assault on a Spouse: Colorado law recognizes that sexual assault can occur within a marriage. Even within a marital relationship, non-consensual sexual activity is a crime.
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child: This involves creating, distributing, or possessing sexually explicit material featuring minors, such as child pornography.
Degrees of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault laws in Colorado categorize offenses into different degrees based on factors such as the severity of crime, use of force, or the age of the victim. The classifications may include:
- First-Degree Sexual Assault: This involves serious sexual offenses, often accompanied by violence or the threat of violence.
- Second-Degree Sexual Assault: These are sexual offenses that do not fall under the first-degree category but are still serious and non-consensual.
- Third-Degree Sexual Assault: These are when consent is questionable, or the victim is unable to provide informed consent due to incapacity or intoxication.
- Sexual Assault on a Child: This addresses sexual acts involving individuals under a certain age, regardless of consent.
Consent and Lack of Consent
Consent plays a vital role in sexual assault cases in Denver, CO. It is important to understand the distinction between consensual and non-consensual acts:
- Consent: Consent is an informed and enthusiastic agreement to engage in sexual activity. It can be withdrawn at any time and cannot be given when someone is underage or incapacitated.
- Lack of Consent: Sexual activity without valid consent is sexual assault. Lack of consent may result from force, threats, intimidation, incapacity, or inability to provide informed agreement.
Statutory rape is a distinct category of sexual assault that involves sexual activity with a minor, even if the minor appears to have willingly participated. In Colorado, the age of consent is 15 years old and 4 years older, meaning sexual activity with an individual under this age is statutory rape, regardless of consent. These laws are to protect minors from potential exploitation.
If you are convicted, you must also register as a sex offender. However, there are criminal defenses and other legal options for Colorado sex crimes. For instance, there is a “close-in-age” or “Romeo and Juliet” exception, which allows sexual activity between individuals who are close in age, provided they are both over the age of 15.
Types of Sexual Crimes Against Children in Denver Area
Sexual crimes against children encompass a range of offenses involving sexual misconduct or exploitation of minors.
- Sexual Assault on a Child: This involves non-consensual sexual activity with a minor under a certain age, even if there is some level of consent.
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child: Creating, distributing, or possessing explicit materials featuring minors, such as child pornography.
- Indecent Exposure: This occurs when an adult exposes their genitals to a minor in a sexually explicit manner.
- Child Enticement: Using internet luring to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity.
- Child Prostitution: Engaging minors or young people in prostitution or human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Penalties for a Conviction of Sex Crimes in Denver
These are common criminal punishments for sex crime convictions in Denver, CO:
- Sexual Assault on an Adult:
- First-Degree Sexual Assault: A Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 16 years to life in prison.
- Second-Degree Sexual Assault: A Class 4 felony, carrying a sentence of 2 to 12 years in prison.
- Third-Degree Sexual Assault: A Class 1 misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of 6 to 24 months in jail.
- Sexual Assault on a Child:
- Sexual Assault on a Child (Under 15 Years Old): A Class 4 felony, with a possible prison sentence of 4 years to life.
- Sexual Assault on a Child (15-17 Years Old): A Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by 6 to 24 months in jail.
- Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust: A Class 3 felony, carrying a sentence of up to 16 years to life in prison.
- Sexual Assault with Aggravating Factors: If certain aggravating factors are present, such as the use of a weapon or causing serious bodily injury, penalties may be more severe for the sex offenders.
- Lifetime Sex Offender Registration: A conviction for sex crime charges will include your name in the sex offender registry, which can have significant social and legal consequences.
- Probation: In some sex offenses, a defendant may receive lifetime probation in lieu of or in addition to a prison sentence under the Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998. You may also need to take part in treatment programs if you are convicted of Class 4, 3, and 2 sex offenses.
Defenses and Legal Strategies for Statutory Rape in Colorado
Our top Denver criminal defense attorney Richard Huttner will employ various defenses and legal strategies to get the sexual assault charges against you dismissed or reduced:
- Consent: We will demonstrate that the sexual activity was consensual.
- Mistaken Identity: We will challenge your identification as the accused by the police and alleged victim.
- Lack of Evidence: If there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, we may argue that the case lacks merit.
- Alibi: We will present evidence that you were not at the location of the alleged assault when it occurred.
- Legal Procedures: We will challenge the legality of the arrest, evidence collection, or other procedural issues that may impact the case’s outcome.
As leading sexual assault defense attorneys, we can determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case. If you are involved in a sex crime, we can begin working on your defense right away.
Why You Need a Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
Protecting Your Constitutional Rights
One of the primary roles of a sexual assault defense lawyer is to protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal process:
- Right to Due Process
- Right to Remain Silent
- Right to Legal Counsel
- Protection Against Unlawful Searches and Seizures
Building a Strong Defense
- Evaluating Consent: We will assess whether consent was given or if there was a lack of it.
- Investigating False Accusations: We will investigate the veracity of such claims and work to uncover evidence that supports the accused’s innocence.
- Challenging Evidence: We may challenge the reliability of witness statements, the handling of evidence, or the legality of searches and seizures.
- Legal Advocacy: We will negotiate with prosecutors, provide counsel, and represent you in court when necessary.
Minimizing Penalties and Consequences
Our aim is to obtain the most favorable outcome by minimizing penalties and consequences, which may include:
- Reduced Sentencing: We will negotiate for a plea deal and reduced sentencing.
- Alternative Sentencing: We will explore alternative sentencing options, such as probation or community service, to minimize the impact on your life.
The Legal Process for Sexual Assault Cases in Denver
Arrest and Booking
This involves the apprehension of the accused based on allegations of sexual assault. Upon arrest, you will be subjected to the booking process that includes:
- Providing personal information
- Taking fingerprints and photographs
- Processing the accused into the criminal justice system
Initial Appearance and Bail Hearing
After the arrest and booking, you will be brought before a judge for an initial appearance. During this proceeding, the judge will:
- Inform you of the charges
- Set a date for the next court appearance
- Address bail or bond issues
If bail is set, a bail hearing will be held to determine the terms and conditions for release while the case is pending. Our skilled sexual assault defense lawyers can advocate for reasonable bail conditions to avoid unnecessary incarceration.
The pre-trial stage involves various proceedings that prepare the case for trial:
- Discovery: Both the prosecution and defense exchange evidence and information related to the case, including witness lists, documents, and other relevant materials.
- Pretrial Motions: We may file pretrial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or challenge the legality of arrest, to address any issues that may affect the conviction.
Trial and Courtroom Representation
If a plea agreement is not reached during pre-trial proceedings, the case proceeds to trial. During trial, the prosecution presents its case, and the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, present evidence, and build a compelling defense.
Sentencing and Appeals
A judge determines the appropriate penalties, which may include fines, probation, community service, or incarceration. In some instances, the accused may choose to appeal the verdict or sentence, leading to a review by a higher court.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is consent a defense in sexual assault cases in Denver?
Consent is an important factor, and sexual activity without informed and voluntary consent is considered sexual assault. Lack of consent can be due to various factors, including force, coercion, or the victim’s age. Our attorney will explore all possible legal avenues to build a strong defense.
Can I be charged with sexual assault if the other person initially consented but later withdrew their consent during the act?
Yes, if consent is withdrawn during sexual activity, continuing without consent can lead to sexual assault charges. You should speak with our attorneys without delay to build a strong defense.
Can someone be charged with sexual assault based solely on the victim’s testimony?
Charges can be brought based on the victim’s statement, but a strong legal defense can challenge the credibility of the accusation.
What should I do if I am accused of sexual assault in Colorado?
You should obtain legal representation immediately. You can get in touch with our qualified sexual assault defense attorneys to protect your rights and build a strong defense. Don’t speak with an investigator until you have spoken to an experienced sex assualt defense lawyer.
How can I protect my rights during a sexual assault investigation or arrest?
It is important that you remain silent, request an attorney, and cooperate with legal counsel during questioning or interactions with law enforcement.
Contact a Proven Sexual Assault Defense Attorney
With a strong background and a stellar track record in sexual assault defense, Richard Huttner has successfully handled numerous cases, employing a range of defense strategies to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients. Our sexual assault defense lawyers can build a robust defense and will fight aggressively to protect your rights and freedom. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your case, call us at 303-997-1928 or fill out this online contact form.