Marion Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
Being arrested and accused of a crime like sexual assault can be a tremendously frightening experience. Facing the South Carolina legal system can be a complicated and daunting process – one that you are likely unfamiliar with. The understanding, knowledgeable, and skilled trial attorneys of Law Office of William J. Luse can help you deal with the stress of an arrest, see you through the legal process, and present the best possible defense on your behalf.
Why You Need a Lawyer
When your future, your freedom, and your reputation are at stake, you want the best possible defense against criminal charges. Because the criminal process can be lengthy and complicated, you need a trained professional from beginning to end – from arrest to acquittal or appeal. The sooner you prepare to build your defense, the better chance you have of achieving the best possible outcome.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can fully explain and protect your rights. They can handle rough interrogations for you, advising you on what to say and helping you to fight pressure to plead guilty if you’re not. An attorney can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. Do not say anything to the police until you have hired an attorney.
Only by hiring a good defense attorney will you be able to properly investigate the case, examine evidence, and determine what to present in court. An experienced South Carolina trial attorney has the ability to thoughtfully study all aspects of the case, such as the facts of the alleged crime, alibi, witness credibility, intent, duress, and entrapment in order to provide the best defense for you in a courtroom. An attorney can advise you on how to answer questions from the prosecutor during cross-examination and can even help you practice answering questions ahead of time.
A knowledgeable attorney will also be able to advise on you how to have the best appearance in front of the jury. Trained experts can teach you how the defendant’s body language, conduct, and appearance – in and out of the courtroom – can have an affect on the outcome of a trial. You will want to put your best foot forward as you are scrutinized by the judge and jurors.
Penalties could be severe if you don’t present your best case. You could be facing mandatory minimum prison sentences or mandatory sex offender registration. Your future is not worth the risk. Find a knowledgeable South Carolina sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Choose Law Office of William J. Luse?
The attorneys at Law Office of William J. Luse will sit down with you to discuss your case and we want to hear your side of the story. We are dedicated to making sure that our client’s voice is heard and that the rights of our community members are protected.
Our team is committed to helping you to reduce the stress of an arrest and prepare you to defend your rights. Our South Carolina sex crimes attorneys will effectively communicate with you to know what to expect, what type of defense to use, and how to overcome any problems with your case. We can also identify the strengths and weakness of the prosecution’s case also.
We will take our experience to court, hire private investigators if needed, subpoena documents, prepare you for trial, and advocate aggressively on your behalf. We are committed to fighting against the accusation or to reducing the charges or the severity of the penalties.
Cases We Handle
The South Carolina Title 16 Crimes and Offenses Against the Person, Article 7 Assault and Criminal Sexual Conduct defines the crimes and punishments for a variety of sex offenses:
- Sexual assault
- Rape (sexual battery)
- Statutory rape (statutory sexual battery)
- Spousal rape (spousal sexual battery)
- Child pornography
- Solicitation of a minor
The attorneys at Law Office of William J. Luse are committed to representing clients who have been charged with these types of sex crimes.
First-Degree Sexual Assault Offenses
There are degrees of sexual battery, ranging from misdemeanor to felony. These are defined by South Carolina State Code, under that same article, in Section 16-3-652. A sexual battery is considered a first-degree felony under the following circumstances:
- Using aggravated force, such as physical violence or a deadly weapon, to overcome the victim
- Confining or kidnapping someone by force against their will
- During a robbery or burglary
- Using a drug or other intoxicating substance to incapacitate the victim
A felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison, except for aggravated spousal rape, which only carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Second-Degree Sexual Assault Offenses
Under South Carolina law, second-degree felony sexual misconduct occurs when someone commits sexual battery through the use of aggravated coercion, such as violence to overcome the victim. This crime is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in state prison.
Third-Degree Sexual Assault Offenses
The state defines third-degree sexual misconduct if the perpetrator engages in sexual battery and one of the following:
- Use of force or coercion
- Knowledge that the victim was incapacitated
- Knowledge that the victim was otherwise physically helpless
A felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison.
Under the Sex Offender Accountability and Protection of Minors Act of 2006, statutory sexual battery brings the harshest sentences, including life without parole and even the death penalty in the state of South Carolina.
What if the victim has a bad sexual reputation?
Under Section 16-3-659.1 of the South Carolina state code, “Evidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual conduct, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct, and reputation of the victim’s sexual conduct is not admissible in prosecutions.” Additionally, it is unlawful, under Section 16-3-730 of the state code, to publish the name or names of victims of criminal sexual conduct.
Are there statutes of limitations to charge me with a sex crime?
Statutes of limitations are deadlines for prosecutors charges against you. Unlike like some states, South Carolina generally doesn’t have statutes of limitations for criminal prosecution. However, there are remarkable exceptions for victims to report a sex crime. For example, under South Carolina code, Section 16-3-615, victims of spousal rape have only 30 days to report the crime to law enforcement.
What defense can I use against a charge of criminal sexual conduct?
- It was consensual – There can be significant questions about what constitutes consent or refusal that must be clarified.
- Insanity – The accused argues that they did not have the mental capacity at the time of the alleged crime to effectively control their behavior and truly understand what they were doing. Due to their mental state, they had no real criminal intent and did not understand that their actions were unlawful.
- Someone else did it – One of the usual defenses available to all other criminal defendants.
- I didn’t mean to – Some sexual crime charges require “intent,” which can be very difficult to prove.
The attorneys at Law Office of William J. Luse have the experience to examine the evidence and determine which defense is best for you. Our skilled Marion criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping you build the best possible case.
The entire team at Law Office of William J. Luse is dedicated to protecting your rights and those of your family members. We will aggressively fight to get your charges dropped or get your penalties reduced. Call us today for a free confidential case evaluation. Your freedom, your future, and your reputation will depend on it. Contact a Marion criminal defense lawyer by calling (843) 839-4795 or by filling out a contact form today.