Experienced Maine Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
Serving Bangor, Biddeford, Saco, Portland, Augusta and all of Maine
What constitutes sexual assault?
Sexual assault can be defined as any type of "assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent" (Wikipedia). This could include a wide variety of inappropriate contact, as it is covers some of the most severe types of offenses, in addition to the most minor. It is also the most commonly prosecuted type of sex crime, since many types of sex crime fall under this broad category of criminal offense.
Unlawful acts that may be included under the charge of sexual assault include:
- Rape/forced penetration
- Child molestation
- Torture in a sexual manner
- Inappropriate sexual contact/groping
- Forced kissing
- Sexual harassment
- Domestic violence
These acts, all of which include inappropriate sexual conduct of some form, are punishable under the law. Even instances of forcefully kissing another or inappropriately groping someone without their consent can be defined as a sexual assault-and can therefore be punished through the means of the legal system. The use of manipulation, coercion, or verbal and/or physical threats in order to engage in sexual acts is also considered sexual assault.
"Gross Sexual Assault"
Gross sexual assault is a term that is used to define a range of unlawful sexual acts. It can include anything from engaging in sexual acts with a person that is mentally disabled-who is therefore unable to consent or object-to engaging in sexual acts with a person that has not yet reached the age of consent-which is 16 in the state of Maine. Depending on the type of assault that was committed, one might be charged with a serious classification of crime. In some instances, a conviction of gross sexual assault is a class A felony and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine-not to mention the consequences of being labeled a "sex offender" for the duration of an individual's life.
My Other Areas of Practice
I frequently defend clients charged with other types of sex crimes, including:
I also practice in many other areas of criminal defense law.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does it make a difference if we were both intoxicated at the time?
Intoxication is generally no defense against a Maine sexual assault charge unless you prove you were so intoxicated that you could not have committed the alleged act. If your partner was intoxicated, that could work against you by indicating that he/she could not have consented to sexual acts, especially if you provided the intoxicants.
Can I be convicted of sexual assault for going to a prostitute?
Yes. Under certain circumstances where the conduct meets the definition. Such as if you forced yourself on the prostitute by insisting on engaging in acts that he or she objected to would be an example. Another example would be if the prostitute was under 18, even though the age of consent in Maine is only 16. In fact, Maine authorities are becoming more aggressive than ever before in prosecuting both "johns" and pimps. Paying a prostitute for sex, without more, does not constitute a sexual assault. However, soliciting a prostitute, while not a sexual assault, is a crime where Maine authorities are seeking jail time.
Can the case against me be dropped if my accuser refuses to press charges?
Not necessarily. It is the prosecutor, not the accuser, whose job it is to press charges, and the accuser cannot compel the prosecutor to drop charges. Nevertheless, charges might still be dropped if the accuser refuses to cooperate with the prosecution and the prosecution therefore lacks a good case against you.
Can I be prosecuted for raping my spouse?
Yes, you can – and the penalties can be quite severe under certain circumstances. As a practical matter, it can be more difficult for your spouse to establish lack of consent than it would be in an ordinary rape case, especially if you lived with your spouse at the time of the incident.
What is a "rape shield statute"?
Every U.S. state, including Maine, has a rape shield statute that restricts the right of a criminal defendant to introduce evidence of the complainant's past sexual conduct. Although the law is laudable in intent, it can be used to unfairly disadvantage the defendant without the intervention of a skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
Can I be sued for the offense even if I am acquitted in criminal court?
Yes. The reason for this is that the standard of proof in criminal court, "beyond a reasonable doubt", is much higher than the standard of proof that applies to a civil lawsuit. A high profile example of this discrepancy (in California) was the inconsistent verdicts in the O.J. Simpson murder and wrongful death cases.
Can my case be dismissed if the police failed to "read me my rights"?
Not necessarily. What is supposed to happen is that evidence against you will be thrown out if it arose from something you said to the police before you were advised of your rights (a confession, for example). Whether your case is dismissed depends on whether the prosecutor still has a good case against you even after this evidence is thrown out.
What is the exclusionary rule?
The exclusionary rule is a principle, based on the U.S. Constitution, that evidence against a defendant must be thrown out (suppressed) if it was obtained in violation of the defendant's (your) constitutional rights. As an example, the exclusionary rule might come into play if one item of evidence against you is a film of an illegal sexual act that was seized from your computer's hard drive without a warrant or a valid exception to the warrant rule.
About WIlliam T. Bly
Criminal defense attorney William T. Bly has been practicing criminal defense law almost exclusively for well over a decade. What gives him his edge over other criminal defense attorneys is his extensive training over the last decade and his experience as an intern prosecutor for the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office, an experience that provided him with great insight into how prosecutors view criminal prosecutions. In addition, his time at the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office allowed him to forge relationships with the majority of judges, court personnel, prosecutors and DA office staff that Attorney Bly now uses to leverage beneficial outcomes for his clients.
Now Is No Time to Hesitate; Connect With Skilled Maine Sexual Assault Attorney
The criminal justice system in Maine is, of course, adversarial. It is brutally competitive, with the prosecution and the defense basically going to war against one another. Further complicating this scenario is the arcane nature of Maine‘s rules of evidence and criminal procedures, the nuances of which can seem mystifying to those untrained in criminal defense law.
What's more, missing a deadline or responding inadequately to a motion or request could result in wildly disproportionate negative consequences. If you have been charged with any form of sexual assault in Maine, now is not the time to represent yourself – or to secure the services of an inexperienced defense attorney.
Call me today at (207) 571-8146 or fill in my online contact form to schedule a free initial case consultation.