Military Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers
Our Court-Martial Defense Attorneys Fight False Sexual Assault Accusations
The military takes allegations of sexual assault more seriously than ever. In past decades, allegations based only on an alleged victim’s word were rarely seen in court; today, cases involving she said / he said (with no other evidence) are commonplace in the courtroom. Therefore, when a military member is accused of a sex crime, they need someone highly qualified to fight for their rights.
A sexual assault conviction can result in prison time and an end to a person’s military career. Their entry to the sexual assault offender list can affect the rest of their lives, including any future job prospects. If you are accused of sexual assault, you have rights during the court-martial process as a military member. Today, the military prosecutes most cases brought to its attention, even the most frivolous and baseless cases.
Knowing your rights can help you protect your rights, but the laws surrounding sexual assault and the military have changed considerably in recent years. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek a sexual assault defense attorney experienced with these types of cases to navigate the court-martial process effectively. No matter how complex the case, attorney’s like Gonzalez and Waddington will work tenaciously to protect your rights as well as your career and future.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Article 120 UCMJ provides an overview of sexual assault and defines rape, sexual abuse, and wrongful sexual contact. As a military member, if you are accused of sexual assault, it will involve some aspect of this legal statute. Since 2006, the law has undergone a plethora of changes. The military now has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, and most cases are pursued as a result. Sexual assault charges of military personnel often involve:
- Abusive sexual contact
- Indecent recording (or broadcasting an indecent recording)
- Indecent viewing
- Indecent exposure
- Internet sex crimes
- Sexual harassment
In the past, allegations of sexual assault were typically first reviewed by a military commander before they were escalated to the point of court-martial. That is no longer the case, as there is now a presumption of guilt on the accused regardless of how baseless the claim is against them. There are indeed cases that involve factual accusations, but there are also cases where the accused is innocent, and the allegations made against them are fraudulent.
Issues About Consent
Many of the cases brought to court-martial today hinge on consent/no consent. Consent means to agree to engage in sexual conduct freely. To give consent, a person must be competent; that is to say, they cannot offer consent when force/threats are involved or when they are sleeping or unconscious, for example. The court also doesn’t recognize that a lack of verbal resistance or physical resistance signifies consent. Previous sexual relations also do not indicate consent.
Many cases involving sexual assault involve a mistake of the fact as to consent. Issues of consent can be murky and complicated. It’s not uncommon for accused military members to be taken entirely by surprise when allegations of sexual assault have been made against them because they were under the impression that their previous encounter was 100% consensual.
That’s why it’s essential to have an aggressive and experienced military defense lawyer defending you. They will get to the bottom of issues associated with consent or lack thereof. The truth is, many alleged victims have made false claims–and then stuck to by their false claims, knowing the military could turn around and prosecute them should it be shown they were lying.
Victims make false allegations for numerous reasons that might include:
- The alleged victim is married and caught by a spouse; claiming sexual assault in some cases seems preferable to claiming adultery.
- The victim could be charged for participating in sex acts (especially when it involves a Private First Class from the same unit and underage drinking).
- Remorse; sometimes alleged victims feel guilty for engaging in sex and want to shift the blame.
The fact is, alleged victims, have been shown to lie, and these lies can have a devastating effect on military members who face charges of sexual assault.
Sexual Assault and Legal Counsel
If you are accused of sexual assault, you need an experienced sexual assault defense attorney to advocate for your rights. The military treats all allegations of sexual assault seriously. Therefore, even if you are innocent, you still need to consult with an attorney who focuses on these cases.
Gonzalez and Waddington remain up to date on every nuance of the law and changes to it. They will mount a robust defense to protect your rights and career as well as your reputation. We understand how challenging this time can be. That’s why we go to work immediately by securing evidence on our clients’ behalf and developing a solid defense that will be needed to protect their rights.
What Should I Do If I Am Accused of Sexual Assault?
If you are a military member accused of sexual assault, you should contact Gonzalez and Waddington as soon as possible. The earlier we can be involved in your case, the better. As soon as you contact us, we can go to work immediately. There are many necessary steps we can take quickly, like procuring witness statements and reviewing evidence. If you are accused of rape or another serious sexual assault crime, you have a right to legal counsel. Let us protect your rights throughout every step of the process. We have a proven track record of successfully defending many clients accused of sexual assault.
Know Your Rights
Many people accused of a crime are unsure of all their rights. That’s why it’s so important to contact legal counsel right away. For instance, we can inform you that you have the right to refuse a polygraph test or that you can refuse consenting searches. In addition, you can revoke your consent to search at any time.
A savvy prosecuting attorney can twist your words. So, suppose you’re caught on a phone recording or text apologizing for any reason. In that case, it could be construed as an apology for assault rather than what you may have intended–an apology that the alleged victim is upset or that you became involved at all. But, again, having the right defense attorney at your side can help insulate you against these types of tactics.
Gonzalez and Waddington offer free initial consultations. Even at this early stage, we can begin to form a plan to prove innocence, or at least reasonable doubt. It’s often NOT essential at all to prove innocence. We must simply show reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime(s) they’re accused of. If there is any suspicion that the accused provided consent, that is often enough to establish reasonable doubt. We work diligently to spotlight this reasonable doubt because a person’s future hangs in the balance.
We Fight to Protect Our Clients’ Rights
The court-martial defense lawyers at Gonzalez and Waddington are well known for their strong defense of our clients. There are numerous defense methodologies we can use to support our client’s claims of innocence. Some of the methods we will use include:
- Discrediting prosecution witnesses
- Discovering motives to lie
- Conduyc9tng a computer forensic investigation
- Scouring social media for material to impeach prosecution witnesses
- Preparing our client to testify
- Suppressing evidence
- Conducting an independent investigation
- Dealing with law enforcement and JAG prosecutors
Establishing a Motive for Fraudulent Accusations
We will inform the jury of any possible motives that an accuser might lie and allege assault. Juries are waiting to hear some explanation as to why the accuser may be incorrect. Whether they are lying or simply mistaken about what happened is crucial for establishing reasonable doubt. Consequently, our team needs to present evidence that can demonstrate that the accuser has a motive for lying or is incorrect.
Uncovering the Facts that OCI, CID, NCIS, and CGIS Ignored
Simple facts often sway military juries. Accordingly, we find that there’s no need to elaborate. Instead, we focus on critical events in the narrative that demonstrate reasonable doubt, such as instances in the accused story that are uncorroborated.
Challenge the Narrative Aggressively
As experienced courtroom attorneys, we understand innately how to treat accusers with kindness and respect while challenging their narrative. Our job is to defend our clients, and we perform that job to the best of our ability.
Accused’s Testimony at a Court-Martial
Our attorneys prepare clients for the possibility of testifying. Prosecuting attorneys will use any tactic they’re able to achieve a conviction. We will prepare you for the questions they’re likely to pose as well as what to expect during the court-martial proceedings.
What Can You Expect When You Hire Gonzalez and Waddington?
If you choose to retain our services, you can expect diligent support and tenacious advocating on your behalf. We will examine every detail of your case to prepare a robust defense. We’ll communicate our plans with you and provide you with an informed analysis of your case. We know how much is riding on our defense; that’s why we work tirelessly to protect our clients and help them to avoid convictions that can change the course of their lives.