After sexual assault, you can press criminal charges against the perpetrator in order to seek justice for this violent act. Proving a sexual assault case can be difficult due to the nature of the crime — in many cases, no witnesses are present and evidence seems to be limited to the personal recollections of the survivor and the perpetrator. However, there are multiple pieces of evidence your attorney can present to the court, even if it seems like no tangible data is available.
DNA Forensic Evidence
The strongest pieces of evidence that you can bring to a sexual assault trial are DNA samples. Immediately after experiencing a sexual assault, advocates and experts recommend that survivors visit a hospital that administers forensic sexual assault medical exams, also known as rape kits.
During the course of the exam, a trained forensic examiner will collect various samples from your body, clothing, and other areas that may contain traces of DNA. You can present the results of your forensic exam to the courtroom, and the evidence may be sufficient enough to trigger a conviction.
In situations where the perpetrator used a date rape drug or other substance to commit sexual assault, toxicology reports are vital. Doctors use the results of these tests to determine if you have an unusual substance in your blood that may contribute to a black out or hazy memory, and you can present the results of these reports in the courtroom.
In some cases, DNA evidence is not present or the survivor is unable to receive a timely forensic exam. However, trace evidence such as hairs, clothing fibers, paint, or soil could link a perpetrator to the crime.
The police may find trace evidence belonging to the perpetrator in the area where the assault took place — such as a car’s door handle, bed frame, or even on your body. They will then use this evidence to aid in the investigation, either directly tying the trace evidence to a suspect or using the clues that the evidence gives to track the perpetrator down.
If the perpetrator did not leave any evidence at the scene of the crime, digital forensics may be able to link him or her to the assault. For example, the perpetrator may have called you directly before the assault took place, and you can provide the cell phone records detailing this. GPS records may also be evidence in certain cases, such as sexual assault by an Uber or Lyft driver.
In addition to trace evidence, the investigation into your assault may also yield impression evidence that the police can use to identify the perpetrator or link a suspect to the crime. For example, the police may find fingerprints in and around the area where the assault took place.
They may also discover tire marks and shoe prints, which can also tie a suspect or his or her vehicle to the assault. If the perpetrator left a note or dropped a piece of paper with his or her handwriting on it, the police can perform analysis to connect him or her to the crime.
Why You Need a Sexual Assault Attorney
If you are filing criminal charges against the perpetrator responsible for your sexual assault, the burden of proof can be difficult to satisfy alone. For best results, contact a sexual assault lawyer with experience assisting survivors with their cases.
Your attorney can provide a number of benefits for your case, including the following.
- The aftermath of sexual assault can be overwhelming. Your attorney will advise you of each of your legal options and begin the processes necessary to file charges so you can focus on your healing, not paperwork.
- Your lawyer will have access to the resources and expert witnesses necessary to conduct an in-depth investigation into your case and build a compelling argument with the available evidence.
- Your attorney will have the knowledge, skills, and experience to present your case in the courtroom. He or she will help you prepare for each step and will advise you on all important updates in your case.
If you have not done so already, contact a sexual assault attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.