When the police show up at your door and want to question you concerning a sexual assault, it is important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer before you say anything. It does not matter if you are innocent or not. The complexity of these charges make it easy for you to say something that might seem innocent to you, but cause you to be charged, arrested, and incarcerated. A criminal defense lawyer understands the defenses available for these charges, but needs to speak with you alone to get the whole story. He or she will then speak for you or help you avoid saying something that may be used against you and will know which defense strategy is best for your situation.
If you are truly innocent of having anything to do with the victim, and can prove that you were not at the scene of the encounter, maintaining your innocence is easy. If you were at the scene, it can be a bit more difficult. Even if the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you were involved in the assault, it can be claimed you were a bystander who did nothing to stop it; making you an accomplice. Your attorney will work to set up an exact timeline, detailing where the assault took place and where you were in relationship to it at the time. For example, you may have been at the house party, but can prove that you were in the backyard or in a different room when the assault occurred.
Proving your actions were welcome and the victim was consenting to them can be extremely difficult. This is when having an attorney present when you are first questioned is the most important. There may be DNA evidence that some type of encounter took place. If the victim claims it was not wanted, it is a "he said, she said" type of situation. In this situation, the prosecutor will have to prove that what you said is not the whole truth. If, however, the prosecutor can prove that the victim was incapacitated in such a way as to be unable to give consent, such as he or she was drunk or under the influence of drugs, your attorney will have to prove you were not in any condition to know this. In essence, you, too, were incapacitated. Your attorney can then claim that you were the victim.
A sexual assault charge is nothing to mess around with. If you are convicted, you will be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of your life. When it comes down to the wire, if you are not going to be acquitted, having a criminal defense lawyer who can work with the prosecutor to get the charges changed, it will be in your best interest. Don't talk to the police, or anyone else, until you have your attorney present; it is the best way to save yourself.