Defenses an Assailant May Raise in an Alaska Sexual Assault Case

Sexual assault is a crime in every U.S. state, so there are certain elements a prosecutor must establish to obtain a conviction. As with any criminal offense, the government needs to prove each set of facts beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden in the practice of law, and even a slight question in the minds of jurors could lead to an acquittal. Another factor that sexual abuse cases share with other criminal matters is that there are defenses available to the charges. Alaska’s criminal code covers defenses to sexual assault, which could allow the alleged offender to avoid conviction.

A civil sexual assault case is separate from criminal proceedings. As the victim, you are the plaintiff, not the government. Plus, you are seeking monetary damages for physical, financial, and emotional losses – not criminal punishment. However, some of the same defenses that are available in the criminal case can also be used by the defendant to defeat your claim. You can count on an Anchorage sexual assault attorney for help with strategy, but it is wise to be aware of the defenses that may come up.

No Conviction

The attacker in a civil sexual assault case may try to claim that there was no finding of guilt in the criminal case and, therefore, the victim does not have remedies through a civil case. This defense can often be overcome by reviewing the different burdens of proof in the two proceedings. While the government must prove a hefty burden to obtain a conviction, the victim in a sexual assault case must prove facts by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard is lower, so a failure to convict in a criminal case does not automatically mean the civil case fails.


Victim Consent

The person who attacked you might raise the defense that you indicated consent to the sexual activity through words, gestures, or actions. As evidence to support this defense, the assailant may resort to:

  • Prior communications you exchanged with the defendant via text, email, social media, or phone calls;
  • Accounts from witnesses that contradict your allegations about consent; and,
  • Any facts that could support an alibi to the accusations.

Alaska’s Statute of Limitations

There are time restrictions in civil cases, so victims must file a lawsuit in court before the deadline expires. Failure to do so bars your claim, which means your attacker has a defense based upon the statute of limitations. For adult victims, the default rule is two years from the date of the incident; if the act would be considered a felony under criminal laws, there is no time limit to initiate litigation. Note that different statutes of limitations apply when the victim is a child.

Our Alaska Sexual Assault and Abuse Lawyer are Prepared to Address Defenses

To learn more about how Power & Power Law helps with challenges, please call 907-222-9990 or go online to reach our offices in Anchorage, Alaska. We can schedule a free consultation with an attorney who can offer details about potential defenses.