Rape is the crime of forcing one person to submit to or perform sexual acts against his or her will. As in most criminal cases in Louisiana, defendants in rape cases are likely to claim innocence. However, when innocence is not a viable defense, the defendant may use one of several other defense options.
According to FindLaw, actual innocence is the most common defense to rape. For this defense to work, the defendant must establish one of two things: an alibi or misidentification. If the accused can prove that he or she was elsewhere at the time of the crime, the courts may dismiss the charges. Likewise, if the accused can provide DNA evidence that establishes another person as the offender, the courts may grant a not-guilty verdict.
Another defense the defendant may use is consent. For a sexual assault charge to hold up in court, the plaintiff must prove that the sexual behavior occurred against his or her will. Thus, if the defendant can prove that the plaintiff consented to the sexual conduct, the courts will have no choice but to drop the charges. Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to prove consent, especially if the alleged victim is a minor, mentally challenged or incapacitated in some way.
A defendant may also claim mental insanity at the time of the crime. If he or she can prove that a mental disease or defect prevented him or her from understanding the criminal nature of his or her actions, it may remove criminal liability for the behavior.
USLegal explores a few other defense options as well as explains defenses that are unlikely to hold up in court. Entrapment may work as a defense if the accused can show that another person induced him or her commit a crime he or she would otherwise not have committed. If the courts already convicted an individual of an attempt to commit rape, or if the courts acquitted a person for the charge of assault with intent to commit rape, the law bars the prosecution from pursuing further action. This is due to the concept of double jeopardy.
Furthermore, if the accused can prove that he or she is impotent and therefore unable to commit the crime of rape, the courts may drop the charges. However, impotency is unlikely to hold up for any person over the age of 14, as the courts presume that anyone over the age of 14 is capable of committing the crime of rape.
The courts do not consider voluntary intoxication a viable defense to rape. The law also no longer provides immunization to husbands who rape their wives.