Our client—the best man at his brother’s wedding—was charged with sexual assault after sleeping with a bridesmaid, whom he had met and flirted with a few days prior. After the wedding ceremony, the two of them went out with others from the wedding party and, later that night, got a room together at a local motel. The two had sex in the hotel room – both were married – and our client left early the next morning before the alleged victim woke up. After she woke up alone and hungover at the motel, she immediately assumed she had been too drunk to consent, and made a complaint for sexual assault. To make matters worse, our client sent a long series of incriminating text messages to the alleged victim apologizing for his behavior while they were both intoxicated. The case took nearly a year to get to trial. We fought the charges in front of a jury putting on a case of consent/mistake of fact as to consent. The central issue came down to the alleged victim’s ability to consent given her level of intoxication. The jury appeared to struggle with the issue as well and acquitted our client of the serious sexual assault charges but convicted him of lesser included offenses. At the sentencing hearing, our client was only sentenced to the mandatory minimum dishonorable discharge and no confinement.
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