What Are My Rights After I Have Been Arrested For A Sex Crime?
Without a doubt, get a lawyer. If you know the arrest is coming, get the lawyer before the arrest. Many of these cases are quite defensible until the defendant is isolated by the police, who will tell him he is a good guy who needs some help (and they imply that they will get him the help). Then the defendant confesses, and what was a defensible case is now much more challenging. A confession greatly reduces the chances of success at trial, and greatly increase the sentence of any plea offers.
But even if one does not confess the statement will rarely (almost never) help us. A false alibi is almost as bad as a confession. Even an honest mistake in the statement one gives to the police will be used by the prosecutor as evidence that the accused is trying to hide something.
Get the lawyer. Do not speak to the police. These two very simple pieces of advice will be the most important pieces of advice I can give. When they say you have the right to remain silent, use that right. When they say you have the right to a lawyer, use that right.
Should Someone Hire An Attorney Immediately If They Suspect They Are Being Investigated For A Sex Crime?
The clients who have hired me before the police arrest them have far more favorable outcomes than the clients who hire me after the police arrest them. I am not any smarter because the client hired me before his arrest. I am able to achieve better outcomes because I can prevent the police from questioning my client when the client hires me before the arrest.
This may not stop a case from proceeding forward. The police may have sufficient evidence without a confession to move forward with charges. But when the police obtain the defendant’s statement before arrest, they will have an even better case against the client. When the police have a better case, we have a more difficult case.
How Often Do The Alleged Victims Recant Allegations Of A Sex Offense Being Committed?
It is difficult to know how many times a “victim” decides not to press charges despite the existence of a sex crime. Until someone files the charges, we simply do not know whether anyone even committed a crime.
But there definitely are times when someone files charges and the “victim” chooses not to pursue the matter. It is crucial that the defense has nothing to do with this decision. Otherwise, the client risks exposure to additional charges, such as witness tampering.
But if the “victim” chooses not to pursue the case, he or she can explain one’s reasoning to the prosecutor who may agree and therefore drop the matter. The prosecutor can also choose to pursue the matter without the cooperation of the “victim.” The prosecutor may be able to prove the case without the victim’s testimony (for example, the defendant’s DNA may have been found inside the under-aged victim’s vagina) or the prosecutor may choose to subpoena (and maybe even obtain a material witness order) the victim to compel testimony against her will.
What Defense Strategies Can Be Used In Defending Against Sex Crime Charges?
Every case is different, and the defense strategies will vary depending upon the facts and the crimes charged. For example, the sexual encounter was consensual makes perfect sense in a date rape case. It does not make sense when the victim is under age.
Misidentification makes sense when the defendant’s DNA is not on the victim. But if the defendant’s seminal fluid is inside the victim’s vagina, a misidentification defense will be very difficult to sell to a jury.
The insanity defense is difficult with sex crimes. But in the right case, with an extensive psychiatric history, it may work.
While I have never tried it, I have seen cases where the age of either the defendant or the victim is contested. These usually occur when a party was born in another country where accurate record keeping is not the norm.
Sometimes one can explain the defendant’s DNA on a victim in unusual (but possibly true) ways. Another lawyer I know explained the defendant’s DNA found on chest of the under aged and mentally incapacitated victim by a sneeze. Before anyone concludes this is not believable, the jury acquitted.
The point is that we have to study the facts of the case to see what the evidence will allow us to argue. In human affairs, the unusual is sometimes the truth.
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