Charged With a Sex Crime: Dos and Don'ts to Follow
Being charged with a sex crime of any kind is an undoubtedly stressful event. If it feels like your world is being turned upside down, you're certainly not alone. In the state of Ohio, 1.9 million people have criminal records -- with millions more individuals being charged and even convicted nationwide.
But while sex crime charges may be more common than you think, they still need to be taken seriously. These cases need to be handled with extreme care, but it can be difficult to even know which steps to take once you're accused of a sex offense. If you've been charged with a sex crime, you'll want to refer to this list of dos and don'ts to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
- Gather Evidence: While law enforcement may be in charge of gathering evidence for the prosecution, you'll likely want to take an active role in your own defense. That may mean gathering pertinent physical evidence, including articles of clothing, photos and video, emails, text message communications, GPS and computer records, and more. The more you gather and preserve early on, the better off you'll be. This evidence may help to prove that you've been falsely accused of a crime.
- Hire a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney: It's not typically recommended that you represent yourself in criminal cases, but this is certainly true if you're facing sex crime charges. These cases can be notoriously complex. And while the burden of proof falls on the prosecution rather than on the defense, you'll still want to have an experienced sex crimes defense attorney by your side. You won't want to take unnecessary risks when facing these kinds of charges, so make sure to hire a lawyer who can provide excellent counsel.
- Contact the Victim: If you've been falsely accused of a crime, your instinct may be to get in touch with your accuser to smooth things over. This is never a good idea. You might think that you'll clear things up by talking to this individual, but you'll only end up hurting yourself in the process. Do not give your accuser any more ammunition that could be potentially used against you in court. It may feel wrong, but you should let your attorney handle all communications. Remind yourself that this is not an admission of guilt; it's merely the best measure to protect yourself moving forward.
- Be Too Accommodating: Of course, you'll want to cooperate with law enforcement once you're arrested. However, you shouldn't necessarily bend over backward to accommodate their requests. For example, you should not speak to law enforcement without your attorney present, nor should you submit to any kind of voluntary testing without your lawyer's seal of approval. Even if you believe that talking to police or volunteering a DNA sample will clear your name, you can end up getting yourself into deeper trouble if you're too eager to provide what they're after.
With these dos and don'ts in mind -- and some valuable help from your sex crimes defense attorney -- you'll be in a better position to defend yourself against these charges. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact our offices today.