IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A SEX CRIME, HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In today's world, sex crimes seem to be rampant. The reality is that they've been happening all along, but now, we're much less willing as a society to overlook these sex offenses. Although the #MeToo movement has been responsible for bringing guilty parties to justice in one form or another, there may be a downside to that. It's possible that someone may be unfairly accused and -- with help from news outlets and social media -- be tried in the court of public opinion well before they ever get to argue their case in front of a judge.Even if you're a law-abiding citizen, you could find yourself accused of a variety of sex crimes. Whether or not you are actually innocent of these charges, you should understand the following points.
The criminal charges may be the least of your worriesOf course, being charged with a sex crime is incredibly serious. But monetary fines and potential jail time may not actually be your worst punishment. Whether you're convicted or not, you could face lifelong difficulties as a result of these accusations. The stigma of being a sex offender -- or even of being accused of such a crime -- may impact your entire life. Ohio residents who have criminal records face nearly 900 barriers (known as collateral sanctions) that restrict their housing, employment, family involvement, and countless other rights and privileges. Although a potential sentence may be the scariest part for you right now, you can't lose sight of the other possible consequences and how colossal an impact they'll have on your future.
Your innocence might not matterIn terms of possible outcomes, you could face major ramifications -- even if you're totally innocent of these sex crimes. A lot of people assume that their innocence will prevail and that no judge or jury could ever convict them if they aren't actually guilty. But the truth is that there are many people in jail right now who may not have committed the crimes they were charged with. Keep in mind that having no prior convictions or criminal history may matter a lot when fighting a DUI or in a number of other low-level crimes. But all it really takes is one accusation to derail your entire existence. Even if you aren't actually convicted of a sex crime, the news coverage could still haunt you for a long time. For better or for worse, the internet is forever; whether your record is expunged or not, you may have to defend yourself outside of the legal system for the rest of your life.
The cops will not help youPolice officers may try to make you believe that speaking to them without a criminal defense attorney present will allow you clear up this misunderstanding more quickly. Don't fall for these tactics. The only way to ensure your rights are protected is to secure legal services right away and refrain from talking to the police. In this situation, the only person you should really trust is your lawyer. This is why you literally cannot afford to not have legal help throughout this process. If you make one wrong move or confide in the wrong person, you could seal your fate as a registered sex offender -- whether you actually knowingly committed a crime or not.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, these facts might scare you. But it's our hope that these realities will show you how important it is to have legal representation when facing allegations of sex crimes. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.