Key Steps To Take After a Sex Crime Accusation
Sex crimes can be incredibly difficult for the legal system to handle. For one thing, they are very emotionally charged and often come down to two sides claiming different things. It is often difficult to collect evidence in sex crimes, as they can be reported some time after the initial crime was alleged to have occurred. Furthermore, both sides can genuinely believe what they are claiming, due to the fact that alleged sex crimes can sometimes occur under the influence of substances like alcohol, during which both parties may be unable to fully consent to sexual activities.
Ultimately, however, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it's important that when someone is accused of a sex crime, that individual receives the proper legal representation. This is why sex crimes defense attorneys are available. Keep in mind that though sex crime charges may seem difficult to navigate or defend, it is very much possible. Furthermore, not all sex crimes that people are accused of are necessarily the severe crimes that many think of. Though over 70 million people have criminal records as of June 2015, that doesn't mean they're all of the same severity. Keep in mind that an 18-year-old having a consensual relationship with a 15-year-old can be a criminal act in some states. With that being said, let's look into what you should do if you're charged with a sex crime.
1. Call An Attorney
Ideally, you should call a sex crimes defense attorney as soon as it becomes possible that you may be charged with a sex crime. You need to have an attorney representing your interests immediately, even if you're worried that hiring an attorney will make you look guilty. This is something that the police may bring up, but it doesn't hold any legal weight. Police and prosecutors are aware that people have the right to an attorney, so regardless of the pressure that they attempt to exert when interrogating you, you will not hurt your case if you reach out to a lawyer. Working with an attorney will only better your chances of being found not guilty, and the sooner they can work on your case, the better.
2. Don't Talk To The Authorities
Don't give a statement of any kind before speaking with a sex crimes defense attorney. One of the worst things that you can do, whether or not you've been arrested, is talk to the authorities without legal counsel. This is true of any crime, but particularly for sex crimes, where what you say can certainly be used against you after you've been arrested and read your Miranda rights, but could potentially be used by the police to interrogate you further or get you to admit something otherwise.
3. Gather And Preserve Evidence
Often, by the time you've been charged with a sex crime it can be too late to gather and preserve evidence. Preserving evidence is incredibly important if you've been charged with a sex crime, and a good sex crime defense attorney will tell you to do so if you can immediately. Evidence would include the clothes you were wearing at the time of the alleged incident, as well as photos, videos, and any objects associated with the incident.
4. Preserve All Documentation
If there is any kind of documentation surrounding the crime that could back your guilt or innocence, you need to collect that as well. This would include emails, phone records, and letters that would potentially show your location at the time of the incident. Your sex crimes defense attorney can use this kind of evidence to help build your case, so even if something is difficult for you to obtain, like GPS records, you should make the effort to do so.
5. Gather Witnesses
This is key. Make sure that you gather as many people who can vouch for your presence at the time that the alleged incident occurred, if possible. For that matter, you should see if you can get witnesses that weren't there to testify to your character.
This is a difficult charge to fight, but remember, you do have options.