Did you know that only 310 of every 1,000 sex crimes are reported to the authorities? That means victims seldom achieve justice since north of two in three sexual assaults go unreported.
Many sexual assault victims choose not to go to the police due to fear of retaliation, the belief that the police won’t do anything about the crime, the desire to keep the perpetrator from getting into trouble, or a belief that there is nothing the authorities can do to rectify the matter.
Sexual assault is one criminal offense no one wants on their record — especially if the charges are false. If unfairly charged with a sexual assault offense, you’ll want to know your options. Being charged and convicted of such a crime can be a game-changer in many respects. You’ll want a reputable criminal defense attorney in your corner to help achieve a good outcome.
Keep reading for a look at three things to keep in mind if charged with a sex crime.
1. Exercise Right to Remain Silent
Being arrested, put into the back of a police cruiser, and driven to a police station for questioning counts as a nightmare scenario for most people. But if your worst nightmare becomes a reality, don’t allow that pressure cooker situation to get you into more trouble than you’re already in.
It’s well-known that you have the legally protected right to remain silent. In the heat of the moment, you might feel like doing anything but remaining silent. That’s all the more true if you know you’re not guilty of any criminal offense charges. But that’s the time to hold your peace and refrain from saying anything beyond what you’re legally required to. For instance, you should give your name, show your driver’s license, and provide proof of car insurance.
But that’s as far as you should go. Anything you say to the police can, and likely will, be used against you in court. So, after providing any information required by law, respectfully invoke your right to remain silent until you’ve retained a lawyer.
2. Retain the Services of a Lawyer
After exercising your right to remain silent, hire a criminal defense lawyer. And, yes, you need one even if the allegations against you are as fake as a three-dollar bill. While the police will want to interrogate you, refuse the request until you hire a lawyer. Your criminal defense lawyer should be with you during the interrogation so they can advise you about what questions to answer or skip. Hiring a lawyer is not a sign of guilt. It shows you understand the stakes and need help from a lawyer who can inform you, answer your questions, and represent you in court.
Your lawyer will develop a strategy and build you a strong case. It’s your lawyer’s responsibility to ensure your legal rights are respected and not violated.
3. Don’t Reach Out to the Victim or Any Witnesses
Something you must never do is contact the victim or alleged victim. Even if you’ve been falsely accused or believe there was a misunderstanding, don’t try to communicate with the person responsible for your sexual crime charges. The same thing applies to witnesses. You don’t want to be accused of intimidating or threatening your accuser or witnesses. Ignoring this requirement could have negative legal ramifications and jeopardize your case.
It goes without saying that no one wants to face criminal charges — let alone for a sexual crime offense. But if you ever face such serious charges, your best bet is to retain the services of a reputable lawyer experienced in helping people fighting such cases. Doing so will give you a fighting chance to get a fair trial and, hopefully, a desirable outcome.