Should I Hire An Attorney If I Suspect Being Charged With A Sex Crime?
I am usually contacted because a detective or someone contacted my client, and wants to talk to them about the case. We know that now we are in it for better or worse, and you should have an attorney from the start. An attorney can determine if we think talking to the police can exonerate, and clear us of these allegations before we are charged, then that is a decision we will.
Many times police will use the method of what we call a confrontation call on sex crimes. This is where the victim will call the police, and that person they are accusing of this crime, and try to get them on a recording, and admit, or commit to certain facts. That is typically at a time where you probably do not know what is happening, and you have not had the chance to consult with an attorney.
The benefit of having an attorney in those cases is not only being able to make the decisions about what to say, and when to say it, but when we know what is happening and working with the detectives. They often will be more considered about how an arrest is actually processed. There are good chances to turn ourselves in. They may not be as harsh with the release conditions, or release recommendations, if they feel people were cooperative, and hired an attorney. If there are serious allegations, the state is going to ask that you stay in custody until a plea has been entered, or a trial has been conducted. That can be a long time with the amount of work needed.
When you are talking about cases with DNA evidence, and witnesses from five to ten years ago, then you are going to be in for a long haul. Because you only get one crack at trial, and you have to do it right. Sometimes, the pre-arranged surrenders, and things like that can be taken into consideration in determining what your release conditions for the duration of the case will be. Obviously, the serious allegations will be a huge factor in what the judge determines, but in these cases, almost more than any other case, other than maybe murder cases, it is important to retain an attorney early on in the case.
How Often Do Alleged Victims Recant Allegations Of Sex Crimes?
That is very common where victims do recant their stories. In domestic violence cases, I have a client telling me, “Hey, I know the victim. The victim has changed her mind; can we just tell the prosecution to drop it now”? I find more often than not, the prosecution proceeds based on initial statements unless the follow-up statements severely undercut the evidence as they believe it, or prove evidence that they think they have to be incorrect. Prosecutors are typically well trained in dealing with recanting victims; victims of domestic violence often recant, if it becomes more apparent that a trial is happening to get a conviction, many times the victim does not want to go through a trial.
They start to change their story in an effort to stop the process. The state is in the position of protecting the community, not just one person. So, if one victim says, “I changed my mind, I don’t want to go through this”. The state may still feel it is in the best interest of the entire community to prosecute, and they can do as much as arrest the victim, and make them testify. If they testify inconsistently with what they expect, they can be impeached with their prior statement. It is a serious crime; just having an uncooperative victim is not going to be enough for the state to say, “Okay, we’re going to dismiss the case”. You may be more likely to get a good plea deal, or they may not be able to proceed through trial if things have changed too much.
I tell every client if you are relying on the witness not showing up, or the witness is going to change his or her mind, then you do not need me, because there is nothing I can do. I can assure you that in ninety-five percent of the cases where people are hoping that will happen it will not. You need somebody that is thinking about how we are going to defend a case when they do show up, or when they do say, what we think they are going to say.
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