An allegation of a sex offense has long-lasting effects, while convictions unbelievably alter the course of someone’s life. These are frightening possibilities to face. The investigation into sex offenses is very detailed. Here’s what to know about these inquiries:
- The investigation, what happens, and who is involved in the process;
- How to handle the investigation, what to do when police start asking questions; And
- Protect your legal rights, hire an outstanding defense attorney to secure your best outcome
The Sex Offense Investigation
Like any other investigation into a crime, it starts with a report. That report may begin with the hospital where a victim gets treated or with police when a victim calls to report a sexual assault or violation.
If the victim goes to the hospital seeking treatment, the nurses and doctors will perform evidence collection and a rape kit to gather and preserve evidence of the alleged crime. They then contact the police, and a detective talks to the victim, witnesses, and the alleged offender.
When a victim goes to the police first to make a report, they begin by talking to the victim and gathering any evidence. Following the evidence collection, the detective will speak with the accused and witnesses.
The law enforcement officers assigned to sex offense investigations come from a specialized unit trained and dedicated to these cases. (You’ve probably seen Law & Order: SVU – Special Victims Unit, whose premise is following sex-based crimes; that’s an actual division in police forces.) Like many other states, Maryland takes great care and diligence in sex offense investigations and dedicates whole divisions to sex crimes.
Also, analyzing the evidence collected is doctors and forensic experts to figure out if the evidence backs up the claims and is enough to prosecute. If law enforcement believes they have the evidence needed to prove their case, they then send the details to the local district attorney to consider prosecution.
It is widespread for police to complete a full investigation before arresting for a sex offense case. Our state intensely investigates sex offenses because these cases are tough to prove without corroborating evidence. Once arrested, law enforcement and prosecutors usually have a lot of information and evidence to confront the accused.
What to Do If Under Investigation for a Sex Offense
Law enforcement conducts detailed investigations into sex offense claims and arrests made afterward. The accused may think it is ok to talk to the police and tell them their side of the story because they don’t realize they are under investigation.
If you believe that police are looking at you as a suspect in a sex offense-related case, there are some things to know to safeguard your well-being.
First and foremost, exercise your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights – remain silent and hire an attorney. Innocent or guilty, you should never talk to the police without an attorney present. Protecting your right not to self-incriminate is an intelligent move. Because when police talk to you, they are trying to build a case against you. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you in court.
Next, gather witnesses and evidence disputing the allegations. Having an alibi and evidence backing that up goes a long way in showing you didn’t do it. Evidence like receipts, social media postings, texts, or phone calls. Anything that can show innocence or that you were not where the alleged crime occurred needs collecting.
Thirdly, do not voluntarily allow any searches or testing. You have a right to protect yourself from illegal search and seizure, so unless the police have a warrant to collect or search, don’t give them anything. Just say no to DNA collection, warrantless searches, or handing over any documentation.
Finally, avoid any contact with the victim or witnesses. Contact can be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate or interfere with a witness. Law enforcement may also see communication to “make up” a story to avoid suspicion or charges. Still, the victim or witness may try to confront the accused to elicit a confession or apology to use against you.
You Need an Exceptional Defense Attorney to Protect Your Rights
A lawyer knows the law, but a criminal defense attorney specializing in defending against sex offense allegations knows the intricacies of a sex offense case and how to protect your rights, answer questions, and communicate with law enforcement on your behalf.
You are innocent until proven guilty, but police are looking to prove your guilt, not your innocence, so they will use tactics to get the information they need to prosecute. A criminal defense attorney ensures you only say what you need to and nothing police can use against you.
I, James Crawford, Jr., Esq., founder of The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC, am an expert in defending sexual offenses. I have protected Marylanders’ rights since 1992, with a superb track record in these cases, and am recognized as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Maryland.
If Maryland treats sex offense cases with seriousness, you need an outstanding defense attorney to get you the best outcome. My team and I will defend your rights with the highest level of excellence. Don’t settle for just a lawyer; hire the best for incomparable service, strategy, knowledge, and results in your case. Call The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC today for a free initial consultation and see the lengths we will go to defend you.