Sex crimes, like sexual assault and rape, are complex charges with severe penalties upon conviction. Even accusations can cause damage to all aspects of a person’s life and reputation, whether the person is convicted of the charges or not. The most important thing to do when facing sex crime charges is to remain calm, understand your rights, and remember what to do to protect your case.
Following are some of the most common mistakes people make when accused or being investigated for a Bowie or Crofton sex crime. It is always prudent and wise to contact an attorney, even if you have not yet been arrested. Keep the following in mind so you do not harm your case:
Do not ignore what’s happening
The worst possible thing you can do is ignore what is going on – even if you are completely innocent. False allegations of sexual assault or misconduct do not mean they will go away. You must take action early and swiftly in order to legally protect yourself. Without a criminal defense attorney on your side, you risk charges and conviction. This can lead to anything from probation to jail time to fines to mandatory registration on the Maryland sex offender list. These consequences can potentially last for the rest of your life.
This also means showing up, on time, for every meeting, hearing, court date, and phone call. It is crucial to be on your best behavior for the court.
Do not speak to authorities without a lawyer
Especially when they have never dealt with the police before, many people believe authorities are on their side if they cooperate with an investigation. Detectives may pressure you into thinking that if you do not cooperate or speak to them at that moment, you will appear guilty. This is not true, and even if you believe that telling your side of the story will exonerate you, do not do so without an attorney.
Anything, no matter how harmless it may seem to you, can (and likely will) be used against you as evidence. If the police want to ask you questions or for a statement, invoke your right to remain silent and only speak with them in the presence of your lawyer.
Do not contact your accuser
You may feel you want to set the record straight, or even try to talk your accuser out of pressing charges. This is a terrible idea. Even if your accuser reaches out to you, do not engage in any sort of communication. Always remember that any conversation – whether voice, text, video, or email – can be and likely will be recorded and may be entered as evidence in a trial. Forward any attempt at correspondence directly to your attorney instead.
The same goes for any witnesses or potential witnesses. Witness tampering is a real issue, so refrain from attempting to try to reach out to anyone involved. If anyone reaches out to you, also direct them to your attorney.
Do not discuss the situation on social media
It is completely understandable that you feel overwhelmed, upset, and alone. However, reaching out for support or to let off steam on social media is highly, highly discouraged. You can only make matters worse, and inadvertently provide evidence to your accuser or the prosecution. Keep every and any mention of a criminal investigation or proceedings off social media – you can run the risk of ruining your case or potentially making the situation worse.
Remember, you will have your chance to tell your story. Our legal team may recommend you disable your social media accounts during this time, depending on the circumstances.
Do not allow a search of your premises without a warrant
If you are being investigated for a criminal offense like a sex crime, the police may want to search your home. Authorities may not search your home without your consent or without a warrant. You have this protection under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Do not give police consent to search your premises, even if you feel you have nothing to hide. If authorities are asking to search your home and do not have a warrant, request one and contact an attorney.
Do not hire an inexperienced attorney
When facing serious criminal charges like sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, ensure you work with an attorney experienced in criminal defense. This is not the time to work with someone without a familiarity with the local court system, local judges, and how the Maryland criminal justice system works. You need a lawyer on your side who knows how to protect your legal rights, put you at ease, and conduct a professional investigation into your case – all leading to a strategic defense to fight the accusations against you.
Although it is true you can work with a public defender, a skilled sex crimes defense attorney can focus on you personally instead of a massive caseload of clients.
At Carey Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys are here to protect your legal rights. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for a sex crime, get in touch with us as soon as possible. We can start building your case and help put your mind at ease.
With offices located in Bowie, Crofton, and Owings, our attorney is always available. Call us at 301-464-2500 or use our contact page to set up a consultation today. Serving clients throughout Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More