If officials have accused you of a sex crime, you may face serious consequences. Whether you know you did something wrong (but you don't understand the extent or scope of your trouble), or you believe an investigation unfairly or wrongly targeted you, you're concerned, scared and confused about your next steps. In addition to facing possible jail time and fines, you will need to register as a sex offender, which may affect where you live and work. Choose an attorney experienced in sex crime defense - someone who will understand the nuances of the laws and how to construct appropriate, ethical and strategic defenses to charges like yours.
Understand Your Charges
The Bureau of Justice website defines the following types of common sex crimes:
- "Rape - Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force... Includes attempted rapes, male as well as female victims, and both heterosexual and homosexual rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape
- Sexual assault - A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender... Sexual assault also includes verbal threats.
- Crimes of Violence - Rape, sexual assault, personal robbery or assault. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. It does not include purse snatching and pocket picking."
This page summarizes the relevant laws and explains the punishments typically associated with them.
Start Looking for an Attorney Immediately
Obtain qualified representation as soon as you are aware of the allegations against you. The more time elapses after your charge and arrest, the less opportunity you will have to find and preserve potentially exonerating evidence and obtain witness statements that could aid in your defense.
Also, due to the serious nature of sex crimes, do not speak to police officers and investigators until you have talked to an attorney about the accusations. Without an advocate, you risk saying something incriminating without realizing it. Your representative can advise you regarding what to say and how to behave during investigations.
How to Find Potential Attorneys
Referrals can be a great place to start. If you or your family used a lawyer in the past, ask him or her to recommend a sex crime defense attorney. If you cannot find a referral, search online for a qualified lawyer in your area with experience, good referrals from past clients and a welcoming web presence that resonates with your values. The law firm's website should be clean, easy to understand, and make contacting the attorney easy.
Interviewing Sex Crime Attorneys
Once you have found a few possibilities, you can interview prospective attorneys over the phone via a consultation. This is your chance to ask questions about specific charges and what they mean. Consider asking questions along the lines of the following:
- What types of cases have you handled similar to mine?
- What is your success rate with sex crime cases?
- How long have you been practicing, and how much trial experience do you have?
- How many employees are on your legal team?
- What are some possibilities for my case? Are reduced charges possible?
Get an idea of the attorney's experience and confidence in sex crime cases. Avoid being cheap! If your legal representatives do not handle the case correctly, stigma may surround you for the rest of your life. Your advocate should be steadfast about protecting your rights and handle your case with compassion, discretion, and determination.
Connect with the experienced and effective sex crimes defense attorneys at Oklahoma City Law Group today to protect your rights and ensure justice in your case.