Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Virginians Accused Of Sex Crimes
If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime in Virginia, you may not know where to begin or what to expect. The criminal attorneys of Lawyer Up Virginia have years of experience defending the rights of those who have been charged with sex crimes, such as aggravated sexual battery, indecent exposure, rape and possessing child pornography. The penalties for sex crime convictions in Virginia vary but may involve heavy jail time, fines and a permanent spot on the sex offender registry.
I’m Under Investigation For A Sex Crime In Virginia – Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you’ve been accused of any kind of sexual assault, you’re probably in a tailspin right now. It feels like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks, and you’re in a panic about how to defend yourself. It is precisely at this time that you need to consult with an attorney about what you’re facing, what comes next, and how to protect yourself and build a defense that could save your liberty and livelihood.
What To Do If You’re Charged With A Sex Crime
The following can help you defend yourself:
- Seeking legal counsel: Sex crime charges are some of the most serious you can face. Handling them alone can significantly decrease your chances of seeking the outcome you want. The right attorney can help you craft a compelling defense strategy to fight these charges.
- Remaining silent: It’s in your best interest to keep these accusations to yourself. Talking about the case with others or posting about it online can create additional problems for you in the future.
- Gathering supporting evidence: Sex crime charges can be steep, and the consequences that can come with them can be life-ruining. Preparing or gathering supporting evidence can help you tell your side of the story and hopefully shed your case in a different light.
While doing the right things won’t always guarantee the outcome you want, doing the wrong things can certainly hurt you in your case.
What Not To Do If You’re Charged With A Sex Crime
Doing the following could hurt your case:
- Using social media: Whether you are posting about the details of your accusation, continuing to engage in direct messaging conversations, or actively liking content on your news page or reels, prosecutors could use all this as evidence against you.
- Straightening things out with police: Talking to or reasoning with police won’t work in these circumstances. If you talk to police after learning about the charges, courts may perceive your actions as trying to persuade them before your trial.
- Talking to the alleged victim: Like speaking with the police, courts may also see trying to talk with the alleged victim as an attempt to tip the scale in your favor, no matter your intentions.
These mistakes can be harmful and hurt your case. However, you can easily avoid them when you work with experienced sex crime attorneys.
What Do I Do First?
The best thing to do is to remain silent! Your first instinct might be to launch into a lengthy defense of yourself to friends and family, to try and smooth things over and calm everybody down, but that could quickly turn against you. You know how police advise people that “you have the right to remain silent and everything you say can and will be used against you?” They’re not kidding! Everything you say will be used against you, whether it’s to a police officer, a friend or a family member. A prosecutor who believes you are guilty will twist every single statement you make into some signal of guilt. Maybe you defend yourself too vigorously, or maybe you supply details that “only a guilty person would know.” If you make an apology to somebody just to try and calm them down, that will be used as evidence of a guilty conscience. If you misremember something, when it’s later proven to be untrue, you’ll be made out to be a liar. You have the right to remain silent – use it!
But I’m Innocent, Don’t Innocent People Have Nothing To Hide?
It is particularly important to remain silent if you are innocent. Our Founding Fathers and drafters of the Constitution made sure that we have the right to remain silent so that the innocent are protected from the government’s overwhelming power. There are hundreds of documented cases of individuals being falsely convicted based solely on their statements and likely thousands more instances that are undocumented. Michael Morton spent 24 years in prison for murdering his wife because he had told investigators they had an argument the day before, until DNA evidence later proved he didn’t do it. Four United States Navy enlisted men in Norfolk, Virginia, known as the “Norfolk Four,” confessed to killing a woman who lived in their building until DNA evidence later proved they didn’t do it. But DNA evidence isn’t available in every case to prove that a person didn’t commit a crime, so it is important that you not give the police any more evidence to use against you than they might already have.
Is The Police Officer Going To Arrest Me If I Don’t Talk To Them?
If you don’t speak with the police they may arrest you; however, what’s most important to remember is that you can’t talk yourself out of an arrest; you can only talk yourself into one. If the police officer is planning to arrest you, then he or she will do that no matter what, and talking to them is not going to change their mind. You will only put yourself in a position to hurt yourself. Rather than talk to the police, you should immediately ask to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
Why Do People Make False Confessions?
There are a number of reasons why a person might make a false confession, but mostly because police interview tactics are designed to get a person to confess. Police officers might tell you that their tactics are designed to only get guilty people to confess, but these officers very rarely use the techniques correctly. Sometimes they don’t even try to use the techniques correctly because they are so eager to get a “confession.” If you’ve been contacted by a police officer, don’t talk to them alone. If you’ve already talked to a police officer, then it’s important that you hire a Fairfax criminal defense attorney to represent you who is familiar with these police interview techniques, who knows their strengths and weaknesses, and how to attack a false confession in court. Just because a person has “confessed” does not mean that all hope is lost!
Sex Crimes And The Internet
In general, social media and the internet can complicate sex crime accusations, as authorities and prosecutors may look at your online activity to determine your behavior. Prosecutors may use your direct messages, likes, comments, posts and other online activities to build a case against you.
How Can An Attorney Help In A Virginia Sex Case?
If you’ve been contacted by a police officer, immediately tell them that you will not talk to them without a lawyer. You must be very clear on this, so you can even keep it simple by saying simply, “I want a lawyer.” This cannot be used against you and does not mean that you’re guilty. All it means is that you don’t want to be tricked by somebody who wants to put you in jail. The police officer might try to calm you down and make it seem like they have nothing against you, that they “just want to clear some things up,” or that they “just want your side of the story.” If the officer is truly just looking for information, then a lawyer can help relay that information to the police officer. However, almost all of the time, the police officer thinks that you’ve done something wrong and wants you to admit doing part or all of what they think you did.
If you haven’t talked to the police officer yet, then an attorney will take all of the pressure off of you. The police officer can’t try to talk to you if you have an attorney. If the police officer is truly just looking for information, then the attorney can help give that information to the police officer. If the police officer doesn’t have enough evidence to arrest you, then the attorney will be able to figure that out from the police officer. If the police do have enough evidence to make an arrest, then the attorney can work with the police officer to make sure that you’re not dragged out of the house in the middle of the night. Hiring an attorney right away also boosts your chances of getting a bond quickly so that you don’t have to spend an extended period of time in jail. The four most important words to remember when a police officer tries to talk to you are “I WANT A LAWYER!”
At Robinson Law, PLLC, we aggressively defend clients facing all types of sex crimes, including:
- Statutory rape
- Possession, distribution and manufacturing of child pornography
- Indecent liberties
- Sexual battery
- Child sex crimes
- Indecent exposure
- Child pornography
- Sex trafficking
We also handle cases in both state and federal courts. So, regardless of the nature of the allegations you face, the court where you were charged or the evidence in the prosecution’s file, Robinson Law, PLLC, can help develop a compelling defense to the charges you face.
Are You Charged With A Virginia Sex Crime?
If you have recently been charged with a sex crime in Virginia state court or federal court, the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC, are here to help. We are immediately available to meet with you to begin working on a strong defense that will ensure your arrest has as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online form.