If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime in Florida, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions, from anger and indignation to confusion and fear. Being charged with a sex crime is a serious matter that has the potential for lifelong consequences. Along with the burden of a possibly lengthy prison sentence, a sex offense conviction will generally require hefty fines, creation of a criminal record, and registration as a sex offender. A sex offense conviction could impact everything from your life and employment to your basic civil rights and freedom of movement.
It is critical that you retain the assistance of a skilled Gainesville criminal defense attorney to defend against your sex offense charges. Your very future depends upon the representation of the best.
Important Tips for Individuals Accused of a Sex Crime
Those who have recently been accused of a sex crime are likely confused and unsure of how to proceed. To this end, we have prepared the following list of tips for the newly accused, designed to help protect your legal rights:
- Do not talk to the police without your attorney present: In the aftermath of a sex crime arrest, the police may attempt to question you, often persuading you to tell them what occurred so that the charges can be dropped. Unfortunately, whatever statements you make early on in the case, which may be influenced by the stress of being accused of the crime, will impact your case. The police do not have your best interests at heart and by questioning you, they are merely trying to bolster their case. As such, do not speak to the police without your attorney present or absent the express recommendation of your defense attorney.
- Do not speak to anyone else about the charges: Not only should you not discuss the matter with the police, it is wise not to discuss the sex crime allegations or the circumstances surrounding the charges with anyone besides your licensed Gainesville defense attorney. Police investigators will usually interview those close to you in an attempt to gather evidence against you. Accordingly, it is best not to make any statements concerning the allegations because they could hurt your case.
- Immediately retain the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney: As soon as you have been charged with a sex offense, or even when you suspect charges are coming, it is critical that you quickly retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles sex crimes. Once you have been charged, the proceedings against you will move aggressively and swiftly. Florida is notorious for being tough on sex crime offenders. By retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, you will provide yourself with the best chance at mounting a successful defense. A criminal defense attorney will start by investigating and interviewing those involved in the incident. He or she will subpoena crucial evidence and challenge any violations to your legal rights. These steps, especially when taken in the early stages of proceedings, can make the difference between dismissal of your charges, acquittal, or conviction. Do not take a gamble on your future; secure the best representation possible today.
- Educate yourself and begin preparing your defense: You should educate yourself on the charge you will face along with the possible penalties. Research all potential defense attorneys thoroughly and search for those with sex crimes experience. With your attorney’s assistance, you can begin gathering crucial documents, identifying potential witnesses who can help your defense, and preparing your testimony. Consider what experts could aid in your defense and what psychological tests, if any, could assist you. Early preparation is a vital part of a solid defense.
- Recognize the seriousness of the charges: Sometimes, individuals charged with a sex crime feel that because they are innocent, there is no possibility of conviction. Others believe the prosecution has no case, so they have no need to worry. This kind of attitude can result in conviction because it leaves you unprepared. The reality is that many innocent people are convicted of sex crimes. In fact, one study that examined old sexual assault convictions that were cleared by new DNA evidence found that between eight and 15 percent of all convicted offenders were innocent. Further, there is no way for you to accurately predict the strength of the prosecution’s case. You do not know what witnesses could be allowed in last minute, whose testimony might have much impact, and what evidence could be overturned. A sex offense is a serious matter that should never be taken lightly, and accepting this will help you to mount your strongest possible defense.
Possible Defenses Against Florida Sex Crime Charges
Your exact defense will depend largely on the crime charged and the individual circumstances surrounding it. The following is a list of a few common defenses against sex charges:
- Challenge the evidence: Challenges to the state’s evidence can include attempting to suppress the evidence because it was wrongfully obtained or contaminated, or the hiring of outside experts to examine the evidence. Challenges to physical evidence can prove crucial to your defense because often police officers fail to follow the stringent rules for collection and preservation of evidence, requiring its suppression. Your experienced defense attorney will know what challenges to make in a motion to suppress evidence.
- Reveal the accuser’s ulterior motive: One possible defense against a sex charge involves uncovering the ulterior illicit motivation behind the accuser’s claims. This could be an attempt to cover up guilt after consensual sex, a divorce or custody dispute matter, a failed relationship, and more. With the assistance of your defense attorney, you could develop a strong defense along these lines.
- Expose tainted testimony: This defense is particularly suited to child abuse allegations. Children are highly susceptible to suggestive interviewing, and a child’s testimony can easily become tainted by this corrosive type of interviewing. A skilled criminal defense attorney will uncover potential unreliable testimony and seek to have it excluded.
Conviction for a sex crime can seriously impact your life and future. You need an attorney who will aggressively defend you against this devastating charge. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Gainesville Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys, call our law office today.