Let's review the most common mistakes people make when they are being charged with California Penal Code 261.5 PC statutory rape, commonly known as having sex with an underage person. As most people know, the age of consent in California is 18.
So, if you or a loved one is charged with having sex with somebody under the age of 18, you need to get an attorney right away, and you want to make sure you don't do or say anything that puts you in a worse position. That's the point of this article.
First, when the police find out that someone has allegedly had sex with someone underage, they're going to start gathering information to make sure they can convict that person and hand a case to the prosecutors that's easy to prove.
Talk to Alleged Victim
The first thing they're going to try to get is some statement from you acknowledging that you had sex with somebody under the age of 18.
They'll turn that over to the prosecutors and have a crucial piece of evidence they need to put you in jail for a long time. So, the first thing you want to do is not talk to anybody about the case. That includes the alleged victim or any of their family members.
Pretext Phone Call
A lot of times, what the police do is what is called a pretext phone call where they have the alleged victim, or one of their family members contact the person being accused either by text message or just call them over the phone.
They tape-record the conversation. They give the person who's making the phone call questions to ask that will incriminate the individual who is being accused of having sex with the underage person. Now, they have a tape recording, which they are allowed to do when pursuing an investigation of the person either apologizing or admitting everything on the recording. They now have their cornerstone piece of evidence to convict that particular person.
So, standard mistake number one of what not to do is talking to the alleged victim over the phone about the crime, or their family, or anybody else for that matter.
Talk to the Police
That brings up typical mistake number two: trying to explain your way out of it by talking to the police.
Do not talk to the police about any situation where you're being investigated for a crime. In the last 30 years of defending people, I have rarely seen a position where somebody can talk their way out of being investigated and potentially prosecuted.
Unfortunately, the police are not looking to help people. They are not in the middle trying to see whether the case has been filed against you. They are on the extreme right, trying to prove that you're guilty and don't care about any facts or details that might help you.
That's where your criminal defense attorney comes in. So, don't talk to the police. Don't make that common mistake and put yourself in a worse position.
I can't tell you how often people talk to the police. The police claim they said one thing. They said they didn't say that, but I have a case where that information is being used against the defendant. If you didn't talk to the police, you wouldn't be in that position.
Not Hiring a Lawyer
Also, I would say another mistake people make is trying to fix things and handle things themselves instead of getting an attorney involved immediately. Don't just wait and see what happens.
Don't try to fix things yourself. Get someone like me involved. I've been doing this for over 30 years. I've handled numerous cases similar to yours. I'll have you come in. We'll go over all of the facts and details. I'll encourage you to be honest with me. Then, once we see what we're up against, we'll assemble a game plan that makes sense for you to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation.
If you need the best, put my experience to work for you. I've worked for the district attorney's office. I've worked for a superior court judge, and in the early 1990's, I began defending people like you. Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case evaluation.