How Quick Should You Hire A Sex Crime Defense Attorney If You Believe You're Being Investigated?
Of course, when attorneys talk about this, they're always talking from the perspective that you should hire your attorney right away, because they want to be hired right away.
So, if you call any attorney or if you talk to their staff over the phone, I think you're going to see that they're going to be pretty adamant that you should get a lawyer right away, and of course, that inures to their benefit, because if you hire them they are going to get retained on the case, make money and deal with the case.
I think a lot of times people are skeptical because of that reason and sometimes they feel like the attorneys are really trying to put the hard core press on them to get their business versus really evaluating what needs to be done and whether they really need an attorney at this point.
Potential Registration as a Sex Offender for Life
What I can say to you is regardless of the fact that attorneys are always anxious to get somebody in there, you should hire an attorney right away for the following reasons:
Because there's so much on the line. When you are potentially facing the prospect of having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life — depending on what sex crime you're actually charged with — being on Megan's Law, not being able to go within 100 yards of a park and other ramifications — obviously, why would you take any risk whatsoever.
I think at minimum, you should get a consultation with an attorney if you feel that you might be charged with a sex crime or you're being investigated for a sex crime or someone's made an allegation against you. A lot of times you could hire that attorney pre-filing, so the fee is not as much than if you had a case actually pending.
That way, you won't make any stupid moves, your attorney can act as a buffer between you and the police trying to come and talk to you at work, call you over the phone, send you a letter — there's all types of different ways that the police try to reach out to the defendant in a sex crime case to try to get them to say something that might incriminate themselves.
Unfair Criminal Investigation by Law Enforcement
That's the sad thing that I see in most — not all — but I'd say 95% of these sex crime investigations — the police are just so focused on getting evidence against a person and getting a conviction against a person before they even have all of the details.
That's sad to me because sometimes people make up allegations against defendants in criminal case, and for the police only to have an eye towards getting somebody, really short-changes the investigation and it's not fair to the defendant.
But that's where you've got to have an attorney there to try to swing the balance back in your favor. So, they don't have you make some statement where they're trying to claim that it's an admission of guilt when it really isn't.
They've twisted what you've said in some way so that they're trying to take advantage of the fact that they got you to make a statement versus at really looking at what you said and comparing it to the evidence that's available.
That's definitely one reason to have an attorney right away in a sex crime investigation so the attorney can act as a buffer between you and the police.
Developing a Game Plan Before Charges are Filed
Also, knowing what's coming down the pike and having a game plan ready to deal with it is crucial in these sex crime cases, and I say even before the charges are filed, if possible — a lot of times there's just no choice because the charges end up getting filed and you end up getting arrested and there's really not much you can do about that.
So, you're in a position where you immediately have to hire an attorney and defend yourself. But sometimes charges haven't been filed yet and I've been successful in either not helping the police with the investigation so no charges end up getting filed, or actually doing some investigation myself — talking to the police myself after having talked to the defendant — and convincing the police that this case is not worth it.
In today's society, you're really not necessarily convincing the police — although you might be able to do that and then when they go to the prosecutors they're going to convince the prosecutors because the prosecutors ask them questions in these sex crime cases.
If a defense attorney is taking to the police and given them the defendant's version of events that's a good defense, the police are going to pass that along to the prosecutors.
Negotiation with Prosecutors
I've seen in the police reports, we spoke to attorney Ron Hedding and he said the following. Now the prosecutor sees it, they say I see what these guys are going to claim. Can we counter that defense or not? If you can't or they can't, then you're in a good position to defend the case.
So, definitely, as fast as you can get to a criminal defense attorney who knows how to deal with these sex crime cases and has had success, the better for you. Take no chances with so much on the line — your freedom — you could go to prison.
You might have to register as a sex offender; rights being taken away; the embarrassment; being grabbed in front of your neighbors instead of being able to work something out where you go and surrender. These are important things in people's lives.
So, the answer to how quickly you should hire a criminal defense attorney if you think you're being investigated for a sex crime or you're going to be charged with a sex crime — is immediately. Get it done.
Even if it's not me, if it's somebody else — you've got to hire somebody who knows what they're doing, has experience in handling the type of case that you have, and knows exactly what moves to make on your behalf.