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Why Do Sex Crimes Take So Long to Investigate?

Review of Why Sex Crime Investigations Take So Much Time in Los Angeles County

I've been handling sex crime defense now in Los Angeles County for almost 30 years, so I think I have a pretty good feel for what's going on in that type of an investigation situation. 

There's no question that when it's not clear whether somebody has committed a sex crime, or even if it is clear, but the police don't come out right away and arrest the person.

Rather, it's handled by a detective, some of these cases can take months, even years, for them to actually prosecute the case.

The reasons for this is many fold, including the following:

Why Do Sex Crimes Take So Long to Investigate?
  • there's not as many detectives that handle these cases in the first place, and
  • we have a situation where LAPD, even the sheriffs, are understaffed and are under attack in many different respects by different groups;
  • prosecutors are very busy and it takes time to review the case.

So, they just do not have the man power to investigate some of these cases.  I've had cases where they've taken two or three years to file a charge against my client. 

I've asked the detectives what has taken so long?  Where have you been? 

And they've basically told me, we only have a limited amount of detectives that investigate these types of cases in Los Angeles County sex crimes and that area of the law, it's very impacted right now. 

There's a lot of things going on.  A lot of people making complaints to the police, some of which are valid; some are not valid.

But, sometimes it takes time and effort and work for the police to figure out which cases are good cases that make sense to prosecute and which cases are not so good and don't make any sense to prosecute.

Prosecutors are Responsible for Filing Charges

Another factor that you have to consider if you're under investigation for a sex crime is, once the police finish their investigation, a lot of times they have to take it to the prosecutors who very busy at this point as well. 

Now you have a situation where after the police take a long time to do their work, the prosecutor's filing deputies are taking a long time to look into these cases and make decisions.

Further, a lot of times, if it's a close case, the prosecutors will look at the case and they're going to give it back to the police, saying, I'm not filing this case. 

It's too close of a call. I need you to go out and do further investigation on this case. 

What ends up happening is, you end up getting yourself in a situation where it's going back to the police and more time is being wasted while they investigate the case.

Common Sex Crime Charges in California

  • Penal Code 311 PC – child pornography,
  • Penal Code 647.6 PC – child molestation,
  • Penal Code 290 PC – failure to register as sex offender,
  • Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with minor,
  • Penal Code 288a PC – oral copulation with minor,
  • Penal Code 314 PC – indecent exposure,
  • Penal Code 647(b) PC - solicitation of prostitution,
  • Penal Code 243.4 PC - sexual battery,
  • Penal Code 220 PC - assault to commit felony,
  • Penal Code 261PC – rape,
  • Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
  • Penal Code 266h PC – pimping,
  • Penal Code 266i PC – pandering,
  • Penal Code 269 PC – aggravated sexual abuse of child,
  • Penal Code 286(b) PC – sodomy of minor,
  • Penal Code 288.4 PC – arrange meeting with minor for lewd purposes,
  • Penal Code 288.2 PC – send harmful matter to seduce minor,
  • Penal Code 288.3 PC - contacting minor to commit felony,
  • Penal Code 236.1 PC - human trafficking,
  • Penal Code 288.5 PC - continuous sexual abuse of a child,
  • Penal Code 289 PC - forcible sexual penetration with foreign object,
  • Penal Code 647(a) PC – lewd conduct in public,
  • Penal Code 647(J)(4) PC – revenge porn,
  • Penal Code 653.22 PC - loitering for prostitution,
  • Penal Code 653.23 PC - supervising or aiding prostitution.

Why Is It Important to Retain a Lawyer Early in the Sex Investigation?

So, the question becomes, if you're an individual who is looking at a potential sex crime charge and you're assessing whether or not to hire an attorney and what the situation is, you should always hire an attorney. 

Let the attorney be in on the case right from the beginning and let that attorney work for you, even if it takes time. 

Even if the attorney calls a detective, calls the prosecutors and they're still deciding what to do, you still want to have that buffer between you and the prosecutors. 

You don't want the prosecutors, their investigators and the police coming to talk to you. Put simply, you want them to have to deal with your attorney.

Why Is It Important to Retain a Lawyer Early in the Sex Investigation?

That way, no mistakes are made, nobody says you said something that you didn't really say.

Negotiation with the prosecutor might be possible to avoid the formal filing of charges before court.

This process is known as prefiling intervention where your criminal defense lawyers negotiates with law enforcement and the filing deputy by putting together a mitigation package.

So, pick up the phone now.  I've been doing this for almost 30 years, if you're under investigation for a sex crime or any criminal case in Los Angeles County, you've come to the right place. 

Ask for a meeting to Ron Hedding.  Let me put my experience to work for you.

Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case evaluation by calling 213-542-0979, or you can fill out our contact form.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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