While relatively novel in the 1980s, charges involving child sex offenses have now become routine. Unfortunately, child sex abuse allegations are easy to make — a child’s word that something sexual happened is often the only evidence needed against the defendant — but they are difficult to defend. It is crucial for anyone facing child sex abuse charges to hire an attorney with knowledge and experience in these unique cases. Not just any criminal attorney knows how to handle these.
As with any criminal case, anyone being accused or investigated should contact a criminal attorney as quickly as possible. It’s a common misconception among people without experience in the criminal justice system that hiring an attorney during a police investigation will make them “look guilty” to police. Rest assured: police routinely deal with defense attorneys, and they know to expect people to hire a lawyer — even when they’re completely innocent.
In a sex abuse case, the person facing the accusation often learns about the allegation during the investigation phase. This could be when someone tells them about the abuse claims, or when the police or another agency, such as Child Protective Services, contact them for an interview. This is when their spider sense should start tingling: they need an attorney.
5 Ways a Lawyer Protects a Defendant’s Rights
At this critical phase, a lawyer plays a vital role in protecting the accused’s rights.
- The lawyer can stop police from directly contacting the accused. The law is clear that once a suspect hires a lawyer, police are prohibited from contacting the suspect about the case any more. Aside from ensuring that a suspect does not incriminate himself, this wall between police and the suspect can give people comfort in knowing police will not be able to show up at their home or office to question them.
- The lawyer can contact police to learn more about the allegations. Police are often tight-lipped with suspects but will share more information with a lawyer. This allows people to at least learn what the specific claims are against them.
- The lawyer can determine whether the suspect should give a statement to police. Here, the lawyer’s judgment — based on training and experience in sex abuse cases — comes into play. Many times, the Neal Davis Law Firm has prevented charges from proceeding because we have, after careful deliberation, had our clients speak with police. Unfortunately, some lawyers inexperienced in child molestation cases may take a “never talk” approach or an “always talk” approach, which often hurts their client’s case.
- The lawyer can try and persuade the police or prosecutor not to pursue charges. Prosecutors like cases they know they can win. By showing police or prosecutors the flaws or weaknesses in the case before it goes to trial, the lawyer may convince them that it’s better to drop the charges.
- If the police or prosecutor is determined to file charges no matter what, the lawyer can try and arrange for a bond and a date for the defendant to surrender for booking. This prevents the defendant from being arrested at home in front of the neighbors, or at work in front of co-workers, as well as languishing in jail until a reasonable bond is set.
Have you been charged with a child sex offense? Protect your rights now by seeking the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. Contact us right away to schedule an initial consultation with a top Houston law firm.