The biggest mistake to avoid is speaking to law enforcement. A lot of people think, “I didn't do anything wrong, they are not going to be able to prove anything against me, so why shouldn't I talk to them?”
Unfortunately, I have seen too many times that the best evidence that the prosecutors end up having against the person in sex crime cases is their own statement.
You're not going to be able to outsmart the police. They come in prepared because they're in the competitive business of ferreting out crime. They're going to be ready to ask you questions, respond when you deny things and hit you with evidence that you don't think they have.
Again, you're in a position where you can say something and if they don't tape-record it, they can misconstrue what you say, and claim that you said certain things in a certain way when it's not true.
Then it's your word against the police officer, and it's your word against the alleged victim. In that scenario, you're not in a good situation. The best thing to do is say nothing.
What Are My Rights If I Have Been Arrested For A Sex Crime?
Your first right if you have been arrested for a sex crime is to remain silent. They are going to read your rights, they are going to tell you that you have a right to have an attorney present. Unfortunately, there is not going to be any attorney there, so that right is a bit of a fallacy because they don't have attorneys there at the jail.
They don't want attorneys talking to you before they get a chance to talk to you. I've gone to jails when clients have hired me from the beginning, and I go and try to see my client, and they block me from seeing my clients.
When I do get to see my client an hour later, my client tells me, “The detectives were here talking to me.” They'll call the detectives, and then try and get a statement from the person before the attorney gets there.
You have a right to not say anything, and that's usually the best thing to do in any type of a situation where you're being charged with a sex crime. Ultimately, you are going to have a right to see everything against you, see who the witnesses are, see what the evidence is, and talk to an attorney about it before you enter any type of a plea, or make any type of a move in the case.
Should I Take My Sex Crime Case To Trial?
A lot of people ask me when they're coming to meet with me, whether their case is going to go to trial. Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not a sex crime case goes to trial in Los Angeles will be with the person that's charged with it.
If a case cannot be resolved with the prosecutors by way of negotiation, or your attorney can't convince the prosecutors to dismiss it, or your attorney can't get it knocked out at the preliminary hearing level, then ultimately what will happen is the judge and the prosecutor is going to say, “Okay, here is what you're offered to settle the case.
If you don't want it, then you have to take the case to trial.” The ultimate path is going to be either work out a deal, get the case dismissed, or take the case to trial.
If you don't want to work out a deal, and the prosecutors will not dismiss the case, then the case will end up going to trial. The way that you decide if you want to take the case to trial is to talk to your attorney about it.
Be honest with your attorney, give them all the information, and let your attorney, who has experience with doing trials, assist you and educate you in making the best decision as to whether your case should go to trial or not.
What Does The Defense Have To Prove In A Sex Crime Case?
Fortunately, in a sex crime case in Los Angeles, the defense doesn't have to prove anything. It's the prosecutor that has the responsibility to prove not just sex crime cases, but also any criminal case in LA County.
They have the burden to prove that the person is guilty of each of the elements, of each of the charges that they are charged, with beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the presumption of innocence. In other words, they are presumed innocent, unless and until the prosecutors can prove them guilty.
A lot of times in sex crime cases, I will ask the juror if anybody thinks that my client is guilty, just because you walked in here and you can see that they are being charged with the sex crime. Believe it or not, a lot of people raise their hands.
That's the opportunity to explain to them that no, the person is presumed innocent. If you have the vote right now, you would have to vote not guilty, because of that presumption of innocence. I make it clear to them, in a strategic and lawful way, that how would they like it if they were charged with a crime they didn't commit, and the jury came in thinking that you were guilty already.
That's not how our American system works; that's not right, and there is a presumption of innocence. The prosecutors must prove their case beyond the reasonable doubt, or you should be found not guilty.
For more information on Mistakes To Avoid In a Sex Crime Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.