Pre-Filing of Sex Charges

Criminal Defense Attorney Advocating for Clearwater Residents

If you are reading this, you probably realize that you are the subject of a sex crime investigation by law enforcement officers. You should contact a Clearwater sex crime lawyer immediately, even if the investigation is in the early stages, and even if you believe that it will not result in charges. The police are not the people who make the decision about whether a rape or other sex crime charge will be filed against you, and their reassurances should not be a basis for deciding whether you should contact an attorney. At Hanlon Law, we have found that often when we make contact with a prosecutor during the pre-filing stage, it can make a difference to the outcome.

The Importance of Advocacy During the Pre-Filing Process

Sex crime charges often begin when someone alleges that the accused committed a sexual battery or lewd act against them or their child. The allegation may involve penetration, but it can also include touching or exposure. An officer may take statements from both the parent and the child, and then the case is assigned to a detective. A member of the Child Protective Team will interview the child if the allegation involves the rape of a child or a lewd and lascivious act involving a child. The detective may set up a call by either the child or the parent, and this call will be recorded by the detective. You should be aware that unless you are in custody, the police do not need to read you your Miranda rights.

At some point, the law enforcement officers themselves will try to arrange an interview. You have a Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions that you believe will incriminate you. If you are being asked for an interview related to criminal charges, especially sex crime charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Meanwhile, physical evidence may also be processed. In many sex crime cases, however, the only evidence is the victim's statement about what happened. The credibility of the victim can be a crucial aspect of a criminal trial.

Even before you are arrested, formal charges may be filed by the State Attorney's Office. A prosecutor reviews the evidence and makes the decision about whether to file a sex crime charge and which charge to file. If you do not have an attorney, the prosecutor makes this decision based on the police officer's version of what happened. There may not be a serious effort to get your side of the story. However, if we are involved, we may be able to collect evidence to explain your side of the story and to cast doubt on the victim's credibility. In some cases, people make up allegations about a sex crime or child abuse in order to gain an upper hand in a child custody battle or out of revenge for something unrelated. In some cases, it may be appropriate to submit to a polygraph to show that your version of what happened is true.

Presenting evidence that supports your version of events may cause a victim to lose credibility. This can result in the prosecutor charging a lesser crime or, in some cases, the outright dismissal of the charges. Contacting a Clearwater criminal attorney after substantial evidence has been gathered against you makes it harder to defend these sensitive types of charges.

While it is preferable that you not discuss the charges with law enforcement officers, in some cases, our clients have talked to the police before they called us. Often, the police officer's version of what you said is not what you think you said. There is a chance of damaging your case by talking to law enforcement officers rather than retaining an attorney.

Get Assistance from a Sex Crime Lawyer in the Clearwater Area

There are many different defense strategies that may be appropriate to your situation, whether you have been accused of an internet sex crime or a physical offense. If you are being investigated for a sex crime in Clearwater, it can be critical to retain an attorney before or during the pre-filing process. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. We are dedicated to guarding the rights of the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.