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Man in Prison Uniform Answering Questions about Sex Crimes Cases

Setting the Record Straight: How to Defend Against Sex Crime Charges & What Not to Do

Published: Aug 20, 2023 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

Navigating sex crime allegations is delicate, legally and otherwise. These are incredibly sensitive situations for anyone embroiled in such accusations. Missteps can result in unjust convictions, tremendous stigma, and devastating penalties.

Most people accused of sex crimes think all they must do is cooperate, and misunderstandings will give way to reason. But law enforcement is quick to file sex crime charges. Prosecutors will aggressively seek a conviction, and much emphasis gets placed on what’s best for the alleged victim. The accused essentially must look out for themselves – along with their attorney.

Amid the chaos, our Houston-area sex crime attorneys attempt to demystify the legal landscape around sexual offenses and offer advice about approaching the matter if you or a loved one are accused. We’ll also highlight a few potential pitfalls that might compromise one’s case. Whether seeking knowledge or facing charges, The Law Office of Ned Barnett wants to arm you with the information you need for a robust defense.

8 Ways to Improve Your Texas Sex Crime Defense

Sex crime cases are some of the most contested, complicated, and emotional legal procedures you can endure. You need excellent legal representation to help you obtain a favorable outcome. You also need to be active and disciplined with your defense.

Simply put, even the best team of criminal defense lawyers cannot win your case if you don’t participate in your defense. Here are some top actions you can take to improve your Texas sex crime defense and protect your future.

1. Contact a Lawyer Immediately

Secure legal representation as soon as you’re aware of any sexual allegation made against you. This ensures your rights are protected, and you’re not navigating the complex legal system alone.

You may hope to clear things up on your own or think contacting a lawyer makes you appear guilty but going it alone may weaken your position. After all, police have been known to coerce people into making false statements, misinterpret things you say, or conduct investigations with a bias against you.

Early intervention from an experienced attorney can highlight problems with the case sooner. Getting a lawyer involved lets you respond to accusations more safely. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to convince law enforcement to forge formal charges or negotiate with prosecutors to dismiss unwarranted cases before too much harm is done.

2. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Statements made in the stress of the moment can be misconstrued or used against you. What might seem like a harmless comment or a logical explanation now might later be manipulated to appear suspicious or inconsistent. For instance, if you engaged in what you believed to be consensual sex with another party but admitted to using illegal drugs or being intoxicated, it could appear to the police that giving consent was not possible.

Remember, law enforcement officials have specific interview techniques to elicit certain responses. Without legal expertise, you could unintentionally provide information that weakens your defense or appears inconsistent. By hiring a lawyer as soon as possible, you can avoid being a victim of the criminal justice system and take steps to clear your name of these devastating allegations.

3. Remain Involved in Your Case

Don’t just lay back and expect your lawyers to win your case. If they ask you to do something, do it. Be prepared for meetings and take notes. Your defense team will work better if you are open to learning a little about the law and its procedures.

You can understand and even participate in formulating the trial strategy. If there is a plea offer from the prosecution, you can determine whether it’s a good idea to accept.

4. Make a List of Witnesses

You need to write down the names, backgrounds, and contact information of anyone who can testify on your behalf in the case. This includes people who might testify either for you or the alleged victim.

Your lawyer needs to be able to show the credibility of your witnesses and needs time to find ways to challenge the credibility of the alleged victim’s witnesses.

5. Boost Your Credibility

No matter how dark your past may be, it’s never too late to begin taking steps to rehabilitate your reputation. If you have substance abuse issues, now is the time to enroll in a program. Engage in your community. Don’t associate with questionable people; keep your social media pages looking respectable. Cases are often decided on the jury or judge’s perception of who is the more credible and likable person.

Lawyers can rarely win cases without the assistance of their clients. You need to view yourself as an integral part of your defense team and focus on proving your innocence as soon as you learn of the charges against you.

6. Consider Taking a Polygraph

While polygraphs are not typically admissible in court, they can sometimes influence law enforcement perceptions during an investigation. A polygraph could reduce suspicions if passed, but a negative or inconclusive result might have unintended consequences. Before taking one, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney to weigh your situation’s potential benefits and risks.

7. Challenge the Evidence

Your criminal defense lawyer can help evaluate the strength of the evidence in your case, and point to possible flaws that benefit your version of events. For example, in a rape case that relies on DNA evidence, a lawyer can help you hire expert witnesses to question the validity of the forensic evidence. If you can show the evidence isn’t 100%, the charges could be dismissed, or it could raise doubt against the prosecution’s case.

An expert could explain the evidence has broken down, lab officials made a mistake, or the analysis of the forensic evidence excludes you as a suspect.

8. Question the Alleged Victim’s Credibility

Does your accuser have a history of making false complaints? Is their testimony unreliable? Your sex crimes lawyer can call their credibility into question and establish their motives for making false sex crime allegations to secure your release. If you have been accused of sexual assault, text messages and other communications may point out that the allegations were only raised after their spouse confronted them for infidelity.

3 Things You Shouldn’t Do if Accused of a Sex Crime

While it’s crucial to know the proper steps to take if you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Houston, understanding what not to do is equally essential. Avoiding specific actions can prevent complications and ensure your defense remains robust.

1. Don’t Speak to Witnesses

Some of the strongest evidence a prosecutor can use in a criminal case is the suspect’s statements and actions. You may be unable to change what you said or did in the past.

You do, however, have control over the present and the future. No matter where you think your case is heading, you can significantly improve your odds if you immediately refrain from speaking with potential witnesses.

2. Refrain from Posting on Social Media

A critical point to remember is how easy it is for a prosecutor to reframe your words and actions in a damning light. Your most well-intentioned comments could easily be used against you.

Imagine you face accusations of sexually assaulting someone, and the alleged victim or one of their family members confronts you. You know you’re innocent, but you want to recognize the pain they’re experiencing. At one point, you tell them, “I’m sorry for what you’ve been put through.”

This statement may sound innocent enough, but a prosecutor can probably introduce this declaration as evidence, and the jury could view it as an admission of guilt. It’s impossible to know exactly how your words can be construed, so the best way to make it through sex crime cases is to avoid all contact with potential witnesses.

Avoid Defenses that Don’t Apply to Sex Crimes

One of the worst mistakes you can make is remaining set on a specific defense. For example, if you were drunk during the incident, you may consider arguing intoxication as a defense against sex crimes.

However, this is not considered a valid defense under the law. If your attorney suggests an alternative defense that is more likely to work, it may be in your best interests to consider switching tracts.

Common Sex Crime Defense in Texas

With an attorney’s help, you can craft a defense strategy that does apply to your situation. Here are the most common and effective defenses seen in Texas sex crime cases:

  • The alleged victim consented to engage in the sexual activity in question
  • Your identity has been mistaken for the perpetrator
  • Police have insufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict
  • You were not read your Miranda rights
  • Police illegally search your home or person
  • Evidence was unlawfully obtained
  • The alleged victim gave inconsistent statements to the police
  • The alleged victim has an ulterior motive to lie about the alleged sex offense
  • The Romeo and Juliet defense
  • You had no way of knowing the alleged victim was underaged
  • The alleged victim is a minor, but you are legally married

The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, juries can be fickle. Make sure you take action to choose a defense most suited to your case.

The Role of an Experienced Defense Lawyer

An attorney will meticulously review the evidence, ensuring nothing is overlooked. From there, you can develop a plan to best deal with sex crime accusations and possible charges. For instance, in cases of mistaken identity, a lawyer might present alibi witnesses or surveillance footage to prove you weren’t at the crime scene. If it’s in your best interest, they might negotiate a plea agreement or lesser charges more fitting to the situation. Finally, if your case goes to court, they’ll know how to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and persuade the jury regarding your side of the story.

Ultimately, working with an experienced and dedicated sex crime lawyer is your best option to clear your name and return to your life.

Contact Ned Barnett Today

At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we have a proven track record of achieving positive outcomes in complex sex crime cases. Attorney Ned Barnett is a fierce advocate and careful strategist dedicated to remaining accessible and attentive to each of his clients.

Being charged with a sex crime can leave you hopeless and isolated, but we will always be there for you. If you’ve been accused, contact us today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free initial evaluation of your case.