While all criminal charges are intimidating to face, a sex crime investigation can be especially challenging. These charges are serious and extremely difficult to fight. If the crime involves a minor, the stakes can heighten significantly. Fighting a sex crime charge is not easy, and you will not want to do it alone. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away to speak with a skilled sex crimes lawyer about your case. Schedule a free, initial consultation by calling our office at (713) 222-6767, or contact us online.
What Steps are Involved in a Sex Crime Investigation?
If you face accusations of a sexual offense, the investigation follows the same path that many other criminal charges in Texas do. These steps include:
Investigators gather evidence and present it to the prosecutor, who decides whether or not to bring charges against you. These investigators may be local police officers or detectives from another law enforcement agency. During this step of the process, law enforcement officials may search your person or property, seize your assets, attempt to interview you and more, so it’s important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. This is an extremely critical time. A good attorney may be able to prevent charges from being filed or mitigating damaging evidence against you.
Once police have enough evidence, they will make the arrest. You are then taken to jail, booked, and questioned. You are under no legal obligation to answer any of these questions. Your answers, even if they are claims of innocence, can and will be used against you in court. Instead, request that your attorney is contacted so they may be present during questioning. Asking for your attorney is in no way an admission of guilt; rather, it’s a way to ensure your rights are protected, and that the police treat you fairly while you are in their custody.
Shortly after your arrest, you will make your first court appearance. Known as an arraignment, this is where you hear the charges that have been formally filed against you. It is also where you enter your plea. This is another area where it’s imperative that you have a lawyer on your side. During an arraignment, your attorney will explain the charges ahead of time and advise you on how to proceed.
Before an official trial date is set, there will likely be a number of pretrial hearings. During this step of the sex crime investigation process, a prosecutor and your attorney discuss the possibility of a plea bargain. In this situation, you may have the chance to plead to a lesser crime and accept a reduced sentence. If your lawyer feels the evidence against you will make for an especially lengthy, expensive trial that will likely end in a harsh conviction, they may encourage you to accept a deal. On the other hand, if the evidence against you is weak, or if there are problems with the case, an experienced lawyer would never suggest you accept any deal and go fight your case in court.
If a plea bargain is not offered or is rejected, a trial is scheduled. Trials can be long, arduous, and emotional. Once they end, a verdict is read, and the judge hands down your sentence. Depending on the severity of the conviction, you can face fines, incarceration, a combination of both, and/or collateral consequences. If the verdict is not guilty you walk out of the courtroom and enjoy your freedom you deserve.
Contact a Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer About Your Case
A conviction for a sex crime can have life-altering consequences. If you learn that you are being investigated for a criminal offense, don’t wait to see what the police will do. Call an attorney right away. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we understand the uphill battle you are facing, and we are prepared to get to work protecting your rights and future. We fight these cases with every tool available to gain your freedom.
To schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case, call us today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out through our online form.