Once you have been arrested, the most important thing is contact somebody as soon as you find out or even hear a whisper that there is some sort of allegation. We find that as soon as we can get ahead of the allegation stop something from actually getting filed. In other cases, we can make sure that a person has been accused avoids being put into a compromising situation with the law enforcement or with someone acting on law enforcement’s behalf trying to get a confession. We want to make sure that we control the situation. What I have found is that once they have enough to arrest you, they will arrest you. They will never call just to talk or come by to talk if they have already have enough to arrest you. So, that said, I generally advise people as soon as you hear a whisper of an allegation, to contact an attorney, retain their counsel and that way, we can take some kind of control over the process.
Once you have been arrested, it is important to get out and bond out before the news gets worse and then to hire an attorney so that all the correspondence goes through the attorney, any inquiry made about the crime gets filtered through an attorney because nothing good really happens once you are talking to the police about a situation like that. They are trained to elicit confessions, law enforcement and the attorneys and further, it is just that too many bad things can come from just an accusation alone, whether there is any truth there or not. We ask that we want to have our understanding of what is going on as quick as possible and try and control the story from our end if possible.
Will Someone Look Guilty In An Investigation If They Hire An Attorney Prior To Arrest?
In an allegation of sex offense, there is a presumption of guilt in the public eye, in the public ear and the court of public opinion. We feel like hiring an attorney really quickly as soon as possible is definitely an advantage. We can worry about whether or not your reputation lasts down the road. Your reputation is meaningful but a conviction follows you a lot longer than a whisper or an allegation or some sort of mark on your general reputation. Again, whether the accusations are true or false, there is a narrative that is going along and we want to have as much voice in that narrative as possible and take pride in our ability to tell the story, the true story when the truth is contrary to what the court of public opinion is saying. We believe that our ability to tell the story is going to be better than what you can control on your own speaking for yourself.
How Often Do You See Cases Where Alleged Victims Recant Allegations Of Sex Offenses?
We hear this all the time. The district attorney’s office in each county or the federal government does not represent the victim. These are not civil cases where you are filing a lawsuit and you decide to drop your lawsuit. These are cases where the state of Oklahoma is pursuing charges against an individual not on behalf of it but not on behalf of another individual. We have often found that once there is evidence, especially a confession or any kind of corroborating physical evidence, the state is not likely to back down even if the person does not wish to press charges. We see it all the time. There are protections for victims who do not want to testify to keep them from testifying.
However, whether or not the state is going to proceed with their charges or not has nothing to do with what the victim or the complaining witness desires are in the matter. Very often, I get contacted by a victim in a case to represent the accuser under the accused perpetrator. So, absolutely not. The state represents the people in the state of Oklahoma and not the victim. If they feel like Oklahoma is better served by prosecuting the case or attempting to prosecute the case, they are going to prosecute the case. Beyond that, they have not sentenced with federal money to prosecute domestic violence and sex crime cases and not to dismiss them. So, you will often see that playing a role as well.
What Are Some Common Defense Strategies Used In Sex Crime Cases?
Obviously, we want to have a take hold of the evidence and know all that we can in advance. In some of these cases, when it is a stranger, alibi evidence or DNA evidence can come in that can prove that it just is not you. Oftentimes, another thing we will do is we will do a polygraph not admissible in court but with our client paid for by us that is legal work product and not discoverable but to get a picture of whether or not to have to offer to the state as evidence that, “Hey, there is a chance this guy did not do it”, or, “His perception of the facts completely contradict what the victim is saying”. These can be he-said she-said or these can be what used to be the very common story of “I do not remember what happened last night” and without any malfeasant or anything, just two young people overly intoxicated, waking up the next morning and not really knowing how they got there, those are turning more and more into allegations of sexual assault, whether that is clear or not that is the case.
So anytime we can get ahead of that and show, “Hey, for it is worth, our guy did not have any idea that the other person was interested or had every indication that the other party was interested in a consensual sexual activity. Other than that, assuming it is a family situation, it is showing that a person made a mistake and that this can be remedied without ruining someone’s life, sometimes we can get the family to cooperate to help especially with young people who make an ill-advised decision not to minimize it but sometimes we can get ahead of that and get everyone to agree to get someone help our training or education that is not going to cost them a sex offense on the record for life.