WHAT NOT TO DO IF ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Dec. 2, 2021
An investigation of sexual assault ensues when alleged sexual contact happens 1) to someone younger than 17 years of age OR 2) without a person’s consent.
Often our clients make the terrible mistake of responding to a call from law enforcement before they contact a law firm or trusted defense lawyer. They do this because they cannot comprehend that anyone would really believe they committed a sex assault. They see the whole thing as a misunderstanding and believe their side of story will clearly show police this is a false accusation of rape. But talking to law enforcement usually moves an accusation one step closer to criminal charges.
When facing a sex crime accusation of any kind, it is critical to remember that detectives make these calls as part of an investigation of a reported sex crime, not an investigation of false allegations.
Sex crime investigations can result in offenses as severe as Aggravated Sexual Assault (which carries a punishment range of 5-99 years in prison and includes sex offender registration if convicted). We want to make this clear: Nothing about a phone call from police should be taken lightly.
If you are facing false rape allegations or have been accused of having sexual intercourse without consent, cooperating with law enforcement may be the right move. But before you make it, please watch the link below and scroll down to view other resources listed. In a previous post, we discussed what TO DO when accused of a sexual assault in Texas. In this video, we talk about what NOT TO DO.
Kendall: Yeah, and we’ll start by saying you cannot talk to anyone about the accusation other than your attorney.
Messina: That means not the accuser, not the police, and not even friends and family members. Anything you say can be taken out of context and used against you further along in ways that you can’t expect.
Kendall: Yeah, so tell me a little bit more. If you’re falsely accused by someone, why wouldn’t you talk to your accuser?
Messina: Well, the most important thing is, there’s nothing you can say that’ll fix it. The other thing you need to know about is there’s an investigative tool called “one-party consent call.” The person is prompted to call you while law enforcement is listening and records you to get you to make certain admissions and that might come from the accuser or it can come from friends or family, and the whole purpose of that call is to use it against you later on.
Kendall: Yeah, and that’s only one of the police tools that they use, and that’s one of the reasons why we tell people to be really careful about talking to the police because police can actually use strategies where they tell you something that isn’t accurate—like, hey, we have this evidence or we have this admission when they really don’t, and it’s a strategy that they use in order to try to get the person talking.
Messina: Yeah, and I’ll add on with anytime you’re talking to the police, it’s not actually a casual interaction, it is part of their investigation even if they just call you on the phone. There’s no requirement that they read you your rights unless you’re taken into custody first. So it’s important for you to know any time you’re talking to them, it is a part of their formal investigation.
Kendall: And they are always going to be getting some type of admission from you when you’re talking to them, and they’re looking to get as many small admissions as they can, even if they never get someone to say “hey, I did it.” Maybe because the person didn’t do it, but if they get an admission to everything else other than, for example, whether or not it was consensual, they’ve given themselves a big head start in prosecuting that case.
Messina: Absolutely! So we’re not saying don’t cooperate with the police, and we’re not saying don’t assert your right for a defense. A defense might be this was consensual. What we are saying to you is, you are best served to get an attorney involved early so that you’re fighting for your rights in a way that you’re knowledgeable about what is happening.
Kendall: Yeah, the other thing I want to mention, we did our first video on what you do, what you should do if you’re accused of sexual assault, and I said, there’s a really good use to a good quality polygraph. In the same sense, now I’m going to tell you, you absolutely never want to take a police-given polygraph.
Messina: Absolutely not. If you’re going to use a polygraph, it’s important that that polygraph is fair to you and used for the proper purposes.
Kendall: Yeah, so Messina, what if someone we’re talking to right now is accused—what should they do?
Messina: I know it’s scary, I know that you are struggling right now, but it’s time for you to take action. Pick up the phone and start calling attorneys. If you want to give us a call, we’re happy to sit down and visit with you about where to go from here.
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If you are accused of sexual assault type of sex crime the consequences are life-changing. We recommend you contact an attorney before you talk to anyone else. Your defense needs to start immediately. MC Criminal Law believes in diligently representing our clients from the very start. We are happy to visit and guide you through this process.