Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law
What You Should Do When Accused of Sexual Assault in Texas
Any time a person contacts law enforcement and claims sexual contact occurred without their consent law enforcement will begin an investigation. The focus of the investigation can range from penetration (including by object or oral penetration), lack of consent of the victim, or in situations of statutory rape if the person is younger than 17 years of age.
Often our clients are stunned to face a sexual assault charge and have no idea what to do to defend themselves. They think it's a misunderstanding and treat it informally. However, it's critical that clients immediately recognize their need for an attorney that specializes in criminal law defense.
Under Texas Law, all types of sexual assault are considered felony offenses and a conviction often includes a sex offender registration. Sexual assault offenses range from a first to a third-degree felony and may involve prison sentences. A sexual assault case can permanently impact your future. As soon as you become aware that you are under investigation, you should contact a defense attorney you trust.
Kendall: Today we’re going to talk a little bit about what you should do if you’re ever accused of sexual assault.
Messina: And we’re going to follow this video with another one where we talk about what not to do. We know this is a scary time. We think it’s important that you have as much information as possible.
Kendall: So, Messina, what’s number 1? What would you start with?
Messina: I’m going to tell you that it’s important that you know your rights, and there are two I’ll focus on: 1) you have the right to remain silent and 2) the right to an attorney. Many people think if I just give my side of the story this will all go away. But that’s not always true, and you are better served if you get an attorney involved that can present your side of the case in the way that will be the most effective.
Kendall: Yeah, they can help you decide when it’s the right time to talk and when it’s not. You know, the second thing I would say is: it’s so important to act early.
Kendall: We’ve been successful in attacking these cases at the police level before the detective ever files the case with the DA’s office--and then they choose never to file them. We’ve also seen success at attacking these cases at the Grand Jury level. Every sexual assault is a felony case that has to be indicted to move forward. If the Grand Jury says we’re not going to indict, then the case ends.
Messina: And it’s valuable to get involved early because there are things that we can do. We need time to do things that would help our clients. There are tools that we can use, that they may not be able to do on their own.
Kendall: Yeah, so one of those tools is a polygraph. We have great success with polygraphers that we choose who are highly qualified to give a polygraph and that’s one of the things we use.
Messina: One of the things our clients CAN do is capture all interactions. Especially on social media, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, those things may be deleted, and it gets difficult to get them down the line. The other thing is, I want you to capture all your interactions with your accuser. Do not reach out to this person, but take screenshots of any past conversations, phone logs of when you last talked to them. And if they reach out to you, do not respond, but make sure you make a record of that.
Kendall: We understand that these times are unbelievably scary. If you’ve been accused of sexual assault, it’s a difficult time. We want to be there to walk with you through that and to help you. If we can help you, give us a call
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If you are accused of rape in Texas, the smart thing to do is contact a trusted attorney. Your defense starts immediately. Madson Castello has extensive experience defending clients from allegations of sex crimes. We are attorneys that believe in early intervention and give expert advice.