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Question: What Is The First Thing You Should Do If You Have Been Charged With A Sex Crime In Wisconsin?

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Answer: As soon as a person knows they have been charged with some sort of sex crime, they should immediately contact their family and friends to find out if anybody knows an experienced and successful sexual assault or sex crime defense lawyer. This is not the situation you call the family real estate or divorce lawyer. Maybe you call them and ask them who they would recommend for this kind of charge. But these kinds of cases change your life.

The mere stain of the accusation—even if the case is dismissed—stays with you for the rest of your life, and the penalties are draconian. They’re punitive. You can be registered, people can be notified, it’ll be in the newspaper, you won’t be able to see your kids, your grandkids, your neighbor’s kids—your whole life changes when you are accused. That’s why you have to go to somebody who not only handles these cases but can show you they’ve won them before—they’ve won them in trial, they’ve won them by getting them dismissed before trial, or they’ve won them in the best way, which is convincing a prosecutor not even to issue a charge.

And a little footnote to that: sometimes people are guilty of something, but not what they’re being accused of. Even in that situation, it is important to contact a lawyer who can try to get the charges reduced to maybe where they belong. That’s what you should do: contact the best lawyer you can find in the area. Make sure they’ve handled these cases before. In fact, ask them, "Give me a list of the cases you’ve handled that you’ve won or gotten dismissed." If they can’t produce one, then maybe they don’t have one.

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