You have been charged with a sex crime.
Those words hit like a ton of bricks. Once the dust settles and you find your way back to your feet, you are left with one important question: what now?
Sometimes it’s easier to take a step back and view the situation as an outsider. Instead of focusing on you, let’s make up a character – we’ll call him Brian – to go through this journey after being charged with a sex crime. We’ll use possession of child pornography as an example charge. It’s a felony that results in penalties such as prison time, fines, and registering as a sex offender if convicted. It’s not hyperbole to say a conviction will end your life as you know it.
Step 1: Find an Attorney
“Well, isn’t that convenient for you…”
Yes, we know. It’s probably not a shock that we would advise Brian to seek out a sex crimes defense lawyer and this is for a good reason: now is not the time for Brian to leave his fate in the hands of an attorney who occasionally dabbles in criminal defense. Brian needs an attorney who is familiar with the criminal courts, criminal procedure, and evidentiary issues involved in child pornography cases.
Step 2: Stop Talking
Now is not the time for Brian to go around telling friends, family members and community members about all the reasons he is innocent and being railroaded by the police and prosecutors. It’s definitely not the time for Brian to head down to the station and try to talk his way out of criminal charges. Brian should save his talking for his attorney and follow their advice.
Step 3: Don’t Give Up
It is important for Brian to realize that these charges can be defended. Getting overwhelmed by the idea of registering as a sex offender and having a pity party will do no good. He needs to trust his attorney, follow his advice, and keep the faith as he defends his rights, reputation, and future.