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.