Beyond the basic understanding that sex crimes charges are very serious and can have a lasting impact on your life, knowing what next steps to take in resolving your case and how to proceed through the legal process is important to obtaining the strongest result for your specific situation. In this regard it is important to consult with a Virginia sex crimes attorney, as there are a number of different ways someone can be charged with this type of offense, all of which may benefit from the knowledge and experience of a criminal defense lawyer. For these reasons if you have been accused and are unsure of what will happen next, it is likely in your best interest to call and schedule a consultation with an attorney as soon as possible.
Depending on the unique nature and factual circumstances of the specific offense, the arrest may be the first step in a long process, or may be one of the last investigative steps. For example, if someone is arrested for suspicion of an aggravated sexual battery, rape, sodomy, or other violent offense, they may make the arrest decision early in the investigation process in order to protect the public from someone who is perceived to be dangerous.
However, if your computer equipment, phones, or other electronic equipment are seized as part of a search warrant or a task force investigation, this implies possession of child pornography or other prohibited materials or prohibited internet usage. The individual may not be arrested for several months even though their contact with law enforcement happened in a flurry. In these types of circumstances, the post-arrest procedure will be very different.
In the case where someone is arrested at an early point in the investigation, they would potentially be subjected to interrogation or questioning by the police. In other cases, questioning will be limited because the investigatory process of the case will be mostly concluded.
After the investigatory process is concluded, either with a person’s arrest or once a decision not to prosecute, if the decision is made not to prosecute, the legal process will take over. If an arrest is made, the Court will be notified of the person’s arrest and the appropriate due process will occur. The process typically starts with an arraignment or initial determination of bond.
If the magistrate declines to grant an initial bond, the accused may file a bond motion in the court of appropriate jurisdiction. The individual may next attend an arraignment and be advised about the consequences of their charges and inquire about their right to counsel.
For most sex offense cases, the individual will have a Constitutional right to counsel because there is a possibility of jail time or incarceration if convicted. After the arraignment or advisement, a preliminary hearing date will be set, depending on the nature of the offense. The preliminary hearing date is the date on which it is determined whether there is probable cause to charge a person of a felony and move the case forward.
You should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you may be charged with a sex offense. Sex offense cases are very serious in nature and prosecuted very aggressively. Therefore, it’s important to have committed, trusted representation on your side to defend you. No case is ever hopeless and an experienced legal representative can help you understand the nature of the offense, what elements must be proven, what defenses you may have, and what evidence and information may be offered in mitigation of your offense.
The police are going attack hard with their version of the events, so it is important you know what to expect and with the help of an attorney mitigate the damage as much as possible.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law