Many people accused of a sex crime will accept a plea deal because they are scared of the consequences. However, before you plead guilty to a sex crime, you need to understand that pleading guilty or no contest is an admission that all of the allegations are true. You may think that accepting a plea bargain will save time and money, but you should always consider all of your options and consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make any decisions.
If you are contemplating pleading guilty to a sex crime, you need to first ask yourself these questions to assess your case:
- What kind of investigation needs to be done? Can we interview the accuser?
- Can we attack the credibility of the accuser?
- Can we get a psychological evaluation to show I am not a sex offender?
- Should I get character letters from people that know me?
- Do we need a medical expert to refute physical findings of alleged sexual abuse?
Investigation & Interviewing Your Accuser
The police will typically interview the alleged victim of a sex crime. Though you will not have an opportunity to interview your accuser outside of court, you may be able to subpoena your accuser and ask questions during the preliminary hearing. However, if your case involves a child accuser and the court finds good cause, the judge may excuse him or her from testifying.
At your preliminary hearing, a skilled lawyer will be able to assess the value of the accuser’s testimonial evidence, its emotional value to a jury and will have the opportunity to assess your accuser’s credibility.
Generally, the prosecution must allow your lawyer to inspect and copy reports concerning physical or mental examinations of the victim as well as scientific tests that are material to your defense. 1 This includes any interviews, testimony or statements made by your accuser. These statements could be vital to your case.
Attacking the Credibility of the Accuser
In a sex crimes case, you may not similarly attack your accuser’s sexual reputation, but your lawyer may be able to elicit testimony from you. For example if you have had a long-standing sexual relationship with your accuser, no prior incidents of sexual misconduct and can establish a motive for why your accuser would lie about the alleged criminal acts, you may be able to cast doubt on the truth of those accusations.
Value of a Psychological Evaluation
Your criminal defense attorney should hire a medical or psychological expert who will be able to perform multiple tests to determine whether you fit the sexual profile of someone who would commit the crime of which you’re being accused. If your case does go to trial, this will almost certainly be invaluable to your case, as juries generally trust medical experts.
Character Letters from Friends & Family
Generally, you are allowed to offer character evidence of your reputation or other’s opinions of your personality and inability to commit a particular crime if that testimony is relevant to the charges against you. By doing so, it opens the door for the prosecution to attack your reputation as well. This decision should be thoroughly discussed with your criminal defense attorney.
Getting multiple character letters from individuals that know you could improve your chances of getting a favorable plea offer.
Value of a Medical Expert to Your Case
The police have an obligation to timely collect DNA evidence and analyze it in a crime lab. 2 You do not have a similar right unless you happen to already have custody of the DNA evidence before turning it over to the police. A medical expert could attack the results of those tests as well as how these tests were administered.
In addition, the prosecution may have supposed medical evidence of sexual abuse. Many times, an aggressive criminal defense attorney can have a more trustworthy medical expert refute physical evidence of abuse or penetration.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you are accused of a sex crime, it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing sex-related charges for over 30 years. We will help you navigate this process and come up with a defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville there is a skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. [Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(D). See also Cal Penal Code 1054.1(f)]↩
2. [Pen. Code, § 680(b)(4)]↩