If you were arrested for allegedly committing a sexual offense, you should be aware of the legal process you are facing. Experiencing arrest and being accused of a crime is overwhelming, confusing, and frightening, but you can learn what will be involved in your case and which steps you should take to protect yourself:
Immediately request an attorney. You have the right to request legal counsel as soon as you are placed under arrest, and you should not hesitate to take advantage of this right. An attorney can determine whether your civil liberties were violated during the arrest process, and ensure your rights are not trampled by investigators, the prosecutor, or the officers.
Exercise your right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment allows you to protect yourself against self-incrimination. After the officer reads your Miranda Rights, any incriminating statements you make can be used as evidence of your guilt in court, which is why it is best to say nothing at all until your lawyer is by your side to advise you.
The Arraignment: This is the first time you will appear in court, and it is at this appearance that the judge will inform you of what charges have been filed against you, what your constitutional rights are, and that a public defender can be appointed to your case if you cannot afford an attorney.
Enter your plea. After the judge presents your charges, you will enter your plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Pleading ‘not guilty’ means that you are challenging the charges because you did not commit the offense. A ‘guilty’ plea means that you admit to committing the crime. ‘No contest’ means that you do not disagree with the charge.
Response to the plea. The judge will respond based upon your plea. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will make the official ruling, enter your conviction in the court record, and hand down your sentence. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set a court date to begin your jury trial.
Pretrial conference. Your lawyer and the prosecuting attorney will meet to discuss the case and your charges, possibly with the judge. During this time the lawyers can try to negotiate a plea bargain that is agreeable to you and the district attorney’s office. If no deal is reached, your case will proceed to trial.
Trial. Your case will be heard before a judge and jury, during which both the prosecutor and your attorney will present evidence and witness testimony, cross-examine witnesses, and make their arguments. You have the opportunity to testify, but you are not required to do so. Once the lawyers have finished presenting their cases, the jury will decide whether or not to convict you.
Sentencing. If the jury finds you guilty of any of the charges brought against you by the district attorney’s office, the judge will give your sentence, often during a separate court appearance from the trial. Your penalties will vary based on the crimes of which you are convicted, but could include fines, incarceration in a county jail or state prison, and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
Charged With A Sex Crime?
If you were arrested for a sex crime, do not hesitate to call our team at Okabe & Haushalter. Our knowledgeable attorneys have defended countless clients charged with sex crimes in the L.A. area, and we are ready to fight for you. Retaining the strong representation of our team ensures that you receive a powerful voice to challenge the charges brought against you, and you can be confident that your best interests will be our top priority.
We understand how damaging these charges can be to your relationships, reputation, and career, which is why we will provide the effective legal counsel and relentless advocacy you deserve. Contact our firm today!
The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter are ready to fight to tooth and nail for you. You have most likely heard of our firm from our television appearances, newspaper articles and other media from the national and international covered cases we have handled.