I have been a criminal lawyer for over 25 years. I have been working with People Accused of a Sex Offense for most of that time. The way the government treated People Accused of a Sex Offense (including not treating them as People) has changed more than ANY OTHER CRIME in Colorado. They change the way you are accused of a sex offense, the way you are treated, how easily you get arrested, and how readily a jury will ruin your life all for over an allegation. Let us start with the simple truth, the presumption of innocence is gone for you. You are presumed guilty until proven innocent. If you are reading this, you know the startling truth.
Many of the sex crimes cases we handle go to trial. Although at first glance, this seems to be a good thing, in reality, it is not. Sex crimes carry a very negative connotation in our society. People shudder at the very sound of charges that are related to sex crimes and any crimes against children regardless of what the actual facts are. This makes it incredibly hard for a defendant to have a fair trial. Hearing the charges of sex crimes alone is enough to make a lot of potential jurors decide that the defendant is guilty before the trial even starts.
This has now become a real societal problem. Not only is it near impossible for the defendant to have a fair trial due to the negative connotations associated with some of these sex crimes charges, but District Attorneys are less and less willing to make an acceptable offer to defendants in order to prevent a case from going to trial. The deal that the District Attorneys’ office is willing to give to defendants charged with any sex crime, pleads guilty, in other words, no deal. This is usually the case regardless of the information they have or the actual facts of the case. Defense attorneys that have proved their clients didn’t commit the crime go unnoticed by district attorneys, law enforcement, and our Media. The attitude of the district attorney is a conviction at all costs, and if he really is guilty, then a jury will decide that. However, as I just discussed, charges alone WILL make people think you’re guilty.
Let this sink in: There is no other Crime in the entire State of Colorado where the Accusation alone is all the Evidence a Jury will need.
The Public has always had the perception that law enforcement was looking for the truth and the district attorneys were going to ensure justice was found. Well, as I have learned over the years this is just not true if you are accused of a sex offense. District attorneys only care about convictions and what looks good to the public. Law enforcement seems to have an unwritten policy of arrest first, sort out the facts later, or not at all. This is one of the fundamental issues with our justice system. As is often said, “this is a political system dispensing profit, not a justice system dispensing justice.”
So what are people supposed to do? If you are charged with a sex crime, you have very limited options. Here is an infographic of what to do if you are charged with a sex crime. Following the infographic are more details around the steps.
Accused of a Sex Offense and Detective Calls
If you’re the suspect in an investigation, detectives will likely contact you. Do you have to talk to them? Too many people think that if they have nothing to hide that they should go in and talk to a detective, clear the air, fix any kind of misunderstanding. This, however, can make the biggest mistake of your life. By willingly talking to the detectives, you allow them to get something out of you that you didn’t mean to say—or say something just because of the pressure of talking to the police.
It’s recommended that you preserve your rights and say nothing to the police. If you’re contacted by a detective over the phone or in-person, just tell them you want to preserve your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination, your 6th amendment right to an attorney, and your 4th amendment right against unlawful search and seizure. By doing this, you protect yourself from admitting something you didn’t mean to admit. This also gives your defense team more room to defend you because they are not restricted by statements you made to the police. You are not stating that you are guilty by protecting your rights. By talking to detectives, you only make their jobs easier and put yourself in jeopardy of being charged with a very serious crime.