If I Suspect I’m Under Investigation for a Sex Crime, Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Now or Does That Make Me Look Guilty?

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A person doesn’t look guilty just because they hire an attorney. Many businesses (and every major corporation like Google and Tesla) have lawyers for compliance purposes and for advice. I’m an attorney in the United State Supreme Court, Judge Advocate, so they have lawyers even though they are not guilty of anything.

It’s absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer immediately when you suspect you might be under investigation. Your lawyer will advise you on what to do and what will happen. Having a lawyer doesn’t mean you won’t participate in an investigation or have to give an interview, but you will have an objective perspective on all of the issues that you’re facing, as well as someone to explain the law to you. Your lawyer handles this stuff every day and has an unparalleled level of experience in these criminal matters.

Should I Go to Authorities and Tell Them the Truth If I Know I’m Being Investigated for a Sex Crime I Didn’t Commit?

Do not go straight to the authorities. Always go to an attorney first. In my time as a prosecutor, we used to tell defendants we’d go easier on them if they told us the truth. In reality, I never saw that to be true. And in most cases, if you tell what, in fact, occurred, they might have even more evidence against you.

Now, obviously, I never tell a client to lie, but just because you don’t talk doesn’t mean that you’re lying. It’s a little bit different on the military side than on the civilian side. In the military or in federal court, you can actually be prosecuted for lying to investigators or to a grand jury. In Arizona State law, you cannot be prosecuted for lying. You need to walk a tightrope on what you say and what you don’t say, but you should absolutely never go in and provide the government with additional evidence against you, especially if you’re facing a couple of decades of potential prison time.

If an Accuser Changes or Recants Their Sex Crime Allegation Against Me, Does That Mean the Charges Will Be Dropped?

The charges will not automatically be dropped. In many cases, the prosecutor will go ahead anyway and force that person to testify. I myself have forced a victim to testify at trial as a prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office might also hire an expert witness to talk about recantation and why, in certain circumstances, people recant. They’ll ask their investigator to go investigate why a person might be recanting and put on that evidence.

Even if the accuser not only recants, but also says they won’t show up to a trial, the state will still not drop the charges. In fact, sometimes the accuser doing so will flip a light for the state or the federal government to investigate even more because they have a lot of tools at their disposal, including subpoena power. They can force people to testify. I remember one particular spousal rape case when I was a prosecutor. The wife did not want to fight, so we asked our police department to find her, arrest her, and bring her into trial. We had her testify and then released her right after. The state and federal government have too many tools at their disposal to not continue to prosecute a case.

What Are Some Tactics That Authorities and Prosecutors Will Use That I Should Be Looking Out for When I’m Being Investigated or After I’ve Been Charged With a Sex Crime?

Authorities have a whole host of tools, including computer sleuthing tools. They can subpoena your IP address through your content provider, whether it be Cox Communications or Century Link, and get what content you’ve been looking at. They can also confiscate your computer and do what’s called a forensic analysis on your computer or mobile device. I’ve even seen Xboxes confiscated because certain people accused of crimes think they’ll outwit the police department by using an Xbox in lieu of a computer. Gaming devices can be forensically examined just as easy as a computer, so the content or contraband can be found on those types of devices. Of course, authorities can tap cellular phones and listen in on your conversations, as we’ve found out from recent federal issues regarding the president.

In addition to these technological tools, authorities also use old-school methods like following people, subpoenaing bank records and credit card receipts, and speaking with neighbors.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Sex Crime Charge in Arizona?

It depends on the charge, but for most of the significant ones, like sexual assault or molestation of a child, there is no statute of limitations in Arizona.

What Are Potential Sentencing Guidelines or Requirements Under Arizona Law for a Sex Crime Conviction?

For a sexual assault, Arizona law requires the judge to start their sentencing with what’s called a presumptive sentence. From there, the judge can deviate upward or downward based on aggravating or mitigating materials. For sexual assault, the presumptive sentence is seven years, while the mitigated sentence is five-and-a-quarter years and the aggravated sentence is 14 years. That means your sentence could range from just under six years to 14. For molestation of a child, it’s 17 years presumptive, ten years mitigated, or 24 years aggravated. The same goes for a sexual exploitation of a minor case (which most people refer to as a child pornography case).

Each of those sentences can be stacked onto another. Say, for instance, a person is charged with possessing three images of a child. Each charge stacks onto another, so that person is facing a sentence of 17 years plus 17 years plus 17 years.

For more information on Sex Crimes in Arizona, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 637-0240 today.