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Criminal Sexual Assault in Illinois. What to Do if you’ve been charged.
Sex offenses carry with them a stigma that is like no other criminal offense in our society. Whether an accusation comes from a resentful former spouse seeking the upper hand in a divorce or child custody matter or from an unscrupulous person who gives little thought to making sweeping allegations against others, an accusation of a sex crime – whether it is true or false – can result in a lifetime of problems.
In this article, we will discuss the lasting impact that comes with the accusation of, or conviction for, a sex offense in the State of Illinois. In addition, we will discuss four ways to defend yourself against a sex offense allegation with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles sex offense cases.
If, after reading this article, you have more questions about obtaining representation for a case involving a sex assault or other sex crime, we invite you to call Jim Ryan & Associates at our Naperville office. We provide a free case evaluation, so contact us online or call us at 630-596-9400 today.
The Negative Impact that a Sex Offense Accusation Can Have on Your Life
It can be terribly unfair, but even a false accusation of a criminal sex offense could have a lasting impact on your life. Indeed, there is such a stigma related to sex-related crimes that any allegation may serve to permanently damage your reputation long into the future.
Moreover, being convicted criminally for a sex-related offense, such as sex assault or possession of child pornography, may have lifelong effects beyond any probationary or prison sentence that results from the conviction. Specifically, a sex offense conviction might trigger a requirement that the convicted person register as a sex offender for a period of time, or for life, depending upon the circumstances.
Registration as a sex offender means that a convicted person would need to inform the neighborhood where he or she lives about the conviction. Also, the registered offender’s personal identifying information would need to be published on an online database that is publicly accessible.
Indeed, sex offender registration is an immense burden because it could impact any aspect of the registered offender’s future, including housing and employment opportunities, personal relationships, and even the ability to live a quiet life without being harassed by people in the community.
That is why, if you have been accused of any sex-related crime, you need to vigorously, aggressively defend yourself as early in the process as possible. You should be sure to obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you.
The Four Approaches to Defending Against a Sex Offense Accusation
There are generally four major strategies that a seasoned criminal defense attorney will employ to remove, or at least minimize, any criminal exposure if you have been accused of a sex offense.
Stop the Accusation from Becoming a Criminal Charge
If you have been accused of a sex crime, then your attorney’s first order of business should be to take steps to persuade the prosecutor to not file criminal charges. The best way to nip an accusation in the bud is to stop the accusation from moving into the criminal court in the first place.
To accomplish that, you should refuse to speak to law enforcement about the accusation until you have consulted with an attorney. Thus, if the police or prosecutor ask to speak with you as part of their investigation, you should respectfully decline and indicate that you will comply with their requests once you have an attorney. Then, if you do provide answers during an investigation, your attorney should always be with you during questioning.
In addition, the benefit of getting an experienced criminal defense attorney early in your case (i.e., before there is any criminal charge) is that a seasoned attorney will likely know the prosecutor already, and your attorney can work to persuade against any formal charge.
Suppress any Incriminating Evidence Seized in Violation of the 4th Amendment
If you are unsuccessful in stopping a case from becoming a formal charge, then your next approach is to seek to suppress any evidence against you. As you likely know, police officers must conduct their investigations in a constitutional manner. That means that if the police violated your 4th or 5th Amendment rights when trying to find incriminating evidence against you, then the evidence illegally obtained cannot be used against you in court.
Entrapment and Other Defenses
The offenses of solicitation of a prostitute or enticement of a minor are usually tied to police investigations in which a police officer will pose online as an escort or underage individual. Thus, the defense of entrapment comes into play. The key with the defense of entrapment in this context is whether or not you were predisposed to commit the solicitation crime in the first place. If the online solicitation idea started with the undercover officer, and he or she put the put that idea in your mind, then you might have a viable claim of entrapment. Entrapment is only one of several types of police misconduct that could get your charge dismissed.
Challenging Witness Statements and Other Types of Forensic Evidence
A sex offense investigation will often include witness statements and forensic evidence. Those are areas in which to find inconsistencies in order to show that the accusation against you is false.
For example, many sex-related offenses stem from an unprincipled person trying to gain advantage in a family dispute, or from a person consenting to intimate contact but later claiming otherwise. An experienced attorney may be able to find out the real motivation for an accusation that has nothing to do with criminal conduct. Similarly, if the police improperly process or contaminate any kind of DNA or forensic evidence, then that might also lead to a dismissal of any charges.
Let Us Aggressively Defend You Against Any Sex Offense Accusation
If you have been charged with sexual assault or another sex crime, there is no question that you are worried about your future and your reputation. Because sex offenses carry strict penalties, and possibly lifelong consequences, you need someone in your corner to zealously defend you before and after you are formally charged. Your future is in jeopardy and you have the right to defend it. We are here to help.
To schedule a free initial consultation about sexual assault or another sex offense with a dedicated criminal defense attorney, email us or call us at 630-596-9400. At the law firm of Jim Ryan & Associates, we are criminal defense lawyers with extensive experience standing up for the rights of people in the Chicago metropolitan area with a focus in DuPage County, the western suburbs, and Naperville.
1555 Bond St Suite 103 Naperville, IL 60563