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Posted on February 26, 2014 by Law Office of Brett A Podolsky
Defendants are normally only charged with a sex crime after a lengthy investigation has taken place. In many cases, you may already know that you are a target of an investigation, which is why understanding the process that takes place is especially important.
Examination of the Victim
The first step in the investigation process involves examining the victim. This could include a medical examination in order to obtain forensic evidence in addition to talking with the person about what happened. In some cases, a sweep of the crime scene is also done so that evidence can be gathered and examined if present.
Any evidence that is taken from the victim is then sent to a crime lab for processing. At this point, potential suspects may also be asked to provide DNA samples in an effort to create a match. Samples will normally be compared against information in statewide criminal databases as well.
Interviewing Witnesses and Family Members
When a sex crime victim is a child, an investigation by the Department of Child Protective Services (DFPS) normally ensues. As a part of this investigation, family members and/or witnesses to an act may be questioned by investigators from this agency. A child may also be asked to talk with a psychologist, whose job is to collaborate the victim’s story in order to ensure that false allegations are not being made.
Witnesses may be interviewed by police in cases that involve adult victims. These witnesses do not have to have actually observed an act taking place, as “witnesses” could include other residents of an apartment building or people who were in the general area whenever a sexual assault took place.
Exercising Your Rights
You can refuse to provide a sample if asked to do so by law enforcement; however, a judge may sign a warrant for the collection of a DNA sample without your consent if there is probable cause to believe you committed a particular act. You also have other rights when being investigated for a sex crime including:
- Being able to talk with an attorney before being questioned
- Refusing to give a statement to police
- Denying officers the right to search your property without a search warrant
In the event you are charged with a sex crime, you will then have the right to retain counsel and to know what evidence the prosecution has against you. Sex crimes can result in significant jail time and fines, which is why it is important to adamantly exercise your rights should you find yourself the target of an investigation.
Hire a Sex Crime Attorney
The process is very complicated for charging and prosecuting somebody for committing a sex crime. There are many opportunities to make small legal mistakes if you don’t have qualified legal representation. A mistake here and a mistake there can lead an individual to serve a long sentence. Get a hold of Brett A. Podolsky today by calling 713.227.0087.