When facing a sexual assault accusation, it can be a shocking and devastating experience. There’s a wide range of severe consequences for sex crimes that can include jail time, expensive fines, mandatory participation in treatment programs, firearm confiscation, and of course, a damaged reputation in your local community. It’s imperative to make the right moves immediately following a sexual assault charge so you can avoid serious penalties and restore your character amongst family and friends. Here are the do’s and don’ts to follow when facing sexual assault charges.
Do’s to Follow When Accused of Sexual Assault
- Do Collect Evidence
It’s important to gather as much evidence as possible that can point to your innocence. Try to remember the circumstances of the incident as clearly as you can. Write down any specific details that could be helpful. Document the timeline of what happened. Begin to collect things like voicemails, text messages, emails, or any kind of records that are directly associated with the alleged victim or the alleged sexual assault incident. Make a list of any potential witnesses that could testify on your behalf.
- Do Practice Self-Care
Facing a sexual assault allegation is an overwhelming, stressful, and scary experience. It often sparks a wide range of emotions such as anger, resentment, embarrassment, or even depression. Fighting a sexual assault charge will take strength and energy, so it’s essential to care for yourself at this time. Find ways to relax and remember to depend on your support system. You’ll need to be focused and emotionally prepared for a potential trial, so do what you can to remain calm and stable.
- Do Contact a New Jersey Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer ASAP
A New Jersey sexual assault defense lawyer should be your first point of contact after you become aware of your charges. A sexual assault defense attorney can help you make sense of your charges and help develop a plan to move forward. Be sure to share your collection of potential evidence with your attorney. This evidence should include a list of possible witnesses, text messages, voicemails, emails, a timeline of the incident, a description of the place where the alleged incident happened, and anything else you can think of that can support your case.
Don’ts to Follow When Accused of Sexual Assault
- Don’t Speak to the Alleged Victim
It can be very tempting to try to resolve this issue yourself. Many people facing sexual assault allegations will attempt to contact the victim to work it out. It’s vital that you DO NOT contact the victim or anyone associated with them, such as their friends or family members. Any communication with the complainant can be used against you, seen as coercion, or completely misunderstood by a judge or jury. Even if you have the best intentions, your words can be misconstrued and work against you. It’s always best to avoid contact and communication with the alleged victim.
- Don’t Talk About the Incident
It can also be tempting to try to defend yourself when you’re around friends, neighbors, or acquaintances. Again, your words can be used against you in a court of law. Remember to only share details of the incident with your attorney and no one else. It is highly recommended to depend on your support system. Reaching out to family and friends to help you manage this difficult time is essential. However, it’s necessary to keep the details of your sexual assault case between you and your defense attorney.
- Don’t Ignore the Allegation
Refusing to acknowledge the sexual assault allegation is another significant mistake that some defendants make. New Jersey takes sexual assault charges seriously, and ignoring the accuser or refusing to participate in the process will only make things worse. Taking action and following the advice of your defense attorney is your best path forward.
- Don’t Talk to the Police Without Your Attorney Present
Remember your rights when communicating with a law enforcement officer. Of course, you want to remain calm and cooperate at the time of an arrest. However, you don’t have to answer any invasive questions or respond to your allegations without your attorney present. Speaking freely to a police officer can lead to unfortunate outcomes, even when you’re sure of your innocence. Only talk to the police when your sexual assault defense attorney is present.
- Don’t Represent Yourself
As stated above, contacting a skilled and experienced sexual assault defense lawyer is the best way to produce the most favorable outcome. Attempting to represent yourself can be incredibly challenging, especially if you have no prior legal experience. Your defense attorney can guide you through the criminal justice process, address your concerns, answer your questions, and design a powerful defense strategy. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.
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