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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 10:58 pm
What to Do if You’re Charged with a Sex Crime in New Jersey
Getting arrested is scary enough, but being accused of a sex crime in New Jersey can completely turn your life upside down. Even if you’re innocent, just being charged can ruin your reputation, cost you your job, and strain relationships with friends and family members.
So what should you do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation? Don’t panic. Although these allegations are deeply serious, working with an experienced New Jersey sex crimes defense attorney can help protect your rights and build the strongest possible defense.
Get Legal Representation Immediately
The first thing you need to do is get a lawyer, stat. Seriously, call one as soon as you possibly can after being arrested or charged. Don’t say anything to the police without your attorney present. Invoke your right to remain silent and don’t answer any questions without your lawyer there.
There are important deadlines in building your legal defense, so you need expert advice right away. A knowledgeable New Jersey sex crimes attorney can analyze the charges against you, advise you on possible defenses, and start crafting a strategy to protect you.
Understand the Charges
Sex crimes encompass a wide range of offenses in New Jersey, from child pornography possession to sexual assault. Some of the most common charges include:
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual contact with a minor
- Criminal sexual contact
- Child pornography crimes
- Human trafficking
The charges filed against you outline the specific offenses you’re accused of. Your attorney will explain exactly what you’re being charged with and what the prosecution needs to prove for a conviction. This will allow them to identify weaknesses in the state’s case and formulate potential defenses.
Consider Your Defense Options
Don’t just plead guilty because you’re scared or embarrassed. There may be defenses that could get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. For example:
Consent. For sexual assault charges, consent is often the central issue. In some acquaintance rape cases for example, consent may have been ambiguous. Your lawyer may argue that there was implied consent, which could weaken the prosecution’s case.
False accusations. Unfortunately, wrongful allegations do happen, sometimes out of jealousy, revenge, or mental illness. Your attorney can investigate whether there are credibility issues with the accuser or holes in their testimony.
Mistaken identity. It’s possible police arrested the wrong person due to misleading circumstantial evidence or faulty eyewitness accounts. An alibi could prove you weren’t involved.
Unlawful police conduct. If police didn’t read you your rights or violated due process, your lawyer may be able to get evidence thrown out. Any coerced confession would also be inadmissible.
Make Smart Decisions About Your Case
After reviewing the charges and evidence against you, your sex crimes lawyer will lay out your options. This could involve plea bargaining, seeking dismissal of charges, or going to trial.
Listen carefully to their legal advice as you decide how to proceed. Take into account risks like mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Your attorney’s goal is getting you the best possible outcome, whether that’s avoiding prison time, sex offender registration, or full exoneration.
Seek Counseling and Support
On top of devastating legal consequences, facing sex crime allegations can be emotionally traumatic and isolating. You’ll likely feel ashamed, anxious, depressed, and completely overwhelmed.
Leaning on loved ones for support during this difficult time can help stabilize your mental health. Consider also speaking to a therapist or counselor. Having an objective third party to talk to offers a safe space to process this life crisis in a healthy way.
Dealing with sex crime charges turns your life completely upside down. But with an experienced criminal defense lawyer guiding you, understanding your options, and making smart legal choices, you can work to protect your future. Don’t go through this alone – seek help right away.