There’s no doubt about it, getting hit with criminal charges in Raleigh for a sexual offense will change a person’s life, regardless of the outcome. North Carolina statutes are very clear and the penalties are harsh, even for seemingly minor incidents. A basic indecent exposure case is a Class 2 Misdemeanor which can come with a 30 day sentence and penalties increase up to 240 months if more serious allegations are made. Of course, those are the court-imposed penalties, and it says nothing about the psychological damage, financial toll, or other issues a person might have to deal with. If you’re involved in a situation like this, it’s imperative that you follow a certain protocol to protect yourself.
Do: Contact an Attorney Right Away
Even if criminal charges have not yet been pressed, retain a lawyer as soon as you think you might be a suspect. Your lawyer can protect you throughout the process, help ensure you’re treated fairly, and keep an eye on the investigation so that it stays above the board.
Don’t Speak to the Police without Your Attorney
Many people think that they can clear themselves if they simply explain their side of the story or provide an alibi. Unfortunately, that usually just gives law enforcement more ammunition and more of your words to twist. The investigator may pretend to be your friend, but he’s not. It’s an interrogation technique. If the police want to talk to you, tell them you want your lawyer present and nothing more.
Do: Gather Up Anything that Might Be Considered Evidence for Your Lawyer
Your clothing, items that were with you, things that were allegedly used in the crime, photos, messages, and social media posts can all be used to help corroborate your story.
Don’t: Contact the Alleged Victim
People in these situations often know the person who is accusing them and sometimes believe that contacting the individual will help clear up a misunderstanding. The reality is that it’s usually against the law to make contact and it can add a whole new set of complications to the original issue.
Do: Lock Down Your Social Media Accounts
Law enforcement will likely be looking into your accounts and, depending on the notoriety of your case, other individuals may as well. Don’t delete anything, but make sure your settings are private, and discuss how to handle any existing data with your attorney.
Don’t: Discuss the Case with Anyone or Post About it On Social Media
Although it may be tempting to try and clear your name, the best thing to do is to keep quiet. If anyone asks, simply tell them you’re not allowed to discuss the case.
Raleigh Criminal Charges Attorney
Even though it’s best to obtain legal representation from the very beginning so you can avoid these and other common missteps, it’s never too late. The attorneys at DeMent Askew will provide aggressive defense and protect your rights regardless. If you need experienced legal help, please contact us using our online form or speak to one of our attorneys now by calling 919-833-5555.