The Process Following Sex Crime Charges
Sexual crimes are considered especially heinous in the eyes of the court system. They’re taken very seriously and oftentimes warrant severe consequences. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, it’s important to understand the procedures that will follow your arrest. From hiring a criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX to sentencing, here’s everything you need to know.
Arrest and Booking
Sexual crimes are usually charged when a complaint is filed or evidence is found linking you to a specific issue. When enough evidence is gathered, you’ll be arrested on suspected charges. Upon your arrest, you’ll be read your rights, taken to the police station, booked, and held. This is the time to locate and find the best criminal defense attorney possible. Before meeting with police officers or participating in any sort of interview, it’s prudent to wait for your attorney to advise you.
Depending on the severity and details of the case, you may be held in jail without bail until the day of your arraignment. In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate the terms of your bail to ensure you’re released until your first court appearance. Arraignment typically occurs a few days after your arrest. During this appearance, you’ll stand before a judge and the charges being brought against you will be formally read. You’ll have the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges—depending on what your attorney advises.
If you plead not guilty, you’ll be given a court date for your trial. Before the date arrives, pre-trial motions will occur. Evidence will be introduced against you as well as any evidence that the defense plans to use during the trial. Expert witnesses and any other allowances will also be introduced to the court at this time.
When your case does go to trial, you’ll be judged by a panel of your peers. The selection of these peers is known as “jury selection.” Both the prosecution and your defense will have the opportunity to interview different individuals from the pool of jurors selected at random. If any biases or conflicts of interest are brought up, the juror is excused and the selection continues.
During the trial, the prosecution and defense are given the opportunity to present evidence as to why you’re either guilty or not guilty of the sexual crime. To make their case, witnesses, evidence, and interviews may be presented. It’s your defense attorney’s job to defend you to the best of their ability while the prosecution will focus on trying to prove your guilt.
Following the trial, the jury will have the opportunity to decide if you’re guilty of the crimes presented based on the evidence each side provided. These deliberations can take hours or days, depending on the case. In order for a verdict to be reached, a majority of the jurors must agree on a decision.
The sentencing of a sexual crime is delivered by a judge after the jury deliberates. If you’re found not guilty of the crimes you’ve been charged with, you’ll be free to leave. If you’re found guilty, you could be facing years in prison as well as heavy fines.
The process following sexual crime charges are lengthy and require a great deal of legal knowledge. No matter what the charges are, equip yourself with the best representation possible. Hire a sex offender attorney in Houston as quickly as you can to ensure that you’re properly defended. Should you need legal guidance contact us today.