Legal Defense Strategies for Sex Crime Cases
Legal Defense Strategies for Winning Tacoma Sex Crime Cases
A prosecution for an alleged sex crime can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, leading not only to the risk of jail or prison, but also significant public stigma. The possibility of lifetime mandatory registration as a sex offender can extend punishment long after a person has paid their debt to society. Defending against a sex crime case requires the help of a skilled and experienced Washington sex crimes defense attorney. We have years of experience representing defendants accused of sex offenses, and have developed a wide array of defenses to help you understand the process and protect your rights.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
Prosecutions for alleged sex crimes frequently rely on witness statements, including the defendant’s own statements to police or others. DNA evidence may be a mainstay on television police shows, but it is not a factor in a large number of real cases. A person might have the seemingly reasonable instinct to try to “clear their name” by talking to the police, child protective services investigators, or other officials. But this can hurt a defendant far more than it is likely to help, as law enforcement can twist words to fit the case they want to make.
Use a Polygraph to Your Advantage
A polygraph, or “lie detector test,” is rarely admissible at trial, but it is still a common tool used by law enforcement to establish probable cause for a search warrant or arrest. Police polygraphs often serve as a way of eliciting incriminating statements instead of truthful statements. A private polygraph examiner, retained with the assistance of a defense attorney, is far more likely to conduct a fair examination, and produce results that might convince law enforcement to look elsewhere.
Challenge the Forensic Evidence with Your Own Experts
Police may collect DNA samples from the alleged victim, any suspects, and the scene of the alleged offense. Any defects in the collection, analysis, or storage of this evidence could be grounds for suppressing evidence or dismissing the case.
The state may also rely on digital evidence, such as photographs, emails, and text messages, in trying to make its case. Forensic analysis of the storage devices from which police obtained this evidence is a critical part of a defense.
Consider the Source of the Accusations
In some sex crime cases, the accuser’s motives or credibility are very important to the strength of the state’s case. If the accuser has a history of making accusations against the defendant or others, it calls that person’s reliability as a witness into question. The relationship between the accuser and the defendant is highly relevant, bringing up questions of how the accuser might benefit from a criminal charge against the defendant. Calling the accuser’s credibility into question may call the state’s entire case into question.
Watch Out for Influence Over Child Witnesses
Child witnesses present a particular challenge in a sex crime case. A defense attorney must be careful to conduct a thorough review of the child’s allegations and circumstances, while considering the sympathy a jury, and the public, is likely to have for the child. Problems with memory or difficulty in understanding the proceedings could affect a child’s testimony. Children may be susceptible to suggestion by parents, guardians, social workers, and others that could call the reliability of their testimony into question.
Suppress Any Evidence that Violates the Law
Evidence collected by police in violation of a defendant’s rights, such as through a warrantless search, is subject to a motion to suppress by the defense. Evidence that has been damaged, contaminated, or otherwise compromised should also be rejected by the court. A defendant has the right to confront their accusers and review the evidence the state plans to bring against them. Protecting these rights requires a vigilant and aggressive defense.
Individuals have rights during all parts of a criminal case, from an initial investigation through post-conviction proceedings, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and secured by local, state, and federal law. To further guard against possible abuses by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials, you should consult with an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer at all stages of the criminal process. Timothy L. Healy has defended people in sex crimes cases throughout Washington, particularly Tacoma and Pierce County, since 1995. Contact us today online or at (888) 312-3093 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team.