Three little words can turn your entire world upside down. Maybe the woman you met at that party says, “he raped me.” Maybe the little boy next door says, “she touched me.” Regardless of who accuses you of a sex offense, the mere accusation can result in police or a social worker at your door. Rumors, innuendo, and gossip may spread about you before you have even been charged with a crime. Or, maybe, you have been convicted of a sex crime before, and now face the police at your door, demanding to know how long you have lived there, who else lives there, where do you work, and when is the last time you told the sheriff’s department this information. In any case, you may find yourself asking:
- Will I be charged with a crime?
- Should I talk to the police?
- What do I do about the things being said on social media?
- What will happen to me because of these charges?
- Will I have to register as a sex offender?
Every allegation of a sex offense is different, but they all require an attorney with the experience, skill, and tenacity to get to the truth of the matter. The Stracci Law Group has successfully handled hundreds of sex offense cases ranging from simple registry violations to felony rape. Whether your wife falsely accused you of rape, your ex-girlfriend claims you touched her daughter, or you sent text messages to someone you thought was older, we know how to scrutinize the case against you, and protect you from biased investigations, leading forensic interviews, and repeat interrogations. We aggressively challenge such over-zealous practices as using “drum-beat repetition” or “protected person” testimony, coercive or deceptive interrogation techniques, and warrantless DNA collection.
Understanding the Charges Against You
If you have been accused of a sex offense, you may not know what the actual allegations are until you have been charged and arrested. Almost all sex offenses are felonies that can result in longer prison sentences, tougher probation terms, and life-long residency and registration requirements. Some of the most common sex offense charges include:
- Rape and Sexual Battery
- Child Molestation, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, and Child Solicitation
- Child Seduction and Incest
- Sex Offender Registry Offenses
These charges can be enhanced to even higher level felonies in certain circumstances such as:
- Use of a gun or knife, etc.
- Use or threat of deadly force
- Secret use of drugs
- The accuser is less than 14 years old
- The existence of bodily injury
- Prior convictions
Learn more about the charges against you:
Rape and Sexual Battery
Rape, Criminal Deviate Conduct, and Sexual Battery are forms of sexual touching without the other person’s consent. All three carry significant consequences, including being placed on a sex offender registry and, in the case of Level 1 Felony Rape, up to 50 years in prison! Often, those convicted of these crimes are labeled “credit restricted felons,” making them serve even longer prison sentences. Despite these severe penalties, rape and similar crimes are most often charged based on the allegation of one witness: the alleged victim. Because of this, a person can frequently make a false life-ruining allegation to gain leverage in a divorce, extort money, or even to exact simple revenge.
Child Molestation, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, and Child Solicitation
Unlike rape or sexual battery, Child Molestation, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, and Child Solicitation have nothing to do with consent. Instead, it is all about the age of the accuser. These crimes also carry unusually harsh penalties and are also frequently charged on the word of one person. Children may make a false allegation under pressure from a vengeful parent or under the influence of a misguided therapist. Police and prosecutors pursue these cases even more aggressively, using tricks like “drum beat repetition” (having multiple witnesses repeat what the child alleged), “protected person” testimony (offering a video recording of the child’s forensic interview instead of testimony), and various deceptive and misleading interrogation tactics. In cases of Child Solicitation, the accuser may not even be a child, but instead, a police officer posing as one. Contact us to learn more about how we expose these tricks to root out false allegations
Child Seduction or Incest
In cases of Child Seduction or Incest, charges are all about your relationship with the accuser. An angry step-child, an attention-seeking student, or even a troubled teenage patient dissatisfied with his therapist can make accusations of Child Seduction. An alienated child, even as an adult, can make a life-altering accusation of Incest. Police use similar tactics to investigate these charges as in all sex offense cases. But in these situations, police and child services workers will frequently coerce parents into obtaining protective orders or employers into terminating employees, all before a prosecutor has had to offer any real proof. These tactics insulate the accuser from scrutiny and put you at a social and financial disadvantage in defending against the charge. Call us to find out more about how we can defend you against these disadvantages before charges are even filed.
Sex Offender Registry Offenses
While sex offense accusations are false more often than allegations of other crimes, many are true, resulting in a conviction of a sex offense. Not every sex offense conviction results in prison, but most do result in stringent registration and residency requirements. Police and sheriff’s departments frequently employ detectives whose only job is to investigate whether you are living where you say you are, how close that residence is to a school or park, and whether your job takes you onto the property of a youth center. Unfortunately, law enforcement frequently assumes that no sex offender can be rehabilitated and tries to put them back in prison for any technicality. But, the laws governing the sex offender registry and residency requirements are extremely complex. Contact us to learn more about how we show the police what the law really requires.
Other Sex-Related Offenses
Other sex-related offenses include possession of child pornography, child exploitation (producing child pornography), and vicarious sexual gratification or performance of sex acts in the presence of minors. While you may be charged by the state for these crimes, most often, they are investigated and charged in Federal Court. Learn more about how the Stracci Law Group attacks a Federal Criminal sex case here.
Sometimes an allegation against you may sound like a sex offense, but the law actually considers them to be nuisances (formally called crimes against public health, order, and decency). Charges like public indecency, promoting or soliciting prostitution, and voyeurism are not sex offenses, but usually misdemeanor crimes that are treated like public intoxication or disorderly conduct. Contact us to learn more about how we can resolve these cases quickly and discretely.
What to Expect After You Have Been Accused of a Sex Offense
More often than not, you will know that someone has accused you of a sex offense long before you are arrested. In many cases, months pass between the initial accusation and the filing of charges. During that time, you may be interrogated by the police multiple times. Your spouse or other family members may be questioned multiple times. Child services workers may try to remove your children from your home or have the police remove you from the home. You will likely be served with civil protective orders and summoned to court in those cases, and questioned by a judge. In your private life, you may find that a “whisper campaign” of rumor and gossip has started amongst people at work, the store, or even public buildings. You may then discover Facebook or Twitter posts repeating the allegations and frequent demands that you explain yourself. But, protective order hearings can create additional inconsistent statements by witnesses against you. Social media posts can be used to impeach an accuser or show the motivations to lie. The Stracci Law Group has the distinct skill and experience to help you handle all of these pressures and turn them to your advantage, well before you have been formally charged.
Once you are charged and arrested, you may be held for several days on a bond that is simply too expensive for you or your family to post. Being stuck in jail is a significant disruption in your life, causing missed appointments, loss of wages or even your job, and financial and emotional hardships to your family. Bonding out is vital to defending your case. It eliminates the risk of an unscrupulous inmate reading your police reports and then making false and damaging allegations against you for his own benefit. It eliminates the risk that you or a well-meaning loved one says something damaging on the recorded jail telephone line. Even in cases with strong evidence against you, being out on bond gives us the chance to help you show the judge that you have turned your life around through counseling, education, and employment. Even in felony cases, bonding out gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that you belong anywhere but in jail or prison, regardless of the case against you. The Stracci Law Group has the knowledge, skill, and ability to quickly press for you to get an affordable bond or some other alternative to staying in jail, such as GPS monitoring or home detention.
Without a strong advocate on your side, you may end up with excessive jail or prison time, costly counseling classes, or a lifetime of registry and residency requirements. You might find yourself held in jail at a high bail for weeks or years until you accept a plea just to get out. Then you may find you’ve only subjected yourself to a revolving door of probation violations, registry violations, and more jail time as police and probation officers constantly push to put you back behind bars. Whether your case is a simple registry violation or a major felony rape accusation, all sex offense cases require a thorough, detailed, and aggressive defense that starts before you are even charged.
Don’t Navigate the Sex Offender Registry Alone
Sometimes conviction for a sex offense cannot be avoided. When it happens, the conviction almost always results in a sex offender registry requirement, even when you’ve received probation. Where do you register? How often? For how long? Sex offender registries are designed to track and contain, and their requirements are different in every state. That is why whether you are going on vacation, moving to a new county, moving out of Indiana, moving to Indiana, or just traveling for work, you may find it difficult to be sure that you are complying with your registry requirement. You may even be unaware that your travel can have significant consequences on your registry requirement in the future.
The Stracci Law Group can assist you in understanding your registry requirements and how those requirements may change depending on your changing circumstances. For example, some states deem you to be a resident of their state if you go there on three different days in a one-year period. You then become subject to their registry laws, which Indiana honors in turn. As a result, a few short trips to another State can change your Indiana sex offender registry requirement from 10 years to LIFE, and you won’t know until it is too late. Whether it’s a short trip, a major move, or a new career, we have the experience and knowledge to help you find the right answer to your questions about how your registry obligations might change with your changing life.
Schedule a Free, Thorough Consultation About Your Northwest Indiana Sex Offense Case
Paul Stracci has carefully built a diverse team of accomplished criminal lawyers who he strategically employs to provide the best defense in your individual case. Paul spent his entire career defending individuals facing sex offense charges, from simple registry violations to complex child molesting cases. Now, with the Stracci Law Group, Attorney Stracci has assembled some of the best legal minds in the field. Comprised of three former prosecuting attorneys, these attorneys have handled thousands of major felony cases. One was a founding member of the Lake County Prosecutor's Office Special Victim's Unit, which specializes in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes, and was responsible for training many of the law enforcement officers who investigate and file sex crime cases. We believe that you simply will not find greater combined knowledge and experience in this field than the team at Stracci Law Group.
We invite you to contact us to learn more about your options. We are confident that we are the best choice for you to defend your rights and reputation. To discuss your case with a member of our team, please contact us at (219) 525-1000 today!