There is nothing scarier than being accused of a sex offense. The stigma of a sex abuse allegation alone can ruin a person's life. It is important to have experienced sex offense criminal defense lawyers to help you through this hazardous process. We have represented parents, family members, and friends wrongfully accused of sexual offenses against children and adults. The State often files charges based on nothing but the word of one person, even when that one person has given continuous inconsistent statements about what they say happened.
Often, the listed victim is so young that the statements are molded by law enforcement, child protection team members, counselors or disgruntled family members. Sometimes, allegations are based on nothing but a so-called expert's opinion that injuries could have only come from sexual contact. Because the stakes are so high and the evidence that prosecutors have is often so little, yet so stigmatizing, sex offense cases can be some of the most taxing cases we defend. It is extremely important that you speak to an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney right away. Give us a call to discuss your sex offense case.
What if all they have is hearsay?
We get many calls from potential clients who ask us how the State can prosecute them based on hearsay. Unfortunately, if one person accuses you of a sexual crime with no corroborating evidence, that is not hearsay and it will be sufficient for the State to proceed with the prosecution. Whether they have enough evidence to obtain a conviction is another issue entirely. Hearsay is an out of court statement used to prove the truth of the matter asserted. An example would be if a witness testified to what a listed victim told her, “Jennifer told me that Johnny touched her inappropriately.” It is not hearsay for that listed victim to testify to what she says happened, “Johnny touched me inappropriately.” Jennifer’s testimony as to what happened is actual evidence. The jury is free to believe her or not believe her.
In child sexual offense cases, child hearsay is often admissible. There are also many exceptions to the hearsay rule, which make otherwise inadmissible hearsay statements admissible.
What should I do if I am accused of a sex offense?
Do not talk to law enforcement, your accuser, or anyone else about the allegations. Sit down with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss the case. That conversation with an attorney is protected by the attorney client privilege. Any conversation with anybody else can later be used against you in court. Those statements can be used against you even if they are not a confession and even if you are innocent. For example, you may tell a police officer that you were alone with the listed victim but you did not sexually assault her. You have now admitted to a portion of the listed victim’s allegations and the State will argue that this corroborates the listed victim’s statement. In other words, the prosecution will try to use your own words against you, no matter what you say, even when you deny the allegations and are completely innocent.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can be your buffer between law enforcement and you. They can get your side of the story out, while not exposing you to giving statements that can later be used against you. They can investigate the case, speak with witnesses, conduct legal research, and attempt to convince the prosecution that you are not guilty.
Click on a link below to learn more about the many different sex offense laws in the State of Florida.