Below, an Arlington sex crimes lawyer discusses sex crimes and the severity of which they are prosecuted in Arlington, Virginia. If you have been accused of a sex crime, call today and schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
The prosecution is handled on a case by case basis, so a blanket statement that these types of cases are handled a certain way isn’t accurate. But I will say that in general, sex offenses are taken very, very seriously in the commonwealth. These cases often involve community outrage, media coverage, and of course the victim of the crime who feels that their life has been unalterably changed by what the defendant did to them and who won’t be satisfied until they feel justice has been served.
The nature of the offense is so inflammatory that just saying that someone has been charged raises prosecutors eyebrows and causes them to take the allegations seriously. And if violence is involved, then yes, violent sexual crimes you will almost certainly be facing a prosecutor who will pour all of their time and resources into securing a conviction. The only comparable other offenses that are taken this seriously are violent robberies and homicides. Upon conviction, you can be assured that the prosecutor will push for a very lengthy sentence. They may not always ask for the maximum, but they often will, and if they don’t they will seek for what they feel is an appropriate sentence which is most likely going to be a long period of incarceration.
Judges also treat these charges very seriously. Judges have imposed some of the harshest sentences on sexual offense cases that I’ve seen. Once the cases have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the judges and juries show very little mercy to the defendants in cases like these because they feel for the victim and fear for their families. And the victim will often be involved in the sentence of the defendant, either by making the prosecutor aware of every concern they have or by providing or reading a victim impact statement to the court expressing how their life has been changed. There is usually very little sympathy for defendants convicted of violent rape, violent sexual offenses, or even many sex offenses of a non-violent nature. It’s just simply something that judges sentence very heavily for, particularly in Arlington, but everywhere in the Commonwealth.
Hiring an attorney early in any process is extremely important because of the seriousness of the offense. Because of how seriously the judges, juries, prosecutors, and police department take these cases, and the potential outcome for numerous years in prison, getting an attorney on your side right away is crucial. An attorney should begin immediately working for you to provide you with the best possible outcome in court.
An attorney will have your best interest in mind, they will advise you on how to proceed, what to say, what to look out for, and help devise a defense strategy. They will begin to look at mitigating factors, will review the Commonwealth’s evidence against you, interview witnesses, and subpoena information they need but don’t have. They will do this with your interest in mind the entire time with the goal being to e either minimizing the potential outcome of a plea or getting you acquitted of the offense.
It is important to hire an attorney even before you are charged because an attorney can advise you on what to do while you are being investigated. Attorneys know of certain techniques that police use to build their case before you are even charged.
An attorney will protect your interests before even being charged with the hope being that together you can prevent charges from ever being brought. If you are ultimately charged, by getting an attorney involved so early in the case you will already have a leg-up in the proceedings. Attorneys can also negotiate when and how a person is arrested to minimize any potential time in jail from just being charged. It is still most definitely in someone’s best interest if they are being investigated for a crime of this type to hire an attorney.