When Does Sexual Assault Need to be Represented by a Lawyer?. Sexual assault is a horrific thing. Unfortunately, far too many people are sexually assaulted. Even in the modern first-world west, in a nation like Canada, there are many thousands of instances reported per year. Though something you will not often hear, particularly from the media, is that one in seven cases are unfounded, according to the Bureau of Statistics, with even more not providing enough evidence to prove guilt.
What does this mean? It means that while sexual assault is a horrible thing that happens all too often, we also live in an age where some people weaponize the government against others by filing false claims. If you have been a victim of a false sexual assault claim, then you might want to know when your case should be handled by a sexual assault lawyer.
The Best Time to Get a Lawyer for a Sexual Assault Case
The truth is that there’s no time to waste. As soon as you’re accused, you have to get over the shock and anger and blame and immediately seek the counsel of a qualified attorney who understands the law and will start assisting you. Even if it never ends up in trial, you will still need a lawyer for myriad reasons.
Let’s go over some of these reasons so you better understand why you need to seek counsel immediately in this situation.
Why You Need to Have a Lawyer Immediately
1: Dealing with the Police
In a perfect world, police objectively look at the evidence and treat everyone as if they’re innocent until proven guilty. In the world we have, however, what we find is that many police play a lot of tricks during interviews and try to lock people into stories whereby the slightest inconsistency paints the accused as undeniably guilty. A sexual assault lawyer can help you understand what to say and what not to say to investigators, so you don’t end up handing the prosecution evidence to use for something you did not do.
2: Dealing with the Media
The vast majority of cases aren’t going to make national news, but almost all of them will make some type of local news. Especially in the context of local reporters looking to push a narrative as a story, the accused may be accosted by the media. Unfortunately, while jurors are supposed to be impartial, it’s possible for the accused to become persona non grata in the eyes of the public and taint their odds of a fair trial if it goes that far. Lawyers can help you navigate this minefield.
3: Mounting a Defense
Luckily, most false accusations are sniffed out before the prosecutor files formal charges or impanels a grand jury. Though this is typically due to the diligent efforts of lawyers, who may have private investigators working for them, who relay information to the police about the accused’s alibi, history, the context of the situation, etc. Regardless, you need to start mounting a defense, in the expectation formal charges are coming. This is something that needs to happen quickly.
4: Retaining Services Pre-Charge
For argument’s sake, let’s say the accused is initially arrested and questioned for sexual assault. Though they know they’re innocent, so don’t hire a lawyer. Six months later, they’re picked up at work and end up with five felony charges. At this point, a lawyer has no choice but to align their fees with the charges, so it could be wildly expensive. However, if the lawyer is retained as soon as it happens, and they understand the nature of the case, the accused will not have to pony up that money, even if additional charges are filed.
5: Professional, Unbiased Counsel with Expertise
The most important thing anyone needs in times like these is a professional, unbiased expert working on their case who knows the law inside and out. Lawyers know all the tell-tale signs of false accusations and can help the accused to unravel those allegations so that, hopefully, charges are dropped and the accused’s name is cleared. This isn’t something that happens for accused parties without legal representation. They end up locked into criminal charges and must get a lawyer after the fact, at which point it’s far more difficult to make those things happen.
Sexual assault is serious. Offenders should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Though false allegations are also very serious, and you will need to retain a lawyer immediately if this has happened to you.