Have you recently been accused of a sexual offence? Are you unsure of your next move?
Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to lessen the fallout from this intensely upsetting accusation.
In this brief article, a sexual offence solicitor answers the most common questions that they receive from people accused of sexual assault, so read on to learn more.
I have been falsely accused of a sexual assault; what should I do?
The first thing you should do is contact a solicitor who is specialised in defending those accused of sexual offences, so they can begin building your defence.
Do not attempt to contact the family of the accuser and under no circumstances should you disclose your story to any third parties such as your boss or your friends.
Why do I need representation if I have done nothing illegal?
This is by far the most common question that solicitors are asked; if I’ve done nothing wrong, why do I need a representative?
A key thing to consider is that you are accused of a serious crime, and unless you are specifically trained in this area of the law, the jargon and process will throw you off and may land you in more trouble.
Also, the person accusing you of such an offence will have a solicitor and so, to balance the books so to speak, it is only fair and just that you should have access to one too. It is not an admission of guilt, but rather a sensible precaution.
My electronics have been confiscated; can I get them back?
In recent times, thanks in part to the COVID-19 epidemic, more people than ever before rely heavily on their computers and phones for work purposes.
But if you are accused of a sexual offence, the confiscation of electronics is standard procedure by the police. They are submitted to a forensic laboratory for the police to obtain evidence and, unfortunately, this process can take months.
If you need your electronics for work, talk to your solicitor who may be able to speed up the process.
What will happen if I’m charged with sexual assault?
If you are charged with sexual assault, you will need to appear in court and will need the defence and advice of a solicitor specially trained in this area to represent you.
Depending on the severity of the allegations, you may either need to appear at a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court.
If your case is going to be presented before a magistrates’ court, it can take several months and if you are appearing in front of the Crown Court, it can take up to and over a year before the case is heard.
Will people in my area find out about this?
If you are found to be innocent concerning sexual assault charges, then no, none of your friends and family will find out about the accusation.
However, if you are prosecuted, then the right to anonymity is no longer applicable and your name may be published on social media or in the newspapers.