Being accused, suspected, or charged with a sex crime is very serious.If you or someone you know is in this situation, you should hire a qualified attorney immediately.As soon as you are made aware of an accusation, you should begin your search for a sex crime defense attorney.Interview your top choices and choose an attorney that can help you with your criminal defense.If you are facing a civil lawsuit on top of criminal charges, you should look for a suitable civil attorney as well as your criminal attorney.
Step 1: As soon as possible, hire an attorney.
If you have been accused, suspected, or charged with a sex crime, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible.Sex crimes can lead to imprisonment and a life on the sex offenders list.Before hiring an attorney or having one appointed to you, don’t talk to police or investigators.Don’t wait until you’re formally charged to hire an attorney.A qualified attorney should be hired at the earliest possible stages.
Step 2: If necessary, look for a civil attorney.
There is a chance that the alleged victim will file a lawsuit against you in civil court for money damages.It’s common in sexual assault cases.You will need a civil attorney who handles sexual assault cases if you find yourself in this situation.Criminal attorneys won’t be able to handle civil cases, so you will have to hire separate attorneys for each phase.
Step 3: You can get a referral.
If you have used an attorney’s services in the past, it is a good idea to ask them for a referral.Most lawyers have a network of other lawyers that work in every field, and the legal community is relatively small.If you talk to an attorney, ask if they can get you in contact with someone who specializes in sex crime defense or sexual assault civil cases.Referrals are the best way to find an attorney.If other lawyers recommend someone, chances are they are good at what they do.
Step 4: Ask your family and friends to give you recommendations.
If you don’t know any attorneys, ask your family and friends if they know anyone.It can be difficult to talk to friends and family about sensitive issues.If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with friends and family, ask if they could recommend a criminal defense attorney.You can talk to the attorney about someone else who may specialize in sex crimes if they know one.
Step 5: Search for lawyers who are specialized.
Many states have programs that allow attorneys to be recognized as experts in their field.In California, lawyers can become State Bar certified in criminal law if they pass a written test and demonstrate a high level of experience.Some attorneys may focus on certain areas of the law even if your state doesn’t have a specialization program.Ask any attorney you talk to if they’ve handled sex crime cases or if you know someone who has.When your issue is related to a sex crime, it’s important to find a focused attorney.The prosecution and defense of sex crimes requires someone with specialized knowledge.Due to the public’s perception of the accused, the requirement of having to cross-examine children, and the difficulties of finding an impartial jury, you need to find someone who has dealt with these issues before.
Step 6: You can check with your state bar website.
State bar websites offer certified lawyer referral services.Ask your state bar about their referral programs.In California, the State Bar will interview you and put you in contact with an attorney that can help you.State bar referral services are a great way to find a competent attorney because of the standards they hold themselves to.The California Supreme Court requires these services to meet certain standards.You can file a complaint with the California Bar if you feel that the standards have not been met.
Step 7: You can visit attorney websites.
A growing number of attorneys are using the internet to advertise their services.Take a quick internet search for “sex crime defense attorneys” in your location and see what comes up.You can analyze what you see on some websites.An attorney’s website should be easy to navigate.It should include the lawyer’s name, background, and specialties.The websites will usually have some general information about the laws they deal with.
Step 8: You can check bar records.
You can check each attorney’s record of discipline if you have a list of candidates.Every state has the power to discipline attorneys if they are found guilty of immoral, untruthful, or criminal actions.There will be a record of the public reprimanded attorney on their bar profile.If an attorney on your list has a history of discipline, you should take them off.In California, you can find an attorney by their name or bar number.Any history of discipline will be included in their personal information once you do.
Step 9: Candidates can be researched online.
Check the state bar’s website as well as other online services for client reviews.Valuable information about the lawyer will be provided by Avvo, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, and others.There are many reasons for a lawyer’s reviews to be positive or negative.A friend who is trying to boost their friend’s business may give a positive review.A negative review may come from a client who lost their case because of the attorney’s control.Take each review seriously but be aware of possible flaws.
Step 10: You should make appointments.
You should make appointments to meet with those attorneys once you have narrowed your list to around three to five top choices.Meeting an attorney face-to-face is the only substitute for talking through your case with them.Call or email to set up a convenient time to see the attorney.Initial consultations may cost money.When you get there, be sure to ask about any fees ahead of time.Do not be afraid to ask if they will waive the initial meeting fee.
Step 11: Prepare for each appointment by researching it.
You need to take the time to prepare for your consultation.Pick out every document and piece of information you have that relates to your situation.Police reports, charging statements, and witness statements are some of the common types of documents.During your first meeting, research common questions to ask attorneys.To give each attorney a quick summary of what you believe happened, you need to know the facts of your case.The names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone involved in the case should be brought.You will get out of each appointment if you are prepared.If you are going to hire a civil attorney, you will want to gather documents that include any notice you have been served with, any lawsuit that has been filed against you, and any response you may have already given.
Step 12: Ask questions.
When you attend the meeting, you should ask as many questions as you feel necessary.What is your experience handling similar cases like yours?What are your chances of success?How long have you practiced?What types of motions have you used in sex crime cases?What trial experience do you have with sex crime cases?Are you friends with the local authorities?Do you have enough legal staff?What experts do you work with?Are you employed by an independent investigator?
Step 13: The attorney should be observed.
When the attorney is giving you their opinion and answering your questions, it’s a good time to see how confident they are in your case.You can take notes during the meeting.You will be able to remember everything they said and compare each attorney’s answers to your questions.You want to observe the attorney for his knowledge, kindness, and compassion.The attorney knows the law and can apply it to your case.If the attorney seems confused or nervous, they should be removed from the list.
Step 14: You should compare your candidates.
Take the time to compare your candidates after you’ve sat down with each attorney.If you want to see who answered your questions in a way that impressed you, read over your notes.You should ask the attorney if you have any follow-up questions.
Step 15: Fees should be considered.
The ability to successfully handle your case is the most important consideration in choosing an attorney, but you must also consider the amount of money it will cost to have that done.You should compare the fees of the top couple of candidates when you have narrowed your list.Pick the one that will cost less if you feel confident in both attorneys.Make sure you understand how different fee arrangements work.You pay a lawyer fixed fees to complete a task.You can pay separate fees for different things in a sex crime case.Even if some of the fee was unused, the attorney might still pocket it.The number of hours the attorney works on your case is what determines hourly fees.Criminal defense attorneys have hourly fees.Ask about their hourly rate and how many hours they expect to bill for.A retainer fee will often mean a down payment.Criminal defense lawyers will ask for a fee up front if they want to start.Once it is used up, your legal fees will be subtracted from your down payment.Property and cash can be accepted by attorneys.When an attorney accepts to represent you, they will want to make sure they get paid, and that often means taking payment in whatever form they can get.If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, your attorney may place liens on your property.You should be aware of the extra out-of-pocket costs you will incur.Courts, witness fees, copying and faxing, and travel expenses are some of the costs that will be included.
Step 16: You should go with your first impression.
When choosing an attorney, it’s a good idea to go with your gut.You are going to be spending a lot of time with the person you hire and they will be responsible for your freedom and well-being.You should choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and who you believe in.
Step 17: As soon as possible, let your first choice know.
Let the attorney know when you make your decision.Attorneys are busy and you want to make sure they can still take your case.After you inform the attorney that you want to work with them, they will likely sit down with you again to fill out some paperwork and get things started.
Step 18: You should get your agreement in writing.
When you meet with your attorney for the first time, you want to make sure you get your representation agreement in writing.The scope of the representation and their fee will be included in your agreement.You and the attorney will know what to expect from each other.