What Are My Rights If I Have Been Accused of a Crime Against a Child?
Crimes against children, such as possession of child pornography, sexual assault of a child, injury to a child, solicitation of a minor, and child trafficking, are some of the most harshly punished criminal offenses in Texas and across the country. Although many criminal charges involving alleged child-related crimes do not result in convictions, some people assume that just because a person was charged, he or she actually committed the offense. However, it is essential that individuals charged with crimes against children remember that they have the same rights as any other criminal defendant. In many cases, understanding and implementing these rights can make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Most people have probably heard the phrase “you have the right to remain silent” numerous times, but many do not understand the true significance of this right. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to avoid “self-incrimination.” The term self-incrimination refers to a person being forced to testify against himself or herself. This means that you have the right to decline police questioning and remain silent until you have a chance to speak to a lawyer. Law enforcement personnel are specially trained in tactics that provoke criminal defendants to talk without their lawyers present. Police may even imply that only a guilty person would refuse to answer questions. Do not give in to these strategies. Calmly state that you are invoking your right to remain silent and will do so until you speak to a lawyer.
You Have the Right to Consult With an Attorney
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants a number of rights and protections including:
The right to be informed of the nature and cause of the charges against him or her
The right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury (although many defendants choose to waive that right and have their case heard by a judge only)
The right to have the “Assistance of Counsel” for his or her defense
There is a major misconception among some individuals that hiring an attorney will make a defendant appear guilty. However, this is simply untrue. Retaining an attorney is your constitutional right, and you deserve to have quality legal guidance during any criminal proceedings. A lawyer can help you understand the accusations you face and how best to defend yourself against these serious allegations. He or she can also ensure that your rights as a criminal defendant are not violated.
Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or your loved one have been accused of a crime against a child, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The accomplished legal team at Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can help. Fort Worth sex crimes defense attorney Darlina Crowder is deeply committed to protecting the rights of the accused. In her successful tenure as a criminal defense attorney, she has secured more than 300 not guilty verdicts for criminal defendants. To schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case, call our office today at 214-303-9600.