Investigating Sex Crimes In Texas

Being accused of a sex crime can be a truly frightening ordeal. Rumors fly fast, and people often assume the worst, particularly when the allegations involve a child.

It is important to take the right steps to protect your rights and reputation during all phases of the investigation, even if no charges have been filed. The dedicated defense team at Barbieri Law Firm is ready to stand by you to safeguard your interests every step of the way. We know that what happens during the investigation will have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your case, so we provide advice, guidance, and representation designed to gain a positive outcome. Working quickly can even prevent charges from being filed in some cases.

Every investigation will be unique, but here are some general factors to be aware of when it comes to investigating sex crimes in Texas, including those involving children.

The Start of an Investigation

All it takes is an accusation to initiate a sex crime investigation. Sometimes, an individual comes to the police to report that they have been victimized, but often, investigations are launched when someone raises a suspicion that comes to the attention of Texas Child Protective Services (CPS). A parent engaged in a custody battle may allege that the other parent has sexually abused a child. Sometimes, neighbors or teachers misinterpret what a child has said and contact authorities.

Whether an investigation is started by the police, CPS, or another entity, there is always the potential for criminal charges, so it is important to take allegations seriously, even if you know they are completely false. Because the impact of accusations can have such a disastrous impact on your life, it is a good idea to start working with an experienced sex crimes attorney right away. Your attorney can help you avoid inadvertently saying or doing something that could be used against you.

At the start of a sex crime investigation, the person who was allegedly victimized will oftentimes undergo a forensic medical examination to look for evidence, and investigators will take a statement to get their version of what happened. Depending on the situation, investigators may look for physical evidence at the scene, such as fingerprints and DNA. Footage from security cameras or other evidence will be closely scrutinized. If the alleged victim is a child or an adult who claims to have been victimized as a child, they will likely undergo a forensic interview at a designated advocacy center.


Remember That You Don’t Have to Answer Questions

Whether the investigation is handled by CPS or the police, try not to answer any questions before getting advice from your attorney. While you may feel that refusing to talk shows that you have something to hide, it is just standard legal advice. Investigators can twist your words or encourage you to make a statement about something you don’t remember clearly. If you later try to clarify what you said, the inconsistency will be used against you.

If Law Enforcement or CPS comes to your home unannounced, you do not have to let them in unless they have a search warrant or a reasonable belief that your child is in immediate danger. You can ask the investigator to make an appointment so that you can be sure to have your attorney with you. Remember that statements made to CPS can be used against you, even though they are not technically a law enforcement agency.

Do not be afraid to decline to answer any questions, whether it is from law enforcement or CPS, without an attorney present. If you do decide to answer any questions by anyone at any time, only answer the specific questions asked and only discuss facts you are absolutely certain about. Do not speculate. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “That’s all I’m prepared to say without speaking to my attorney.”

Police may insist that they are only trying to get your “cooperation” but remember they have no interest in protecting your rights and anything you say can be held against you. That’s why you need to have your attorney present during any questioning regardless of whether charges have been filed.

Witness Questioning

During the investigation of a sex crime, investigators will be interviewing witnesses to determine what happened. If a child was involved, CPS may interview family members and ask the child to speak with a child psychologist.

You should be working with your attorney during this time to develop your own list of witnesses who can corroborate your version of the events under consideration.

If an Arrest is Made

Law enforcement officials may believe that they do not have enough evidence to pursue the matter and drop the case. If they are under pressure to produce results, however, police may charge you with a crime and issue a warrant for your arrest. In order to make an arrest, law enforcement is only required to have probable cause that an offense was committed. This does not necessarily mean that they have sufficient evidence to prove that an offense was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The amount of evidence needed to make an arrest is much lower than the amount of evidence needed to be convicted of an offense. Just continue to work closely with your defense attorney so that your attorney can exploit every possible avenue of defense.

Barbieri Law Firm Fights to Protect You Against Allegations of Sex Crimes

When our clients are accused of serious crimes such as sexual assault, indecency with a child, aggravated sexual assault, and child pornography offenses, the team at Barbieri Law Firm knows how to fight effectively to try to beat the charges. We have former prosecutors on staff who understand how to tear apart the case against you and to achieve the best possible outcome.

Facing accusations of a sex crime is never easy, but you can count on us to help you each step along the way. Protect yourself and your loved ones by calling us today for a confidential case evaluation.