Being accused of any crime is a life-changing event regardless of the nature of the crime with which you may be charged. Some types of crimes, however, carry with them a social stigma that makes being accused of them even worse. Allegations of a sex crime such as rape, for instance, can have serious negative consequences that go far beyond what happens in the actual case. Knowing what to do if you are ever accused of or charged with rape can be the difference between clearing your name and being convicted.
Rape is one of those crimes that can be alleged under a number of very different circumstances. In some cases, allegations of rape can be made when the victim did not know the perpetrator. The alleged rape may have been incident to a burglary or a robbery, for example. In other cases, the victim and perpetrator did know each other prior to the alleged rape. Rape allegations in such cases are often referred to as “date rape” if the two were dating or friendly prior to the incident giving rise to the charges.
In these types of “date rape” cases, the accused sometimes makes the mistake of assuming that the victim will recant his or her story, essentially counting on it all being a “big misunderstanding.” This kind of thinking may lead the accused not to contact an attorney immediately, putting it off in the hope that the whole thing can be resolved outside the judicial system. This is a very significant mistake. Once charges have been filed, the State of California is committed to prosecuting the case, meaning that a defendant needs to take the situation very seriously.
On the other end of the spectrum, in a case where the victim and the perpetrator did not know each other, the defendant may think her or she has an alibi or feel convinced that the prosecutor cannot possibly secure a conviction because he or she is not guilty. They may make the mistake of assuming it will all go away. Again, this is a huge mistake because the State of California will do everything possible to secure a conviction. If you are facing accusations of rape or have been charged with rape in California, you need to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney immediately to ensure your rights are protected.
Anytime the State of California has charged you with a criminal offense, regardless of your guilt or innocence, you need to be proactive and protective of your rights from the moment you become a suspect. Although there may indeed be a way to resolve the case short of trial, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney to make this happen. If the worst happens, and the case does proceed to trial, you need to be prepared. The earlier your attorney becomes involved, the more prepared he or she will be to represent you at trial. Though this is true in all types of criminal prosecutions, the nature of a rape case makes it more important because crucial evidence can disappear shortly after the alleged crime. Witnesses need to be interviewed, photographic evidence obtained, and forensic evidence tested as soon as possible.
Another important point to remember if you are ever charged with the crime of rape in California is not to discuss the charges with anyone and particularly the alleged victim if you know him or her. Not only may anything you say be misconstrued and used against you at trial, but any attempt to contact the alleged victim could lead to additional charges being filed against you. While the desire to clear your name may be strong, leave that to your attorney.