Learning you are accused of a sex crime in West Virginia can cause you many problems, on both a legal and personal level.
West Virginia takes sex crimes seriously. Most sex crimes come with high penalties, including fines and imprisonment. If the crime victim is a child, you could potentially be sentenced to life without parole.
Additionally, being considered a sex offender can ruin your personal and professional reputation. You must generally register as a sex offender, with this information being made public for anyone to see. This could cause you to lose your job, your spouse, custody of your children and relationships with your friends and family.
Situations that can lead to a sex crime accusation
In today’s world you can be accused of a sex crime due to a misunderstanding or an accident. Maybe you accidentally clicked on a wrong link, or someone sent an illegal picture to your phone or computer.
Perhaps someone lied to you about your age, or you had a sexual encounter with someone who later changed their mind or claimed they did not consent. There are any number of possible scenarios that could result in an unjust sex crime accusation.
Due to the potential penalties and the many innocent situations that could lead to an accusation, it is vital to aggressively defend yourself.
Knowing your rights and defenses
Remember that as with any criminal case, the prosecution’s job is to prove that you committed the sex crime beyond a reasonable doubt. You also have many rights as a criminal defendant that you might not be aware of.
Part of the prosecution’s job of proving their case is showing evidence of intent. This means that you intended to commit the crime. This can be difficult to prove if the case involves your word against another’s with no evidence to back up the alleged victim’s claim.
If you are falsely accused of a sex crime, do not speak with any member of law enforcement. Your first step should be asserting your right to remain silent and asking to speak with an attorney.