When someone is arrested for a sex crime in Arlington, it sets in motion a particular legal process. Someone charged with a sex offense should familiarize themselves with the steps and procedures they will likely go through, and they should consult with an experienced local Arlington lawyer, who can guide them through that process.
Most sex offenses are felony offenses, the most notable exception being sexual battery. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors; they are punishable by a minimum sentence of up to five years in prison in Virginia. Those are the most common ways that sex offenses are charged in Virginia.
After an arrest for a sex crime, it is important to remember that these charges are extremely serious, have long jail sentences, and anyone charged with one should take it very seriously. People should also know that it is a very nuanced and detailed area of the law, and having an experienced attorney who knows the specific area of law and has handled those cases in the past is crucially important. Lastly, they should know that anything they say or do while they are pending trial can be used against them, so reaching out to the victim and trying to discuss their case, or trying to explain themselves to police can be used against them in the long run. It is probably not wise for them to make any statements to the victim or the police after they have been charged with a sex offense.
If you are having a trial for a sex crime in Arlington, you have the option to have it heard by a judge or a jury. However, even if you decide that you do not want a jury, the Commonwealth also has the right to a jury. Either the Commonwealth, the judge, or the person facing the charges can request a jury. Alternatively, all three parties can agree that a judge should hear the case. It really comes down to a tactical decision by the Commonwealth, the individual, and their attorney.
The first steps following a sex crimes arrest really depend on how the arrest is made, but typically if you are arrested on a sex offense, you will be taken into custody. The police officer will take you in and they may interrogate you either when they arrest you, or when they take you back to the police department.
After that, they will typically go through the booking procedures which require you to be searched and placed in a detention center. They will go in front of a magistrate, a neutral and detached individual, who makes the determination of whether probable cause exists to believe you committed the crime. The magistrate will determine whether bond should be set. If they hold you without bond, you will go in front of the judge within a day or two. If it is the weekend, it will be the following Monday or Tuesday.
Once you are in front of a judge, the judge will determine whether bond is appropriate and will either appoint you an attorney or ask you to hire your own. The next step will be a bond motion to see if you can get out of jail pending trial.
Police do not have to give you a lawyer immediately after your request. Contacting a lawyer immediately is crucially important, however, because you have now been charged with an offense and everything you say or do can be used against you. An attorney can protect your rights and interests after you have been charged with a sex offense. Remember, the goal of police is to find evidence that will prove someone is guilty of a crime they are alleged to have committed.
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