Regardless of what you’ve been charged with, you are innocent until proven guilty (beyond a reasonable doubt). Unfortunately, officers and other officials – in their zeal – can forget this important tenet of our justice system. The police can even go out of their way to bolster the perception that an individual is guilty of the accusation in question. A pre-arrest criminal investigation can include interviews, interrogations, and polygraph exams, which is why it's essential that you understand your rights going in. If you have been accused of a sexual offense and the authorities are interested in questioning you, there's a lot at stake, and you need experienced legal counsel.
Pre-Arrest Criminal Investigation
A pre-arrest criminal investigation refers to any representative of law enforcement doing any kind of research into a crime that he or she has reason to believe may have been committed. Once a formal complaint regarding a sexual offense has been lodged, law enforcement involved will typically begin an investigation into whether a crime was committed, and this process generally includes police interviews, interrogations, and – sometimes – polygraph tests. If you find yourself the subject of any of these information-gathering processes, it’s important that you understand the basics.
Interviews and Interrogations
If you’ve been brought in for a police interview or interrogation, don’t talk to the detective without an attorney by your side. Sex offenses are especially serious crimes, and the information relayed regarding such offenses is often inaccurate, misleading, ambiguous, and/or hazy. If you’re being questioned regarding a sexual offense, the stakes are extremely high and the detective interrogating you is extremely motivated to pin the alleged crime on someone as quickly as possible. Having an attorney with you will help ensure that you don’t become that person.
When you’re interviewed or interrogated by the police regarding an alleged sexual offense, the person who’s questioning you is in possession of a file related to the crime’s reporting, but you have no way of knowing what’s in that file. This leaves you at a decided disadvantage. The experienced interviewer has been trained to lead you in the direction that he or she wants you to travel, and the stress of being in an interrogation room in the first place can leave you especially vulnerable to such tactics. Having an attorney with you is your constitutional right; exercise that right.
Polygraph tests, also known simply as polygraphs and lie-detector tests, are often suggested when accusations involve sexual offenses. The detective presiding over your questioning may couch a request that you take a polygraph in terms of you proving your innocence, but you aren’t required to prove your innocence – instead it is the officer’s task to prove that a crime was committed and then to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – who committed that crime. Do not consent to a polygraph test unless your attorney specifically advises you to do so. Generally, taking a polygraph test is not in your best interests:
- You aren’t required to do so (and the stress of the situation can skew the results)
- They aren’t permissible in a court of law
- The results, therefore, cannot exonerate you
If You Find Yourself Being Interviewed by the Police, Contact a Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
If the police are interested in interviewing you about a sexual offense, you need an experienced sex crimes attorney at your side. Attorney J. Michael Price II in Dallas is committed to skillfully protecting your rights. Defending the accused is Mr. Price’s sole purview, and he’s here to help you. For more information, please contact or call us at 214-765-8000 today.