One of the most important stages in any sex crime case is the initial police investigation. As soon as a person is suspected of committing a sex offense, Michigan police begin looking for anything that could be useful in obtaining a conviction, and it is critical to have an attorney on your side to help guide you through the investigative stage. Often, the most important detail in a sex crime case is how the defendant answers police questions and deals with the pressure that comes with any criminal accusations, and it is imperative that you never speak to police before contacting a sex crimes lawyer.
The first responders in sex crime cases are usually patrol officers, and the response of these officers often sets the stage for the rest of the investigation. The statements that police are able to get from victims greatly depend on the types of questions used, the attitude of investigators, and what they already believe about the case at hand. If a patrol officer questions a victim with the mindset that a crime was indeed committed, it is more likely that the statements on record read in favor of the alleged victim.
Questioning of victims and alleged perpetrators continues well beyond the initial response, and in most cases sex crime investigation specialists will come in to attempt to determine what really happened. Unfortunately, sex crime investigators are subject to the same biases and preconceptions as first responders, and often times are faced with many cases at a time and don’t have time to fully investigate every detail of a case.
Usually, investigators try to conduct interviews as soon as possible, while information is still fresh in the minds of witnesses and alleged victims. However, this can lead to emotionally driven responses and allegations driven by ulterior motives. It is critical to have a skilled legal representative working with alleged offenders to counter the potential bias of investigators.
In most sex crime cases, investigators will seek out DNA evidence which can help secure conviction. Samples of blood, hair, sweat, semen, and more can implicate a person, and often can be the cornerstone of the case police build against a person. If such evidence exists, police will do everything they can to find it and connect it with the victim’s accounts of what happened. While DNA testing is one of the most critical pieces in police investigations, it is not necessary, and many people are convicted based on testimony and other details alone.
You might think that because police are investigating you, they are actively seeking the truth, however in most cases they are just looking for a quick conviction. Gathering specific details is critical in any investigation, so by refusing to answer before speaking to an attorney and giving general, non-incriminating answers once your attorney is present, you can greatly improve your chances of achieving a favorable result.
Police will attempt to use your own words against you, and are coached to deliberately mislead suspects in order to make them say what they need to hear. For example, investigators may misstate certain details of the case, hoping that the alleged perpetrator will correct them, thereby implying that they were involved in the alleged offense. The more aware a suspect is of these tricks used by police, the better prepared he or she will be to defend against conviction.
In addition to testimony and statements made during investigation, police will search for other evidence which could imply that a person was likely to commit a sex crime. One of the most common pieces of evidence that investigators look for is a pornography collection, either in print or digitally stored in a computer. It is very possible for innocent people to be in possession of such materials, however, but police and prosecutors often look on this as an indication that a person may be involved in illegal sexual activity. Sometimes, suspects will have time to destroy digital or print images and videos before investigators can review it, which leaves police with less evidence to bolster shaky testimony or weak DNA test results.
If you are investigated for a sex crime in Michigan, the most important first step to take is contacting a lawyer. To learn more about the investigative process or for answers to any other questions you may have about pre-file criminal cases, call 1-800-342-7896 or contact our team online for a free case consultation. Grabel & Associates is committed to aggressive defense in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and throughout Michigan.