If you are facing a sexual assault allegation in Illinois, it is understandable to feel scared and helpless. The law is complex and you have probably seen actors playing out scenes on TV involving sexual assault, where the alleged accuser always wins.
It is critically important to know that an accusation of sexual assault does not automatically lead to a conviction. However, you must fight the charge, ideally with highly experienced counsel, because the consequences of a conviction could be life-altering and incredibly damaging to you.
Exercise your right to remain silent
If police are at your door to arrest you for a sex offense or you expect to be arrested, refrain from making any statements to law enforcement or anyone else without your attorney present.
Police often try to get you to talk to them without an attorney, so some law enforcement officers may use dishonest tactics to get you to talk with them about what did or did not happen. Exercise your right to remain silent, and politely request to speak to an attorney.
Hire an experienced attorney
Perhaps the most important part of this situation is hiring the right criminal defense attorney. Hire someone who has experience in sex crime cases and who has a record of success.
Sometimes people make false accusations of sexual assault. In many of these cases (although not all), the alleged victim communicates with the alleged perpetrator to let them know the alleged victim will talk to police and try to get the accused person arrested.
This is when you must document everything and preserve all evidence: phone calls, text messages, clothing, witnesses’ names, and any other piece of evidence that will serve your defense later on.
In addition, it is important to:
- Write your recollection of events as soon as possible after the alleged event happened
- Avoid contact with the accuser and document any attempt on their part to contact you
- Prepare yourself for legal proceedings that can be long and complex
An accusation of sexual assault is serious and could have long-term consequences for the accused. For more on these matters, please see our overview of strategic defense against sex crime allegations.