Legal Blog

Accused of a Sex Crime in New Jersey? A Practical Guide to Navigating an Unfair Process – Part 3

Author Clark & Noonan, LLC
Posted August 13, 2020
Category Sex Crimes Defense

What to Do When You Are a Suspect in a Sexual Assault or Sexual Contact Investigation in New Jersey – Pre-Charge and Pre-Arrest (Continued)

Allegations of sexual assault or sexual contact in New Jersey prior to Police Involvement – Should I stop it in its tracks?

So far, we have focused on situations where the police have called you after an allegation has been made.  But, there are times when you find out that an alleged victim is contemplating going to the police but hasn’t made up her mind.  What should you do in that situation?  After all, if you play it right (so goes the thinking), maybe he or she won’t even report this alleged crime to the police.

Fight the urge to text her, her friends and family members.  Do not hit Facebook or other social media in an effort to preemptively discredit her story.  Do not try and convince her nothing happened, apologize for your behavior or offer her money for her silence (that would be a whole different crime).  Damage control is rarely successful and will usually do nothing more than create additional evidence of your guilt.  After all, who apologizes for something they didn’t do?  An apology has the appearance of guilt and will certainly be viewed that way by the police.  Text messages, Facebook postings and e-mails are some of the first things police look for when they are investigating a case. The problem, as I’ve already told you, isn’t that you will admit guilt but, rather, that you are confirming information the police would otherwise never have been able to confirm.

Rule #3 – Always assume the alleged victim will go to the police.

You have to assume the victim is going to go to the police or already has gone to the police and is not telling you. A tactic the police often utilize is the consensual overhear.  In New Jersey, a conversation between two parties can be recorded so long as at least one-party consents to the recording.  Counting on your feelings of remorse and guilt, the police “tap” the victim’s phone when she calls you.  The police then coach the alleged victim into asking you questions in an effort to get a confession.  As already mentioned earlier, innocent factual admissions can be manipulated to make you look guilty. Responses like “I don’t remember what happened” or “you seemed like you were into it” or “I didn’t realize you were passed out” are all statements that will later be used against you at trial.  You can’t claim later that you didn’t do anything when you already are on an audio recording saying you don’t remember a thing.

In a situation where the alleged victim is a relative, different family members will take different sides.  I have had cases where my clients will apologize to family members confronting them when they are not even sure of the allegation.  For example, in one case, my client was confronted by the mother of an alleged sexual assault victim.  The alleged victim was the defendant’s niece. The alleged victim’s mother began yelling at the defendant during a family birthday party. The defendant erroneously thought the mother was angry because he had driven drunk with his niece in the car on a prior occasion.  He apologized profusely stating that he should not have drunk that much.  He was completely unaware that his niece claimed he touched her inappropriately.  The mother took his apology as a confession and went straight to the police. Click here to read Part 4: Grand Jury Presentment when accused of sexual assault or sexual contact in New Jersey but you are not yet formally charged.

Contact a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at Clark and Clark, LLC

If you are accused or charged with sexual assault or sexual contact in New Jersey, we can help.  Do not navigate this unfair process alone.  Call a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey from Clark & Noonan, LLC immediately at 732-333-3011.  The consultation is free but the advice may be priceless.