Defending against criminal charges is never a one-size-fits-all matter. Different types of criminal charges carry varying potential consequences and demand defense strategies based on careful analysis of the allegations involved. This is particularly true in sensitive cases like sex crimes.
A recent example comes from a community about an hour south of Morristown. A young woman who graduated from the local high school six years ago had just recently landed a job back at the school as an English teacher. Now, she has been indicted by a grand jury on sexual assault charges involving one of her students.
Authorities claim that the abuse took place in 2013 when the alleged male victim was 15-years-old. The defendant is in her mid-twenties. She is accused of having a sexual relationship with the boy over a period of six months.
Claims like these often garner a flurry of media attention, accompanied by shock and outrage in commentaries and editorials. In this uproar it can be all too easy to overlook the fact that every defendant is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Sex crime charges can begin affecting a defendant’s personal and professional life, with strained or severed relationships and lost employment, even before a criminal trial can begin.
However, a criminal defense professional will never lose sight of this fundamental right, bearing in mind that defendants in cases like this face potential long-term consequences including sex offender registration under Megan’s Law if convicted. This is an important aspect of sex crime cases which we’ll examine in more detail in a follow-up post.