When you have been accused of a sexual offence this is no small thing, and while your first response may be to panic or seek out contact with the person who made the allegation, neither of these are wise or will be beneficial if your case goes any further. The first thing you need to do is seek out legal representation to begin building your case.
This is because in the UK, sexual offences and in particular rape or abuse of a minor are some of the most serious crimes that you can be accused of and if found guilty, they can lead to huge legal ramifications and long custodial sentences. So, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate defence in place.
But during this process, you will probably have some common questions that you want answered and may even have some old myths relating to sexual offence floating around in your mind. Is it just your word against theirs? Is it worth hiring a legal representative?
In this article, some of the most commonly searched questions relating to sexual offences are answered.
Why do I need to seek out a solicitor?
It is a common stance that many people take; if you have sought the advice of a sexual offence solicitor then surely that means you’re guilty, doesn’t it? No, this is not the case at all and if you fail to seek advice from a legal team as soon as you are accused, this can actually have longer detrimental impacts on your case and even any sentencing or court appearances. You need a legal representative to be able to defend your corner as early as possible, because that way any charges or sentences will likely be minor or dropped altogether.
Isn’t it just my word against theirs?
In some cases, yes, it is just your word against theirs, but if there were witnesses, or if there is forensic evidence then obviously, this is not the case. Even if you may see a sexual offence accusation as a minor thing, which it really isn’t, you will still need to seek legal representation.
What is the sentencing for sexual offences in the UK?
Because sexual offence covers such a wide range of accusations, there are wide-ranging sentences. For instance, if you have been found guilty of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, the maximum sentence in the UK is 14 years imprisonment. If you are accused of rape, there is no minimum sentence and an average sentence can be as long as 10 years, so make sure you seek out legal representation.
Will a ‘not guilty’ verdict impact my job?
No, if you are found not guilty of the sexual offences with which you are accused, this will not have an impact on your job. If it does, you can contact your defence team for further legal assistance.
What if I have been falsely accused?
If you have been falsely accused of a sexual offence, you will still need to seek legal representation to defend yourself. You will need to find a defence team who is trained in managing cases where somebody has been falsely accused, so be sure to shop around.