Wrongly Accused of Child Molestation under California Penal Code 288 - Increasing Your Chances of Winning
by Devin Weisberg, Attorney at Law
This guide summarizes the steps you should take when you have been wrongly accused of child molestation. By following these simple guidelines you will increase your chances of winning in Court and saving your reputation.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent – Silence is Golden!
The importance of remaining silent cannot be stressed enough. It is one of the most important rights that an accused is given under the United States Constitution. Yet, so many people ignore this right. You must never forget your right to remain silent.
Focus on the “BigBattle" in Court – Not the “Little Battles"
When you are faced with an accusation as horrible as child molestation, it is the natural tendency to want to explain to everyone how it could not have happened. In a moment of desperation you may find yourself piecing together past events and trying to convince your family, friends, and law enforcement that you are innocent. It is during this time of desperation that you will say things that should not be said and that will almost certainly be used against you.
If you want to come out ahead in this battle, you MUST remain silent. You MUST NOT try to explain your version of the events to anyone other than your attorney. Everything you say, WILL be used against you – everything.
Remember, when you are accused of sexually molesting a child, the entire world is already against you. There is little you can say to convince the world otherwise. You should focus all your energy on trying to win the big battle in court and not on trying to win the little battles with your friends, family, and law enforcement. There is nothing more convincing of your innocence than a finding of “Not Guilty" in a Court of Law.
The Police Want Me to Go Down to the Police Station – Should I Go?
Police will often trick you into going down to the police station to “tell your side of the story." What you should know is that the police plan to put you in a small room and interrogate you using various police tactics to try and get you to “confess". They will secretly record the entire interrogation and will use anything you say against you when you eventually have to face a jury in Court. Once the police have finished interrogating you, they will place you under arrest. Why do the Police do this? Police invite you to “tell your side of the story" at the police station so that they do not have to go looking for you to arrest you. Also, you will likely be more willing to speak to them if you are unaware that you are about to be arrested.
The best strategy to deal with this police tactic is to prepare. You will have to come to terms with the fact that if the police are inviting you to “tell your side of the story" at the police station it is likely that they will arrest you once they are done talking to you. Instead of going down to the police station by yourself, you should seek the assistance of an attorney to communicate on your behalf and arrange a convenient time for you to surrender voluntarily on your terms. By doing it this way, you will benefit by 1) being more mentally prepared, 2) being able to make arrangements with your employer beforehand, 3) being able to arrange for the care of your loved ones, and 4) being able to arrange for a bail bondsman to bail you out immediately so that you do not have to sit in jail longer than necessary.
What Do I Do Once I Am In The Interrogation Room?
Fake Polygraph Tests Tactic
If you simply cannot help yourself and insist on going down to the police station anyway, you will experience several interrogation tactics that are designed to get you to “confess" to the crime. The police may offer to give you a lie detector test (polygraph). Of course, since you believe in your innocence, you will willingly submit to this lie detector test. What you should know is that a polygraph test is never admissible as evidence in a California Court of Law. Also, any evidence that shows that you refused to take a polygraph when offered one will not be allowed as evidence against you in your court trial.
So why do the police offer a polygraph test in the first place if it is not even recognized by a Court of Law as evidence? The police offer you a polygraph test as part of an interrogation tactic called a “ruse". The ruse will go something like this: The police will tell you that if you are telling the truth then you won’t mind taking a polygraph test. You will very eagerly agree to take the polygraph because as far as you are concerned you are innocent. The police will administer a polygraph on you. You will answer all the questions truthfully – including the one where you deny ever having molested a child. The police will shake their heads from side to side and tell you that you failed the polygraph and that you might as well confess to the crime.
Even the strong-willed will be psychologically impacted by this shocking development that somehow the lie detector shows you lied. So why is it that the lie detector shows that you lied when you, in fact, told the truth? The fact is that the lie detector did not show you lied. That is merely what the police told you in order to “psych you out" and get you to “confess" to a crime that you did not commit. Surprisingly, there are many who when faced with this situation will begin to doubt themselves and start to wonder if they actually committed a crime that they could not remember. They will make statements to the police as follows: “Well, if I did it just like the Victim says I did, then I must have done it since I failed the lie detector. But I swear! I do not remember ever doing anything so heinous." Under the law, this jumbled statement is what is considered an adoptive admission. In other words, for purposes of the law, you just confessed to being a child molester!
The “We Already Know Everything" Tactic
The police may tell you that they already know everything about the case and have “medical evidence" and “fingerprints" so that there is no point in you denying the charges anymore. This statement is designed to make a person accused of child molestation to lose focus and to simply give up on defending themselves. It is part of the process of breaking you down. Keep in mind that if the police really had all that evidence, they would have no need to get “your side of the story." In other words, if the case against you is so strong then why don’t they just arrest you instead of trying to get you to confess? The truth of the matter is that in most child molestation cases, medical evidence and fingerprints are non-existent. In fact, this type of evidence is not even collected by police in cases where more than two days have gone by after the alleged molestation. So, if you are confronted with this statement regarding fingerprints and medical evidence, you must remain focused and always maintain your innocence.
How Do I Exercise My Right to Remain Silent?
The first thing you must do whenever you are being interrogated by police is to demand an attorney. In fact, that is the only thing you should say! Under the law, once you demand an attorney the police must stop questioning you. If the police continue to question you then you must remain focused and remain silent.
The police will try different methods to get around your demand for an attorney. One tactic is where they will tell you that an attorney will not be available for at least two days and that you will likely have to sit in jail for those two days until an attorney comes. In your mind you may be thinking that you do not want to sit in jail for two days waiting for an attorney and that maybe if you talk to the police they will finally see that you are innocent and let you go sooner. You are dead wrong! You should never give up your right to have an attorney present even if it means you need to sit in jail for a week!
Nothing you say to the police is going to make them let you go. You have to know that. It really is not up to the police anymore. The matter must now be dealt with in a Court of Law – that is the big battle that needs to be won. Forget the little battles. Either way, you will not be waiting for two days. The fact of the matter is that the public defender’s office usually has attorneys on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist on a moment’s notice when an accused demands the assistance of an attorney. You can use the public defender’s services until you or your family can figure out if hiring a private attorney is the best choice under your particular circumstances.
How Will Remaining Silent Help My Attorney Win the BigBattlein Court?
When your attorney goes to Court for you, the prosecutor will hand him or her a packet called “Discovery". The Discovery contains all the evidence that will be used against you if the case goes to trial. If you have followed the guidelines discussed in this article, your attorney will not have to deal with false confessions or any statements you may have made that hurt your case. All your attorney will have to worry about is showing that your accuser is not telling the truth. Most California Penal Code Section 288 (aka child molestation) type cases are lost in Court because of the statements made by the person accused. If you have not made any statements, then you will at least have a fighting chance in one of the biggest battles of your life.