Satawa Law, PLLC Is Committed to Being Your Trusted Legal Team
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve been arrested. What are my rights?
Upon arrest, a police officer or sheriff’s deputy may have read you what is referred to as Miranda Rights or Miranda Warnings. This is true anytime the police attempt to engage in any “custodial interrogation” — in other words, anytime the police wish ask you questions when you are in custody. Your Miranda Rights protect your Fifth Amendment rights, which include your ability to retain legal counsel and your right to remain silent. In order to avoid self-incrimination, you are allowed to have a lawyer present upon police arrest, investigation, or questioning, and you can assert your right to remain silent when confronted and/or questioned by police officers.
If I have been accused or convicted of a sex crime, will I be forced to terminate my rights as a parent?
Crimes of a sexual nature are among the most complex. If you have been arrested, charged, or convicted, Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved in your case. In certain circumstances, the CPS may conduct investigations to determine if things like child abuse, neglect, or other unlawful behavior may serve as grounds to terminate your parental rights.
There is a lot of evidence against me. Are there any defense strategies for my case?
Every case is different, but we strongly believe that every person should have their day in court. Do not make the costly assumption that the evidence against you is so overwhelming that you must run into court and take the first plea bargain that is offered. Many times, we are able to leverage favorable evidence gathered in the pre-trial phases that can help mitigate, reduce, acquit, or even dismiss criminal charges. In some instances, expert testimony, eyewitnesses, certain psychological research, DNA, or other forensic evidence can serve as the “smoking gun” that helps turn around an unwinnable case.
How are sex offenses punished?
Punishment for a sex offense can vary dramatically depending on the exact charge. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction (such as indecent exposure) may receive less than a year of jail time, a fine, community service, counseling or probation. A felony, on the other hand, may be punished by a lengthy prison term (sometimes up to a life sentence). Additionally, most convicted sex offenders are required to register on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”) and the Federal Adam Walsh Act (“SORNA”), and multiple convictions will often lead to even greater punishments.
Do I really need a lawyer?
The short answer is a definitive yes. More than any other offense, a specialist in sex crimes and child abuse can have a significant effect on the outcome. If you are eventually charged with a crime, the court will force you to have a lawyer — even if they have to appoint you a public defender. But the key is the earlier you get an attorney working for you, the more impact that attorney can have on the ultimate result in your case. That allows a lawyer to not only begin legal research and consider legal defenses, but also conduct factual investigation such as finding and interviewing witnesses, photographing important scenes, and collecting and preserving physical evidence such emails, text messages, and voicemails. Do not wait to be charged — the police and prosecutor are working to build a case against you, and will likely pressure you to take a polygraph in an effort to coerce a confession from you. So you need a lawyer to not only run interference for you, but to be doing the same to defend you — building your case.
How can Satawa Law, PLLC help me?
We fight, and we win cases. Rest assured that we will defend you, and serve as your voice in court. As highly experienced Michigan sex crimes and child abuse lawyers, we understand the ins and outs of the science, medicine, evidence, psychology, and the law in these specialized cases. In fact, we have successfully represented hundreds of clients who have been accused or arrested for sex crimes and child abuse. We take your case seriously and can be trusted to stand beside you, investigate every avenue of defense, defend your rights, protect you future, and help you secure the results you need.
More Questions? Call Us at (248) 356-8320 & Request Your Free and Confidential Consultation.
If you have more questions or concerns, we would be more than happy to discuss those issues in detail. Give our office a call at your earliest convenience and we can help you better understand your options or rights. We always handle every case with the utmost respect and honor and can provide a confidential consultation at no charge or obligation to you.
False Allegations of Sexual Assault
As experts and specialists in sexual assault, we are often asked – is it true that sex crimes and sexual assault is under reported?
Well, the answer is interesting. While there are multiple studies that sex crimes are, in fact, the most under reported crime, that is only half the story. Because at the same time they are as many (or even more) studies that show that sexual assault is also the most over reported crime, and by a large margin.
Let’s start with the Department of Justice. A pretty credible source, right? The DOJ reports (in two separate studies done by the FBI), the following:
These statistics, found on the FBI website, show that false allegations of forced sexual assault at around 8%, or FOUR TIMES higher than other violent crimes (which come in at 2%). It also equates to almost 1 in 10 sexual assault allegations as being false. From a LAW ENFORCEMENT study. That is a staggering statistic.
However, the story does not end there. Studies done by academics instead of law enforcement, put the figure of false reports as high as 40 to 50%.
40%. See, Kanin, Eugene J., “False Rape Allegations”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 1, Feb 1994, p. 81 (40%) (https://archive.org/stream/FalseRapeAllegations/false-rape-allegations-archive_djvu.txt)
6% are provable false, while another 44% do not have enough evidence to proceed. See, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/416536/how-common-are-false-rape-charges-really-jason-richwine.
Peter Neufeld and Barry C. Scheck, prominent criminal attorneys and co-founders of the Innocence Project, in their book actual innocence: “Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing. Specifically, FBI officials report that out of roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases since 1989, about 2,000 tests have been inconclusive, about 2,000 tests have excluded the primary suspect, and about 6,000 have “matched” or included the primary suspect.
10.9% (“false/malicious” claims) and 25% (recorded by police as “no-crime”). See, Harris, J., & Grace, S. (1999). A question of evidence? Investigating and prosecuting rape in the 1990s (Home Office Research Study, No. 196). London, England: Home Office. (https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110218144322/http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hors196.pdf)
41% (“false” claims) 38% (viewed by police as “possibly true/possibly false”). See, Jordan, J. (2004). Beyond belief? Police, rape and women’s credibility. Criminal Justice, 4, 29-59.
Yet even more studies and data can be found:
True and false allegations in sexual abuse in child custody disputes. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 25, 449–456. (https://www.jaacap.org/article/S0002-7138(10)60001-5/pdf)
Kanin, E. J. (1994). False rape allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 81–92. (https://www.aals.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Bowen-Kanin-False-Rape-Empirical.pdf).
Lamb, M. E., Sternberg, K. J., Esplin, P. W., Hershkowitz, I., & Orbach, Y. (1997). Assessing the credibility of children’s allegations of sexual abuse: A survey of recent research. Learning and Individual Differences, 9, 175–194. (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/53cd/306573a1567145e2680ccd6fb2eea082b3a2.pdf).
Levitt, A., & The Crown Prosecution Service Equality and Diversity Unit. (2013). Charging perverting the course of justice and wasting police time in cases involving allegedly false rape and domestic violence allegations. (http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/research/perverting_course_of_justice_march_2013.pdf).
McNamara, J. J., McDonald, S., & Lawrence, J. M. (2012). Characteristics of false allegation adult crimes. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57, 643–646. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.02019.x).
Sheridan, L. P., &Blaauw, E. (2004). Characteristics of false stalking reports. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 31, 55–72 (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/860a/cab9e1a291151c895721647d868a34ce0096.pdf).
Spohn, C., White, C., &Tellis, K. (2014). Unbounding sexual assault: Examining the decision to unfound and identifying false reports. Law and Society Review, 48, 161–192. (https://www.rienner.com/uploads/526055ba401ff.pdf).
Obviously one false allegation of sexual assault is too many. Just ask the 3 Duke LAX players what kind of impact false allegations had on their schooling, academics, athletic career, and life. However, there is overwhelming evidence to support the idea that false allegations of sexual assault happen, and they happen far more often than anyone would ever want to believe – particularly police and prosecutors.
Don’t become a statistic. If you are charged or threatened with a sexual assault allegation, call the sex crimes specialists at Satawa Law today. It will be the best call you ever make.