What to do if the police want me to come in for questioning regarding a sexual misconduct case?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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What to do if the police want me to come in for questioning regarding a sexual misconduct case?

I am being accused of “sexting” a 16 year old. I am a 40 year old male and he is my nephew (through foster family, not blood relative). I did not do these things, however he had in the past texted me messages that were sexual in nature. I choose to ignore them. His family has recently accused me of doing sending him messages, and 3 weeks later, a detective has contacted me to ask me to come in for a few questions to “get my side of the story”. What are my rights? My biggest question is do I have to go in to answer questions? If so, how much time to I have to find an attorney (I can’t afford one) to go into the questioning with me?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under no circumstances speak with the police without having an attorney present.  The fact is that you are under no obligation to go in.  You could easily and inadvertently say something incriminating about yourself regarding this incident. In fact even if the police come to your home to question you, you do not need to speak with them. 

Questioning you without your having an attorney by your side is to their benefit. Make no mistake, if they can they will try and get you to implicate yourself.  So no matter how friendly they may appear ("We only want to ask a few questions"; "We just want to get your side of the story", etc), or conversely, no matter how intimidating and threatening they seem ("It would be in your best interests to speak with us") -  do not do so without a lawyer. 

If money is an issue, see if legal aid will help you out here. If not, contact the bar association in the county in which all of this has occurred; many times they will have a list of attorneys who will take such a case for free depending on your income/circumstances. Finally check to see if there is a law school nearby; typically they run free/low cost clinics that might take your case.  Even if you have to borrow money , you really need to consult with a criminal law attorney ASAP. This situation could go from bad to worse, and very quickly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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