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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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.


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