Law enforcement in Michigan takes sex crimes and allegations extremely seriously. Due to the specialized nature of sex crimes, many police agencies have designated officers and detectives with specific and in-depth training in regard to investigating sex crime cases. Further, many prosecutor’s offices have a specific team of prosecutors that exclusively handle sex crime cases.
The decision of whether to investigate a sex crime allegation starts with the police department that receives the report, call, or complaint. A sex crime case generally starts with an alleged victim or an alleged victim’s family member reporting a complaint to the police department in which the alleged incident occurred. Every report of a sex crime made to the police is investigated.
Once the police receive the complaint, they begin by assigning a detective to meet with the alleged victim and obtain the alleged victim’s statement of events. If during that meeting, the alleged victim identified other individuals, the detective would continue their investigation by contacting those individuals to provide statements as well. Then, the detective would reach out to the person who has been accused of the alleged crime in an attempt to retrieve their statement about the incident. Many individuals who are innocent of sex crimes want to prove their innocence and give a statement to the police to do so. DO NOT speak with the police, make a statement, take a polygraph, or turn over any evidence without first retaining an attorney.
In sex crime cases the most common evidence is witness statements. That includes the alleged victim’s statement as well. Witness statements can be obtained quickly and easily by the detective. Electronic evidence, such as text messages, social media messages, and recordings can also be helpful to investigators during sex crime cases. Detectives will ask the accused to turn over their cell phones for investigation purposes. A warrant is not required if you voluntarily give your phone to the detective. Consent is always an exception to the search warrant requirement, so remember to never consent to a search or turn over potential evidence, voluntarily.
Polygraph examinations are frequently used by law enforcement in sex crimes cases. Innocent people often want to prove their innocence by agreeing to take a polygraph exam. A polygraph is never a good idea. A polygraph is nothing more than another way for law enforcement to obtain damaging evidence against you and in some situations, even trap you into confessing.
Additionally, physical evidence could be collected and used as well. Physical evidence, while rare, is available to detectives in many ways. One of the most popular or well known is a rate kit. In many cases, detectives will obtain a search warrant with authority to search the accused’s home and take any items that they believe could be additional evidence, such as phones, computers, clothing, etc.
Once the evidence is collected it is analyzed by law enforcement and their experts, including forensic experts, who then determine what crimes they believe have been committed. A report is then written and it is forwarded to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor then reviews the report, the facts, and evidence and determines which elements of which crimes they believe can be proven in court. The only thing the prosecutor needs to charge an accused is probable cause, or, evidence that you “probably” committed the crime. This is the lowest burden of proof in our criminal justice system.
From there, the prosecutor issues the charges, a warrant is authorized for the accused’s arrest, and the case begins.
If you are being investigated for a sex crime in Michigan, you need experienced sex crime attorneys on your side. You need Tanis Schultz PLLC. Our knowledge of sex crime cases, investigations, and processes puts us in a position to prove your innocence and obtain the best result for you.
Contact us online or by dialing (616) 227-3737 today.