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Sex Crime Investigations

Any report of an alleged sex crime involving children will usually trigger two types of investigations. The Child Protective Services (CPS) program of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will typically conduct a civil investigation that is intended to determine whether a child has been the victim of a sex crime and could be at risk of future abuse and neglect.

However, law enforcement will often conduct the criminal investigations of alleged sex crimes. For an alleged offender, it is enormously critical to have legal representation as soon as he or she is aware that police are conducting such an investigation.

Dallas Sex Crime Investigations Lawyer

Are you currently under investigation in regards to an alleged sex crime involving children? You will want to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Paul Stuckle of Stuckle & Associates PLLC aggressively defends clients all over North Texas in these types of cases, including residents of such areas as Arlington, Garland, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Plano. He will provide a complete evaluation of your case and discuss your legal options when you when you call (972) 423-4405 or send us an online message to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Plano Sex Crime Investigations Overview

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Parties Required to Report Collin County Sex Crimes

Texas Family Code § 261.101 requires specific people having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person to immediately make a report to any local or state law enforcement agency, DFPS, the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred, the agency designated by the court to be responsible for the protection of children, or the Texas Youth Commission.

Individuals who are licensed or certified by Texas or employees of facilities licensed, certified, or operated by Texas and, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which a license or certification is required, have direct contact with children are required to make a report within 48 hours of having cause to believe that a child has been abused. This includes:

  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Day-care employees
  • Employees of clinics or health care facilities that provide reproductive services
  • Juvenile probation officers
  • Juvenile detention or correctional officers

This requirement also applies without exception to individuals whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including:

  • Attorneys
  • Clergy members
  • Medical practitioners
  • Social workers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Employees or members of boards that license or certify professionals
  • Employees of clinics or health care facilities that provide reproductive services

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How Dallas Police Investigate Sex Crimes

Law enforcement may conduct its own investigation or in conjunction with CPS. While CPS is investigating family matters, police will conduct criminal investigations in which they collect any evidence related to the alleged sex crime.

Generally, law enforcement investigations of these cases will often involve:

  • Interviewing victims, witnesses, and alleged offenders
  • Collecting photographic evidence of injuries
  • Medical examinations of alleged victims for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Conducting diagnostic imaging studies (such as x-rays or CT scans) of alleged victims
  • Provide crisis intervention and counseling

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Issues with Child Sex Crime Victim Interviews in Collin County

One major recurring issue with investigations of alleged sexual abuse of children is improper lines of questioning in alleged victims interviews. Police officers who have personal biases or were insufficiently trained may commit any one of the following errors during an interview of an alleged victim:

  • Exerting Influence — Children are naturally inclined to believe adults and, thus, want to satisfy people who they perceive as having authority. An adult may garner a false confession from a child if the interviewer incorporates his or her own point of view or casts the alleged offender in an unfavorable light.
  • Forms of Reinforcement — Rewarding or punishing a child for his or her answers or interview conduct can clearly influence how he or she responds to questions. Some examples of reinforcement during an interview of an alleged victim may include praising the child for making allegations, calling the child a liar for not making allegations, implying that the child would be helpful by making allegations, or providing any type of gifts for making allegations.
  • Indirect Interviewing — Interviews of alleged victims should rely on direct descriptions of what they saw or experienced, but an interviewer may compromise accuracy if he or she asks the child to speculate about what could have happened, encourages the child to pretend or imagine during any part of the interview, or utilizes dolls or puppets as part of the interview.
  • Peer Pressure — It is inappropriate for an interviewer to introduce what other friends or family members have supposedly said about an alleged offender when interviewing the alleged victim. Children are extremely likely to make their answers conform with the responses already given by their peers.
  • Repeated Questions or Misinformation — An interviewer might elicit a false response by repeating the same questions multiple times, often causing the child to believe his or her first answer was incorrect. If misinformation is introduced and repeated across multiple interviews, it can cause children to give inaccurate responses.
  • Suggestive Questioning — Ambiguous questions about “touching” can be interpreted by the interviewer as implying sexual abuse when a child may not have made such a distinction between appropriate and inappropriate contact. This problem is indicative in questions about specific body areas of inappropriate touching when a child had not mentioned any such touching or forced choice questions like, “Was it a good touch or bad touch?”

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Mistakes of Alleged Offenders in Plano Sex Crimes

As soon as a person learns that he or she is under investigation for any type of sex crime involving a child, it is critical for him or her to be represented by a capable criminal defense lawyer. Individuals who attempt to handle these situations without attorneys often make any one of a number of mistakes that have profoundly negative impacts on their case.

Even when people are completely certain that they are innocent of alleged sex crime charges, it is important to understand that inaccurate statements or inappropriate actions can easily result in additional consequences. Some examples of errors people without legal representation may make include, but are not limited to:

  • Agreeing to polygraph tests
  • Allowing police search or seizure without a warrant
  • Being confrontational with law enforcement or resisting arrest
  • Discussing the case with inmates, jail staff, or on jail phone
  • Making statements to police
  • Providing voluntary samples of fingerprints or bodily fluids
  • Using false or inaccurate alibis

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Find a Sex Crime Investigations Lawyer in Dallas

If you are being investigated for any type of sex crime involving children, you should immediately seek the help of a knowledgeable and hard-working criminal defense attorney. Paul Stuckle has more than 25 years of legal experience with these types of cases and helps achieve the most favorable outcomes for people all over North Texas.

Stuckle & Associates PLLC represents people throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including such communities as Garland, Plano, and Arlington. Call (972) 423-4405 or send our firm an online message to take advantage of a free consultation that will let our firm review your case.