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Role of an Attorney in Somerset County Sex Crime Cases

A lawyer can be a great help to their client in a Somerset County sex crimes case, because they will have knowledge and experience that a layman will not. Generally, only a lawyer will understand the hearsay rules, and it takes an attorney who has experience with these types of cases to be able to recognize them. For example, if the state wants to introduce the statements of a child victim through a social worker, this actually requires a completely separate hearing regarding that matter.

The role of an attorney in a Somerset sex crime case can involve many different things and it can really vary. It may start out with a very broad, but thorough, analysis and review of the evidence. That would include testimonial evidence from witnesses and also any physical evidence that the state would attempt to introduce. An attorney can review all of that and determine if any of that evidence is inadmissible and what sort of argument would have to be made when trying to get the court to rule that some of the evidences is inadmissible. Some of that evidence might require the attorney to request some very particular type of hearing, for example, that has to take place before trial. That may lead to talking about exactly what the defense trial strategy is and thinking about pleading not guilty and going to trial. Or the role might pivot to one of mitigating the consequences and talking about a potential plea and what is the right plea that will best serve the client.

Bringing Experience to a Defense

Lawyers have the training and experience to understand how to cross examine, for example, a sexual assault nurse, who the state would intend to call to testify as to a forensic examination of the victim. There are some things that only an experienced attorney is going to know—what applies and what does not, what can be argued and what cannot be argued, what evidence is allowable and what evidence is not. It is extremely important for anyone who has been charged with a sentence like this to seek out the help of an experienced Somerset County attorney who understands these cases.

Reviewing Physical Evidence

The other important role that an attorney can provide is a review of any physical evidence the state wants to use and then considering if it would be worthwhile to have an independent expert review that evidence. A good example of that is the evidence that can be presented regarding a sexual assault examination by a nurse. If the state intends to introduce that report or have that nurse testify as to the result of the examination, the attorney may decide that it would be worthwhile to have a different expert review that material and look to see if there were any violations of protocol or anything in the original examination that could skew the findings. 

A lawyer with experience could know expert witnesses who would be helpful in refuting the State’s evidence.

Considering a Plea Deal

Sometimes the attorney and the client in a Somerset sex crimes case may come to the decision that the best way to handle the case is to attempt to negotiate a plea and the role of the attorney at that point turns into working out the best potential plea offer for the client. An experienced attorney is going to be much more successful in a plea negotiation. An experienced attorney is going to know what would be an appropriate plea and what factors need to be taken into consideration for the type of plea. For example, some sex offenses are deemed crimes of violence under Maryland law. Therefore, an individual, if sentenced, would have to serve 50% of their sentence before even being eligible for parole. That is very different than pleading to a crime that is not a crime of violence where realistically an individual will be eligible for parole once they have served 25% or even less of their sentence. An experienced attorney will also know if there is any offense that could be pleaded to where an individual will not actually have to register as a sex offender.