If you are under investigation for or have been charged with a sex offense, you must be very careful what you do or say. The services of an experienced, qualified attorney cannot be underestimated. Sex offenses in Tennessee carry very harsh and long-term consequences, such as community supervision for life.
For certain sex offenses, a conviction means not only the possibility of prison time, but also that you could be under the supervision of the board of probation and parole for your entire natural life. That means that for as long as you live, there will be restrictions on where you live and work, and that you will have to maintain contact with a probation officer, who has the authority to make rules regarding your travel, internet use, curfew, and other aspects of your life.
The first and most important thing is to retain the services of an attorney experienced in these matters. The second thing to do is to ensure that you do not make any statements to anyone regarding the incident. Perhaps the most important right a citizen accused of a crime has is the right to remain silent. Too often people make statements which seem innocent at the time, but end up exposing them to significant legal problems. Do not speak to anyone but your attorney about the case. This includes your accuser. A common law enforcement tactic is to have the accuser contact the suspect, and try to get the suspect to talk about the incident, while law enforcement records the conversation. Do not allow yourself to fall into this trap. Protect yourself and your rights by making sure that you don’t make any statement without your attorney present to assist you.
Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a person cannot be held to community supervision for life if they were not made aware of that punishment at the time of their plea. Read the recent Supreme Court case litigated by our office here This ruling means that some, but not all, persons who are on community supervision for life can challenge their conviction. Whether this ruling affects your case will depend on many different factors, and there is no way to make a blanket statement of who can challenge their conviction. If you have questions about your conviction, please call our office, and we’ll be happy to discuss your case with you.