On Friday, July 25, 80-year-o9ld Jose G. Espitia waived his right to a preliminary hearing after appearing before Saginaw County District Judge M.T. Thompson on sexual assault charges, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Espitia is accused of sexually assaulting a young female relative, and is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a relative, and two counts of first-degree CSC against someone younger than 13.
Espitia was arrested by Buena Vista police on July 11 for allegedly sexually assaulting the young girl from 2008 until just last month. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is being held on a $200,000 bond.
If convicted, Espitia could face up to life in prison. The mandatory minimum prison sentence is 25 years when an individual is convicted of first-degree CSC involving someone younger than 13 years of age. News reports state that Espitia can go forward with a trial, accept a plea agreement from prosecutors, or plead guilty or no contest to the charges now that he is in Circuit Court.
Michigan sex crime attorneys know there are several legal options for individuals who are accused of sexual assault and other similar crimes. How a defendant proceeds is often based on whether he/she is guilty or innocent, the strength of the evidence, and other factors. Typically, if a defendant is guilty and accepts a plea agreement, charges are reduced which results in less damaging criminal penalties.
The most important step anyone who is accused of sexual assault, rape, child pornography, or any related crime can take is to speak with a seasoned Michigan sex crime lawyer. An arrest does not mean you will be found guilty. You are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will work to ensure your legal rights are protected, and to help you determine the best legal strategy to achieve a positive outcome. Through thorough review and examination of your case, your lawyer may also discover errors that were made by police or investigators which could work to your advantage. The biggest mistake you could make is to proceed without the guidance of a capable attorney.