Sexual relations with someone else who has not given their consent is considered a sex crime in most states in the nation.
Rape is often the first crime that people consider when thinking about sexual offenses, but there is a long laundry list of other actions that may fit into this category. It is important to know the laws in your state and how they will apply to any person who is accused of a sexual crime.
Anyone who has been convicted of one of the crimes, whether it is rape or sexual assault against an adult, crimes against children, crimes against nature, or crimes against a relative, will face harsh punishments and penalties if they are convicted. In many cases, especially if you do not have the right criminal defense lawyer working for you, these consequences are ones that will haunt you the rest of your life.
Society, as well as the policy makers who work for them, have spent a lot of time finding the most effective methods to help protect the public from anyone who is a sex offender. A sex offender is any person who has had a conviction of certain sex crimes, including misconduct with a minor and sexual assault. Because of how serious these crimes are, there are a lot of different factors that will be taken into consideration when it comes to the penalties and sentencing for those who are sex offenders, both at the federal and state levels.
Finding a way to avoid many of these punishments can be difficult and almost impossible once the accusations start. Since these allegations are enough to make it impossible to work in some locations and can even determine where you live, it is important to find the right criminal defense lawyer to help you from the beginning.
Common Sex Offenses
There are a number of different actions that are considered sex offenses and that clients can be charged for. The definition of a sex crime will differ based on the specific jurisdiction you belong to. However, there are some core offenses that most jurisdictions will agree with. Some states will also outlaw additional acts specifically as well. Some of the most common sex offenses in each state include:
- Crimes against sex for sale: This would include any kind of prostitution and escort services. Most states do not allow for prostitution in any form and being caught on either side can lead to a sexual offense.
- Crimes against nature: These types of sexual offenses are ones that most people in society would find appalling and therefore can carry higher penalties. They will include any form of bestiality, sodomy, and indecently exposing yourself while in public.
- Crimes against children: These sexual offenses are often the hardest to fight against and can carry huge implications that will affect the rest of your life. If convicted, they will influence where you can work, where you can live, and more. They will include any kind of sexual crime against a child including abduction, molestation, exploitation, and pornography.
- Crimes against relatives: This will include any kind of sexual offense against someone in your family. It could include crimes against children as well if the crimes are against a child in the same family. Often it refers to incest in particular.
- Crimes against adults: This will include any sexual crime against another adult. It may include some actions like marital rape, sexual assault, and rape.
Since each state is different, it is possible that our clients will come to us and have a charge for another type of sexual crime. Some of the laws in place for sexual offenses are intuitive and most people in society will recognize that these are a problem from the beginning. Others have been adopted to deal with particular problems.
For example, there are some states who have changed their sexual offenses to target employees at schools who have sex with students and this is now a specific sex crime that can be charged against that person.
Sex Crimes and Computers
Since so many people spend a lot of time on their computers in our modern world, there are many states that have moved to change the sexual misconduct laws to include actions that are done on these devices. In particular, these new regulations are on how the Internet is used and the electronic transfer of data. While there are a number of different types of regulations about these computers, a good example is that most states see it as a crime to distribute images of a child engaged in sexual conduct through email or via a computer.
Many people do stupid things on their computers and assume that all that information will stay safe without anyone else finding out about it. This is a false sense of security. If the authorities have reason to suspect that you have or are transporting sexual material on your computer, especially when it relates to children, they can get a warrant to confiscate your computer and take a look. Never assume that your information will stay private on your computer, especially if that information includes sexual misconduct.
State vs. Federal Laws for Sex Offenses
Most offenses that involve sexual crimes will fall into the jurisdiction of the state. There are some sexual offenses that fall under federal law instead though. This will include sexual offenses that are committed in a territorial jurisdiction of the United States or those that occur in a federal prison. If an individual crosses international or state borders to commit the sexual offense, it will become a federal matter.
Common Convictions for Sexual Misconduct
The convictions for sexual misconduct will vary depending on the type of sexual crime, the severity of the crime, and how many times it has happened. Sexual crimes that include kidnapping or physically harming the other person (such as beating them), or sexual crimes against children are often given stiffer penalties than other sexual crimes.
To start, many sexual crimes will require some time spent in prison if a conviction occurs. This can range for a few months for a single sexual act up to many years if it occurred many times or with a child. Penalties are not uncommon either, with the fees ranging from a couple hundred dollars to much more.
Our team can work with you to come up with the best defense to help keep the conviction down as much as possible. There are different plea bargains and negotiations that we can do to limit your fees and keep you out of jail.
If you do receive a conviction for the sexual crime charge, be aware that you will most likely need to register for the sex offenders registry in your area. Most states require this for any sexual crime, though there are some variance based on the type and severity of the crime. If you move, you will need to register again in your new area. It is imperative that you maintain your name on the registry and not commit any more crimes at all if you hope to appeal this decision and get your name off the sex offender registry at some point. Some states will allow this but you need to toe the line and follow all of their rules.
Keep in mind with sexual crimes, if the action happened more than once, even if it was the same action, it can be brought up on separate charges each time. So, if an individual partakes in prostitution more than once, they may face charges for each time. This can make the penalties more severe and can quickly add up in time in prison and the amount of fees. Our team can work with you to help limit the number of charges added to your conviction to help minimize jail time and penalties.
Sex Offender Laws
Once you are convicted of a sex crime, most states will require you to register on the sex offender registration in any state that you reside in once you are done with the prison sentence. There are also stipulations with the registration that you will need to adhere to and extreme punishments are handed out if you do violate this.
Each state is different on how long the individual must register as a sex offender. In those states, it will depend on the type of crime and the severity of the sexual action. Something like prostitution may lead to a lesser sentence where the individual can remove themselves from the registry over time with good behavior, while heinous sexual crimes against children would require the individual to stay on the registry for life.
When the individual moves to a new area, they will need to register again in that new area and let local authorities know. The sex offender will often be given a timeframe in which to get this done. If they let this time lapse, then there are severe punishments when they are found, including additional time in prison. Separate charges can be brought against the individual if the registration is not done on time.
Depending on the state, information about the sex offender is open to those willing to do an internet search. Sometimes different characteristics of the offender are available with a picture in some states. This can affect the registrant when they want to secure a job or obtain a home, even if the job is one that they could have even with their sex offender status.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Help with My Case
If you are facing a sexual crime charge, it is important to hire the right team to help get through your case. It is really hard to handle these kinds of cases on your own and one misspoken sentence can make everything so much worse for you. There are a number of benefits to hiring the right criminal defense lawyer for your needs including:
- They know the legal system: If you want to win your case, you need someone who really understands the legal field and all the steps as they happen. The best criminal defense lawyers are experts in criminal law and have studied it for years. This helps them to provide a solid case that will defend you the best.
- They know the right tactics: A good criminal defense team knows the right tactics that will help you win your case or at least limit the amount of the conviction. They also understand the other people involved, including the judges and other lawyers, to make sure to play the right cards.
- Prevent the big penalties: A criminal lawyer can step in and work as your shield against harsh prosecutors who want to give you stiff penalties in this case and other criminal cases. Even if you are found guilty and convicted, your attorney will make sure that your penalty is fair for the situation.
- Are efficient at handling the case: Since criminal attorneys understand the ropes and have handled cases for a long time, they can do so much more efficiently than you can do on your own. They know what resources to get, which experts to bring in and more. You could do this on your own, but that often leads to a disaster and you not getting the results that you want.
- They save time and money: Despite the common misconception about criminal attorneys, most are there to save you time and money. They may have a fee upfront that seems high, but when you look at how much time they can save you during the proceedings and how much you will pay in penalties on the case.
Never go alone when it comes to your criminal defense case against a sexual crime. These cases can get bad quickly and it is always a good idea to have someone on your side. Our team has the knowledge and expertise to make sure this goes your way. Contact us today when you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side.