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What Is a Sex Crime?
A sex crime is an unlawful activity that is sexually motivated or involves sexual contact. Sex crimes could involve unlawful sexual touching or attempted sexual conduct. Sex crimes could also involve possession, purchasing, or distributing unlawful material, like child pornography. Even consenting sexual activity between adults can be a violation of criminal law if it involves sexual services in exchange for money, such as prostitution.
Types of Sex Crimes
There are several types of offenses that are considered sex crimes. Sex crimes can involve unlawful sexual activity, possession or distribution of prohibited materials, or offering to buy or sell unlawful sexual services. Some types of sex crimes include:
- Sex trafficking
- Child sexual abuse
- Rape or sexual battery
- Statutory rape
- Prostitution or solicitation
- Child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Indecent exposure
- Child molestation
- Lewd and lascivious behavior
- Internet sex crimes
Punishment for Sex Crimes
The punishment for sex crime charges is generally based on the severity of the crime, the offender’s criminal history, the age of the alleged victim, and other relevant factors. Some states also classify sex crimes by degree and class of misdemeanor or felony.
For example, misdemeanor sexual battery could include jail time of up to one year prison time. More serious felony sexual assault could include up to five years in prison, depending on the state.
Even after serving out a sex crime prison sentence, after the prisoner is released from jail, they may still have to serve out parole. Parole involves several conditions and restrictions that can last for several years. Conditions of parole may include:
- Random drug testing
- Checking in with your parole officer
- Maintain employment
- Community service
There are also long-term consequences of a sex crime conviction. A felony crime on your record may make it more difficult to find a job, limit your housing options, and prevent you from owning a firearm.
Sex Offender Registration
Serious sex crime cases require the person convicted to register as a sex offender. After serving a prison sentence, the defendant will have to register with their local law enforcement as a sex offender. Sex offenders may be limited in the kinds of jobs they can have and where they can live. A sex offender usually must register every year and notify law enforcement if they move.
The sex offender registry is generally open to the public. People in your neighborhood can search the state sex offender registry and identify the offender’s name, address, and criminal offenses.
Sex Crime Defense Strategies
False accusations that lead to sex offense criminal charges can be devastating. You have legal rights when accused of a criminal sexual act. You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to a defense lawyer. The district attorney has the burden of proving all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If your criminal defense attorney can raise doubt on any of the elements, then you should not be found guilty.
Criminal defense lawyer strategies for sexual offenses can include suppressing evidence gathered after an unlawful search or seizure, lack of evidence, or finding inconsistencies in witness testimony about sex crime allegations. Ask your sex crimes lawyer for legal advice about which defenses may be best in your criminal case. An experienced sex crimes defense attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome.