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The category of sex crimes is extremely broad and encompasses a wide variety of offenses.
Rape, lewd and lascivious conduct, disorderly conduct, child pornography, sexual assault, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual obscenity and many other offenses populate this category of criminal behavior, among others.
Yes, some sex crimes are classified as misdemeanors rather than as felonies.
For example, public lewdness and indecent exposure are both classified as misdemeanor offenses in many states.
Prostitution, both the provision of sexual favors for money as well as the solicitation thereof, is also considered a misdemeanor offense — particularly for first-time offenders — in many states, and in some states, such as Nevada, counties have legalized the practice.
More severe offenses, such as the manufacture, distribution or possession of child pornography — as well as any offense involving rape or aggravated sexual assault — are typically classified as felonies.
The penalties for sex crimes are typically proportional to the type of sex crime committed. The penalty for rape is almost always more substantive than a penalty meted out in response to an indecent exposure charge.
Considering the most serious crimes at the federal level, those convicted of rape or aggravated sexual abuse are subject to a maximum penalty of any amount of years imprisonment — essentially an open-ended sentence. State laws treat the crime of aggravated sexual abuse, or rape, seriously. In Florida, a rape conviction could see the guilty party placed in prison for 15 years, or 30 years if a weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
By contrast, those convicted of less severe sex crimes, like public indecency or lewdness, could face sentences ranging from 180 days to one year in jail. Such is the case for first-time offenders found guilty of indecent exposure in certain states. The penalty for those convicted of indecent exposure in California is six months in county jail in addition to a fine of $1,000.
Finally, those who are convicted of a sex crime are very likely to be included in a formal registry of sex offenders, a database that is publicly searchable. A conviction in response to sex crime charges is a serious matter.
The key to avoiding a jail or prison sentence if charged with a sex crime is to create a strong, resilient defense alongside your legal counsel. Several common defenses deployed in reaction to sex crimes include but are not limited to mistaken identity, lack of intent (may have inadvertently exposed oneself without meaning to) and entrapment or duress (corrupting the pool of evidence against you by providing evidence of your own to show any actions were not voluntary).
In some cases, a skilled or proficient criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution in order to see your charges deferred or de-escalated. In exchange for a probation program, rehabilitation, community service or other diversions, you may be able to avoid incarceration.
Sex crimes are composed of any acts sexual in nature forced upon another person. These crimes are treated seriously by law enforcement and the courts and are punishable by prison terms and significant fines as well as potential sex offender registration.
You should not talk to investigators and immediately hire a lawyer who aggressively represents sex crime defendants. A lawyer can protect your constitutional rights, form your defense and challenge evidence against you. If you decide not to fight, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain.
Yes. If you are facing charges related to sex crimes, it should be your first order of business to acquire legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with sex crimes can call upon standing statutes, past precedent and existing case law in order to best represent your interests.
Together, you can strategize with your attorney, working to craft the best possible defense should you decide to take the case to trial. Otherwise, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf in search of an amenable plea bargain or plea deal.
Working without professional legal advice is a surefire way to reduce your odds of acquittal, or of a beneficial plea bargain. Given the gravity of sex crime charges, and any conviction placing you on a public sex offender registry, it is highly advised that you speak to a defense attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.
The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.