Orange County Sex Crimes Lawyers
A Team You Can Trust in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino & Los Angeles
In California, the phrase “sex crimes” covers a wide range of offenses. Some involve sexual intercourse, while others involve touching. Exposing genitals in public and making or possessing child pornography are other examples of sex crimes. Regardless of the crime, the conviction of any sex offense can have a devastating impact on the accused’s.
Anyone accused of a sex crime needs an experienced Orange County lawyer at their side. These offenses carry a stigma and can result in serious consequences for the accused if not defended aggressively. Unlike many other offenses, an individual convicted of a sex crime may pay for it for the rest of their life.
These special circumstances make it imperative that the accused seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who has a proven track record of success in helping defendants fight these types of charges. The law in California requires that a convicted sex offender, regardless of the nature of the crime, register with their local law enforcement agency. This information is made readily available to the public and, in some cases, as easy as accessing a web site.
Ideally, the defense of a sex crime should begin even before the accused is arrested and charged. If you have been questioned for a sex crime or worry that you are suspected of committing a sex offense, seek legal advice immediately. Being prepared to deal with the police and the judicial system can help you avoid a wrongful conviction.
To get the legal advice you need, call Law Offices of Randy Collins at (844) 285-9559.
California Sentencing for Sexual Offenses
California is one of the hardest on accused offenders, especially when minors are involved. If found guilty, sentencing will almost always carry a prison sentence along with a substantial fine. They will also be required to join the sex offender’s registry, where their name and address, along with the nature of their conviction, are available to the general public.
Being convicted of a sex crime will have lasting repercussions on the defendant’s life. Having an attorney who has extensive experience in this area of the law is a necessity for those planning to reduce or beat their charges.
The most common charges individuals face are:
- Acts of lewd and lascivious conduct: This charge is most often referring to the sexual molestation of a child under the age of 14. With lewd being such a broad term, it can include a variety of scenarios that may or may not involve contact with a sexual organ. Depending on the circumstances and age of the child, prison sentences range from 3 to 16 years in prison. This crime also counts as a strike under the California Three Strikes Law.
- Statutory Rape: The primary difference between “rape” and “statutory rape” is consent. An adult can consent to have sex. A minor cannot. It is, therefore, a violation of California law to have sexual intercourse with a minor outside of a marital relationship. Even if the minor initiates the sexual intercourse, it is still a crime.
Statutory rape can also refer to oral acts and intercourse between two minors.
The crime can be committed without using force.
Statutory rape is a misdemeanor if the accused and the alleged victim were no more than three years apart in age. If the alleged victim was more than three years younger than the accused, the crime is a felony. The crime is a more serious felony if the minor had not reached 16 years of age, and the accused was at least 21 years of age.
- Sexual Battery or Assault: Sexual battery or assault charges arise from the unsolicited touching of another for the purpose of sexual gratification, abuse, or arousal. “Intimate parts” are generally defined as sex organs, buttocks, or female breasts.
These types of charges can be lodged against a medical professional who attempts to convince the victim that the touching is part of medical treatment. A felony charge of sexual battery requires proof that the accused unlawfully restrained another person and, while that person was restrained, either touched an “intimate part” of that person without consent or caused that person to unwillingly touch an “intimate part” of the accused.
Restraint can be accomplished through force, threats, or the assertion of authority.
The sentence for a misdemeanor assault charge can include a jail sentence of up to a year and a $3,000 fine or 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a felony charge.
Accidental touching is not sexual battery. Whether the touching was deliberate or accidental is sometimes the focus of a defense. In other cases, the defense focuses on whether the touching actually occurred, whether consent was given, or (in felony cases) whether the alleged victim was restrained.
- Rape: California law defines rape in different ways. The most common rape accusations involve an act of sexual intercourse under one of the following circumstances:
- The alleged victim did not consent to intercourse but submitted in response to force or threats
- The alleged victim was incapable of consenting because of a physical or mental disability
- The alleged victim was asleep or unconscious
- The alleged victim could not resist due to intoxication or drug use
- Consent was obtained by fraud
“Sexual intercourse” means penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis. If consent is withdrawn and the withdrawal of consent is communicated, the failure to end the act of intercourse promptly constitutes rape.
Defenses to rape often focus on the credibility of the accuser and on the accuser’s motive for fabricating a story about being raped. In some cases, the accused has a defense if he or she did not know and should not reasonably have known that the alleged victim was asleep, unconscious, intoxicated, or disabled.
In California, other sex crimes include:
- Child pornography
- Indecent exposure
- Pandering and prostitution offenses
- Procuring minors for prostitution
- Failing to register as a sex offender
Penalties may depend upon whether the alleged victim was young, elderly, dependent, or otherwise vulnerable. Some laws enhance penalties depending upon the alleged victim’s occupation or public position.
If convicted of any of these crimes, a defendant is facing mandatory jail time, a strike against them, and inclusion in the sex offender’s registry. The sentencing for misdemeanors varies.
Maximum Amount of Jail Time for a Sex Crime Offense in CA
There are a number of different sex crime laws and the amount of jail time depends primarily on whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. In California, a felony sex crime is punishable by up to a life sentence in prison. Examples of sex crimes that are felonies in California include:
- Spousal rape
- Statutory rape
- Child pornography
- Lewd and lascivious acts
- Sexual battery
- Sexting with a minor
If you are accused of any of the above felony crimes, it is important that you consult a qualified sex crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Are Plea Bargains Available for Sex Crime Offenses in CA?
Plea bargains are available for sex crime offenses in California. A plea bargain is when a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser crime in lieu of going to trial.
If I Am Convicted of a Sex Crime Will I Have to Be On the Sex Offender Registry List?
Generally speaking, all defendants convicted of a sex crime will be required to have their name, addresses, photo and other identifying information on the sex offender registry list for up to a lifetime. Further, even if you are not convicted of an offense that is included the Sex Offender Registration Act, the judge may in his or her discretion require you to register if it is found that the crime you committed involved sexual compulsion or sexual gratification.
In some instances, an attorney may help you avoid sex offender registry or lessen the amount of time you must be registered. For certain sex crimes, requiring mandatory registration has been found to be a violation of the Equal Protection right under the U.S. Constitution. An attorney may also be able to have your case dismissed after completing probation: the charge and conviction will be removed from your record, but you still must register.
Another option in some cases is that you may apply for a California certificate of rehabilitation which will allow you to be removed from the registry list. The final option is to file for a California Governor’s pardon which will excuse you from the registry list if you have not committed any other crime in ten years following probation, custody or parole.
Sex Crime Offender’s List
California has one of the most expansive lists of convicted offenders in the United States. This is due to the harsh regulations it imposes for a convicted offender seeking to have their name removed, even for those who pose a low risk of repeated violation. Any person who is facing a sex crime in California needs to know that if convicted, the odds of not being included on that list are very slim and being removed from it even slimmer. They need an experienced lawyer to ensure that their future is not destroyed by the inclusion of their names on that list.
Having your name in the California sex offender’s registry means that the convicted person must check in with the registry at least once a year and give them an accurate address. They must also inform them anytime that they change their residency.
This will have a lasting effect on a convicted offender’s ability to find housing. Certain restrictions, such as the distance between the residence and parks or schools, can be enforced as a condition of parole or probation. Plus, unlike other felony convictions that are protected by privacy laws, the identity of an individual who has served a sentence for a sex crime is revealed openly to the public.
Failing to register or non-compliance with the rules imposed by the registry is also a felony offense, punishable by jail time. The liberties of a convicted offender are forever restricted.
Being on the registered offender’s list can also limit the employment opportunities available to an individual. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a registered person can be prohibited by the terms of their parole or probation from seeking employment that has the potential for their to come in contact with children. This limitation could include anything from a teacher in a grade school to a driver of an ice cream truck.
Employers and potential employers also have open access to the registry and are allowed to exercise their right to use that when making employment decisions. This can make it difficult for a convicted person to find or keep a steady job after they have served their sentence.
Get Help During a Free Case Evaluation
Perhaps more than any other crime, innocent people are falsely accused of committing rape and other sex offense. In some cases, alleged victims make false accusations to hide their infidelity from their lovers or because they crave attention. Some false accusations are based on a desire for revenge because they believe the accused treated them rudely. Sometimes alleged victims are persuaded by their friends that they must have been raped. Some false accusations are based on mistaken identity.
If you are facing a sex crime charge in California, you need to act quickly to set up your defense. You have been charged with one of the most severely punished crimes in the state. You need to have an attorney who understands the ramifications of a conviction. A thorough investigation and skilled cross-examination are among the tools that sex crime lawyers use to help the accused avoid an unjust conviction. Attorney Randy Collins has been recognized as one of the Top Criminal Defense Attorneys in Orange County because of his ability to use those tools to protect his clients.
Those in need of representation in Orange County and Riverside are encouraged to contact our Orange County lawyers for a free confidential case evaluation.
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