Sex crime is a broad term that includes a wide range of criminal activities. For many sexual criminal acts, there are both state-level crimes and federal-level crimes. Because each state’s laws is unique, it is important for an accused individual and his or her lawyer to have a detailed understanding of those laws. If you have been accused of any type of sex crime, your life may take a devastating twist well before the trial even starts. While an accused party is innocent until proven guilty, the public often passes judgment of sex offenders well before a trial even starts. Because the consequences of a conviction can have life-long effects, it is important to work with a skilled sex crimes defense attorney who can properly defend you against the charges.
Types of Sex Crimes
Rape and sexual assault are two types of sex crimes that many people are familiar with, but the list of crimes that fall under this umbrella is expansive. For example, public lewdness and indecent exposure are categorized as sex crimes. In addition, date rape, sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child, prostitution and pornography also are sex crimes. Keep in mind that some types of sex crimes are classified as misdemeanors and may be tried at the state level. Others are felonies that are tried at the federal level. Because state-level charges generally have less significant penalties, a sex crimes defense attorney may work to have charges reduced.
Penalties for the Conviction of a Sex Crime
The state-level penalties for the conviction of a sex crime can vary dramatically by location as well as by crime. Often, the circumstances surrounding the crime will impact the charges and the punishments. For example, a Class C misdemeanor charge for public lewdness in Texas may be punished with a $500 fine. A Class A misdemeanor charge for public lewdness, however, may be punished by up to a year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. Keep in mind that the penalties can vary drastically from state to state.
The penalties for various sex crimes at the federal level are far more significant. For example, a third-degree felony for indecency with a child or aggravated sexual assault may be punished by up to 10 years in prison. A first-degree felony of these charges comes with a minimum 5-year sentence and a maximum sentence of 99 years.
Keep in mind that convicted sex offenders are required to register in a sex offender database. This makes public the individual’s identity, residence and type of conviction. Because of this and because of the permanency of a felony charge on an individual’s record, a conviction can have tremendous consequences on the rest of a person’s life.
Possible Defense Strategies for Sex Crimes Charges
With the wide range of sex crimes, there is no single defense strategy that may be effective. Instead, the defense attorney must have detailed knowledge of the law and of the circumstances of the case. In some cases, such as prostitution, the individual may have been caught red-handed in a sting operation. In such a situation, the defense attorney may utilize entrapment or a civil rights violation as a defense.
Many sex crimes occur in private without witnesses. However, there may be physical evidence, such as DNA, that can be used by the prosecution. Otherwise, the matter comes down solely to the accuser’s word against the defendant’s word. Both the victim’s credibility and the defendant’s credibility may be called into question in this type of situation.
There are a variety of other defense strategies that can be used in various situations. For example, mistaken identity may be used in a case where there is no physical evidence. This may be particularly effective if the crime took place where visibility was limited or if the defendant was somehow incapacitated. The defendant may argue that child victims were asked leading or biased questions and that this influenced their testimony. In addition, the matter of consent in a rape case may be used as a defense. For many types of sex crime charges, the admissibility of evidence can also be used as part of an effective defense strategy.
Contact a Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a sex crime, your next step should be to hire a skilled defense lawyer who has extensive experience with these types of cases. To request a consultation with an attorney, email or call the law office today.
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