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What are the penalties for federal sex crime charges in New York?

By Spodek Law Group | October 16, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 05:37 pm

What are the penalties for federal sex crime charges in New York?

Sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses prosecuted in New York. Many sex crimes carry lengthy prison sentences and require registration as a sex offender upon conviction. This article provides an overview of the most common federal sex crimes charged in New York and the potential penalties defendants face if convicted.

Definitions and Elements of Major Federal Sex Crimes in New York

There are a number of sex acts that are considered criminal offenses under both New York state and federal law. Some of the most commonly charged federal sex crimes include:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sex Trafficking

  • Involves recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, or maintaining a person for a commercial sex act.
  • More severe penalties apply when the victim is under 18 years old.
  • Penalties range from 10 years to life in prison depending on aggravating factors like age of victim and use of force.

Transportation of Minors for Illegal Sexual Activity

  • Transporting a minor (under 18) across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
  • Penalties range from 10 years to life in prison.

Coercion and Enticement of a Minor

  • Persuading, inducing, enticing or coercing a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
  • Conviction carries a 10 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Online Solicitation of a Minor

  • Using the internet to solicit, entice, induce or coerce a minor (under 18) to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
  • Penalty is typically 10 years to life in prison.

Defenses to Federal Sex Crime Charges

Given the severe penalties, building an aggressive defense is critical. Some possible defenses include:

  • False accusations – The alleged victim fabricated the allegations out of anger, jealousy or other ulterior motives.
  • Mistaken identity – The defendant was misidentified and did not actually commit the crime.
  • Entrapment – Law enforcement induced the defendant to commit a crime they otherwise would not have.
  • Consent – The sexual contact was consensual and of legal age (not applicable for crimes involving minors).
  • Lack of criminal intent – The defendant did not knowingly or willfully commit the alleged acts.
  • Unconstitutional searches – Evidence was obtained through an illegal search violating the defendant’s 4th Amendment rights.
  • Statute of limitations – For certain crimes, prosecutors only have a certain timeframe to file charges.


Federal sex crime charges should always be taken seriously given the lengthy prison time and strict supervision defendants face if convicted. Anyone facing allegations of a federal sex crime in New York should retain experienced legal counsel immediately to explore the defenses available to them. While the penalties are severe, an aggressive defense can successfully fight the charges in many cases.

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