These are just some of the reasons why it is critical that you contact an experienced California sex crime defense lawyer if you have been arrested, charged or are even under investigation. The sooner you get a defense lawyer on your side, the greater your chances of successfully defending the charges and clearing your name.
If you have been charged with committing a sex crime in California, you are potentially facing incarceration, a mark on your criminal record and the prospect of having register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. These are devastating consequences that could have a negative impact on your ability to get a job, a professional license, have social interactions and relationships or even find housing. You may also lose important civil rights such as voting and the right to possess or purchase a firearm.
Sex Crimes in California
Under California, a “sex crime” is defined as any violation of the law that is sexual in nature. Here are some of the common types of sex crime cases we handle at the Law Firm of Ashley Daniel:
Possession of child pornography: In California, it is a crime to send, duplicate, print, exchange or possess pornographic material involving minors. It is also against the law to hire or persuade minors to participate in making child pornography. It is important to note that child pornography is a crime that may be charged as a state or federal crime. Possession of child pornography may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor offenses may be punished with up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000 while federal offenses may result in up to eight years in state prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Rape: Under California Penal Code Section 261, rape is defined as nonconsensual sexual intercourse accomplished by forcible means or when a person is unconscious, mentally incapacitated or unable to give consent. Sexual intercourse with a minor is charged as “statutory rape” because minors cannot legally give consent. Rape convictions result in extremely harsh penalties. Those convicted of rape could be looking at up to eight years in state prison. If the alleged victim is a minor, the minimum sentence is seven years in state prison and maximum sentence is 13 years.
Prostitution: California Penal Code 647B prohibits individuals from paying or accepting money or goods in exchange for sexual acts. Under the law, when a prostitute and a customer engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, both are said to have engaged in an act of prostitution. Pimps or individuals who employ prostitutes can be charged with pimping and/or pandering. Conviction on prostitution, solicitation or related charges could result in serious consequences including jail time and fines.
Lewd conduct: It is a violation of California Penal Code 647a when an individual engages in lewd conduct in a public place. Such conduct is defined as touching your private parts or another’s private parts for the purpose of sexual gratification or to annoy or offend someone else. It is important to note that sexual activity in a public place by itself is not a crime. It only rises to the level of “lewd conduct” when the persons committing the act know or should reasonably know that someone might watch and be offended by the conduct. While you may not have to register as a sex offender, when such crimes are charged along with “indecent exposure,” you may have to register as a sex offender.
Lewd acts against children: Under California Penal Code 288 it is illegal to use a child for sexual purposes or tell a child to touch himself or herself or someone else for sexual gratification. Penalties for child molestation depend on a number of factors including the child’s age, the involvement of force, violence or threats, if there was a pattern of lewd acts and the age of the defendant.
Sexual assault and battery: While sexual battery is inappropriately touching someone for the purpose of sexual gratification, sexual assault employs violence such as restraining, covering a victim’s mouth or threatening the victim with violence. A misdemeanor conviction could result in up to one year in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines while a felony conviction could result in up to four years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Defending Sex Crimes
If you are being charged with a sex crime in California, it is important that you contact an experienced lawyer right away who can start working to build a solid defense. There are a number of possible defenses in a sex crime case:
False accusations: It is not uncommon for individuals to be accused of sex crimes out of spite or for revenge. In such cases, you need a knowledgeable lawyer who can help compile evidence to show that you are being falsely accused of a sex crime.
Lack of sexual contact: If you had no sexual contact with the alleged victim, then you cannot be charged with a sex crime.
Consensual sex: Sexual relationships can be extremely complex. Sometimes, individuals who consent to a sexual relationship or to sexual intercourse backtrack and accuse their partners of sex crimes. If the sexual intercourse or relationship occurred with the consent of two adults, then, it is not a crime. If you had an honest and reasonable belief that the accuser consented, then you cannot be charged. Sex crime charges should also be dropped if it is determined that there is not enough evidence or if they are based on mistaken identity.
Contacting the Law Firm of Ashley Daniel
Sex crime convictions, in addition to serious consequences, can also hang over your head for the rest of your life and tarnish your reputation. If you have been charged with a sex crime or are under investigation, please contact an experienced California sex crime defense attorney at the Law Office of Ashley Daniel who can help protect your legal rights every step of the way. Do not speak directly to police investigators without your attorney present. What you say can be used against you. Call us to schedule your free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.