How a Conviction Can Be Determined
The resolution for a sex crime charge can happen in various ways. Most convictions result in high fines and mandatory prison sentencing, and you may also have to register as a sex offender. In addition to the type of sex crime, there are other factors that the court will use to determine the severity of consequences.
If the Sex Allegation Involves a Minor
Other factors include the:
- Age of consent
- Age difference between parties
- Sexual orientation and sexual preference of all parties involved
- Employment status of the accused (particularly more severe for those who have easy access to minors)
- Past sex offenses
- If The Sex Allegation Involves Rape Or Assault
Other factors include if the accuser:
- Was restrained
- Was intoxicated
- Intended to engage in the act itself
The factors in each case vary, and to accurately identify what you may face, it is in your best interest to consult one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.
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How to Protect Yourself From Falsely Being Accused of a Sex Crime
If you are accused of engaging in a sex crime, it is important to protect yourself from being convicted if you believe you are innocent. Unfortunately, false accusations are not uncommon. If you find yourself facing untrue allegations, there are steps you can take to help clear your name.
- Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible: If you believe that you have been inaccurately accused of a sex crime, it is crucial that you contact an expert criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer has the knowledge and legal capacity to help you quickly navigate the criminal justice system, advise you on your legal rights, and build a strong defense against the charges. Find someone with experience handling sex crime cases, as they will likely be familiar with the laws and procedures surrounding these cases. The ability to leverage best practices from previous sex crime defense wins can make a difference in the outcome of your sex crime case.
- Do not speak to the police without an attorney present: You have the legal right to stay silent. You should exercise that right if you are accused of a sex crime. Do not speak to the police without an attorney present. Anything that you say during these moments will be directly used against you in court. To avoid saying something that could be misinterpreted or used against you, you will want to have your attorney in your ear to offer guidance during questioning. They know what to listen for, what questions to ask, and how to keep you from incriminating yourself.
- Do not try to take matters into your own hands: No matter how frustrated you may be, it is important that you do not try to address matters independently. This includes confrontational behaviors such as threatening or harassing the accuser or trying to collect evidence on your own. These actions can only worsen your situation and will be used as additional evidence against you in court. Let your lawyer handle the investigation and evidence gathering so that you do not inadvertently incriminate yourself.
- Prepare for a long battle: If you are accused of a sex crime, you should expect a long battle. The criminal justice system can be slow and complex, and it may take months or even years to resolve your case. During this time, it is helpful to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on clearing your name. The long-term approach and tenacity required to win a sex crime case can be grueling, but you are not alone. You have the support of experienced legal counsel that can fight tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
- Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty: If you are accused of a sex crime, remember that, just like everyone else in the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof lies directly on the prosecution, and you should not be convicted of a crime unless the prosecution can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. With the legal backing of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can fight the charges and protect your rights.
What Evidence Can Clear Your Name in a Sex Crime Case?
If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is important to know what evidence can help clear your name. Depending on the specific allegations against you, the following types of evidence may be helpful in defending your sex crime case:
- Alibi evidence: If you have an alibi for the time when the alleged crime took place, this can be used to establish your innocence. Alibi evidence can include things like witness testimony, credit card receipts, or security footage. All of these can help to show that you were not in the same place as the victim at the time of the alleged crime, which can directly poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you.
- Evidence that the victim has made false accusations in the past: If the victim has a history of making false accusations, this can show that their allegations against you are not credible. This type of evidence can be helpful in showing that the victim is not to be trusted and that their allegations should not be given much weight in court. For example, your attorney will be able to cross-examine the victim about any past false accusations they have made and use this to cast doubt on their credibility.
- Physical evidence that contradicts the victim’s story: If there is physical evidence that contradicts the victim’s story, this can cast doubt on their credibility. This type of evidence can include things like DNA evidence, security footage, or eyewitness testimony. All of these can help to show that the victim’s story is not accurate and that they are not to be trusted.
- Evidence that the victim has a motive to lie: If the victim has a motive to lie about the alleged crime, this can indicate that their allegations are not credible. This type of evidence can include things like a financial motive or a desire to get revenge. This can cast doubt on the victim’s story and show that they have a reason to lie about what happened.
- Lack of DNA evidence: If there is no DNA evidence linking you to the crime, this can prove that you are not guilty. Often, the accuser of a sex crime will allege that the crime took place without any witnesses present. In these cases, DNA evidence can be very important in either incriminating or exonerating the accused. If there is no DNA evidence linking you to the crime, this can be used to show that you are not guilty.
- Character evidence: This evidence alone is typically not enough to convict someone of a sex crime, but it can show that the accused is not the type of person who would commit such a crime. This type of evidence can include things like testimony from family and friends, as well as the accused’s criminal history (or lack thereof). This can cast doubt on the allegations against them.
Sex Offender Registration in California
A California Sex Crime Conviction Could Haunt You For The Rest Of Your Life
If you are convicted of a sex crime in California, most likely you will have to register as a sex offender. Unfortunately, this sex offender registration will follow you for the rest of your life. It is therefore important to understand the California sex offender registration and what to do if you have been accused of a sex crime.
California was one of the first states to establish a registration for convicted sex offenders. There have been various changes to the law over the years, with significant modifications occurring in the 1990s. Sex offenders are now required to register more often and to provide additional information. This change was prompted by the enactment of California’s Megan’s Law.
The California sex offender registration is supposed to help law enforcement better track convicted sex offenders. After being released from jail, sex offenders have five business days to register in the jurisdiction in which they are located. If you are a convicted sex offender, you also have to register when your information, such as name or address, changes.
California law mandates that people convicted of certain types of sex crimes must register. For example, if you have been convicted of sexual battery, rape, child molestation or sex with a minor, you will probably have to register.
Based on Megan’s Law, sexual offenses have been classified into three different categories, known as “high-risk,” “serious” and “other.” A serious sexual offense would include sexual assault, rape, lewd act, child molestation, sodomy with a minor and sexual abuse of a child. You would be considered a high-risk offender if you have been convicted of numerous violent crimes.
There are defenses available for California sex crimes. Our attorneys at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, know who to talk to and what to ask for to not only keep you out of jail but also help you avoid the sex offender registration requirement. Contact us today at (310) 361-3068 for a free legal consultation. We defend clients throughout Torrance, Los Angeles County and Orange County.
Attorneys Who Know What to Expect
No matter how complex your case may seem, you have options. Explore your alternative solutions with one of our Torrance criminal defense lawyers. For decades, our Torrance sex crimes lawyers at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, have provided professional legal counsel for Californians facing serious criminal allegations.
You can call our Torrance office at (310) 361-3068 or you can schedule your free consultation online by completing this form.
Which Sex Crimes Are Felonies in California?
Start with the assumption that most sex crimes are felonies in California. However, some offenses that may be misdemeanors in some circumstances include molestation of a child; lewd acts in public; indecent exposure; soliciting a prostitute; prostitution; soliciting a minor; and sexual intercourse with a minor who is less than three years younger or older than the perpetrator.
What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration in California?
The short answer to this question is: Conviction for most sex crimes in California triggers a requirement of sex offender registration. For a more detailed answer relevant to charges or allegations against you, consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible.
How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in California?
Since January 1, 2021, California has had a three-tiered system for determining how long a sex offender must register, as follows:
- Tier 1: At least 10 years’ registration for offenders convicted of the lowest level sex crimes such as indecent exposure
- Tier 2: At least 20 years’ registration for offenders convicted of mid-level sex crimes, including nonforced sodomy with a minor under age 14
- Tier 3: Lifetime registration for offenders convicted of the most serious sex offenses including rape
Can Sex Crimes Be Expunged in California?
Some sex crime convictions in California may be expunged under certain criteria, but sex crimes involving children – even misdemeanors – can never be expunged in this state.