By: Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers
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What Sex Crimes are Felonies
Sex crimes represent some of the most consequential types of criminal offenses in California. Not only can a sex crime charge lead to years in prison and other devastating penalties, it can also destroy your reputation and jeopardize your future, especially with a sex offender registration requirement. Facing charges for any sex crime, particularly a felony sex crime, is a serious matter, one that requires the expertise of a criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of California law. Contact the skilled defense attorneys at Sevens Legal as soon as possible to discuss the best strategy for protecting your reputation and defending yourself or a loved one against a California sex crime charge.
- Sex crimes are some of the most serious types of criminal offenses in the state of California.
- These types of crimes are aggressively prosecuted, and a conviction can carry harsh penalties, possibly including a life sentence.
- Convicted offenders may be required to register as sex offenders, in some cases for life.
- The intense social stigma associated with a sex crime conviction can affect virtually every aspect of an offender’s life.
- Hiring a knowledgeable sex crimes defense attorney is vitally important if you hope to avoid the long-lasting consequences of a sex crime conviction.
Sex Crime Charges in California
Any person accused of a crime in California, no matter what crime that may be, is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Unfortunately, while the law demands this presumption of innocence in every criminal case, society as a whole tends to assume the worst of those accused of sex crimes. There are a number of offenses that may qualify as sex crimes under California law, and these cases are not always as straightforward as one might think. The criminal justice system isn’t perfect, and false accusations and wrongful convictions happen all too often, many times with devastating results. Ensuring that your side of the story is heard in a sex crime case is too important to leave to chance. You need immediate legal help if you hope to successfully challenge sex crime allegations and safeguard your freedom and your livelihood.
What Constitutes a Sex Crime?
Sex crimes are criminal offenses of a sexual nature. The term “sex crime” does not describe any specific criminal act. Rather, it is an umbrella term used to define any illegal or forced sexual contact or conduct against another person. This term covers a wide range of criminal activity, from rape to exposing yourself to another person without their consent. The following are some examples of sex crimes in California:
- Lewd acts involving a minor
- Indecent exposure
- Child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Child molestation
- Sex trafficking
Penalties for Sex Crimes
Sex crimes are taken extremely seriously in California. Prosecutors tend to be aggressive in their prosecution of sex crimes, and you could end up facing years in prison and a lifetime sex offender registration requirement if you are convicted of a felony sex crime, like rape. Under certain circumstances, a felony sex crime conviction may even be subject to California’s “One Strike” law (Penal Code 667.61 PC). This little-known law imposes harsh sentencing enhancements for offenders convicted of specific sex crimes with aggravating factors. If you are convicted of a qualifying crime and an aggravating factor is present, you could be sentenced to life in prison.
Are Sex Crimes Felonies?
Under California law, criminal offenses are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. This designation depends on several factors, including the nature and severity of the offense. Given the serious nature of sex crimes, the vast majority of these crimes are charged as felonies and are punishable by several years’ imprisonment in state prison. Some less serious sex crimes are misdemeanors, and some are wobblers, meaning they can be filed as either misdemeanors or felonies, usually at the prosecutor’s discretion.
Sex Offender Registry Requirements
If you are convicted of a sex crime in California, you will likely be required to register as a sex offender. The sex offender registry monitors and tracks convicted sex offenders after their return to society, and this information is made available to the public. Being a registered sex offender is something that can follow you for the rest of your life. For most misdemeanor sex crimes, (i.e. indecent exposure or sexual battery), you will not be required to register as a sex offender for life. However, most serious felony sex crimes (i.e. rape, sexual assault of a child, or sex trafficking) do call for lifetime registration.
Will Sex Offender Laws Ever Change?
Once your name, personal information, and criminal record is listed on the sex offender registry, there is very little you can do to avoid the stigma of being publicly labeled a convicted sex offender. However, there are important changes being made in California to lessen the lasting impact of sex offender registration for less serious sex crime offenses. California recently introduced a new law that converted the state’s lifetime sex offender registration system to a tier-based system. Under this new system, convicted offenders are required to register and remain on the list for 10 years, 20 years, or life, depending on the severity of the crime they are accused of committing.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Sevens Legal
Sex crimes are serious allegations that should not be taken lightly, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope for those accused of such crimes. Although every case is different, there are a number of credible defense strategies a good defense attorney can use to fight sex crime allegations and get the charges reduced or possibly even dismissed altogether. If you have been charged with a sex crime or think you may be at risk for a sex crime charge – misdemeanor or felony – it is in your best interest to speak to a qualified defense attorney right away. The penalties and consequences associated with a sex crime charge can be lifelong. You need an attorney with significant experience handling sex crime cases in California.
How to Contact Our Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys
The legal help you need is just a phone call away. Contact Sevens Legal at (619) 430-2355 as soon as possible to speak to our criminal defense attorneys and find out how we can help you defend yourself against sex crime charges.