Sex crime charges carry a major stigma, and the outcome of your case can negatively affect your life for many years to come. Without an experienced attorney, those charged with sex crimes can face many years in prison, mandatory sex offender registration, difficulty finding a job, difficulty finding housing, and destruction of personal relationships.
Fighting sex crime charges requires a knowledgeable and dedicated defense attorney. If you are facing sex crime charges in the San Diego area, contact the Law Office of Peter Blair as soon as possible. We will fight for you and your reputation every step of the way with a proactive, well-informed defense strategy.
Types of Sex Crimes
The Law Office of Peter Blair is equipped to handle all types of sex crimes, including:
- Statutory rape
- Date rape
- Sexual battery
- Engaging in lewd conduct
- Child sexual abuse
- Lewd acts with a child
- Possession of child pornography
- Indecent exposure
- Oral copulation by force
- Engaging in prostitution
- Solicitation of prostitution
- Pimping & Pandering
- Failure to register as a sex offender
Each type of sex crime presents different defense strategies, different circumstances, and different stigmas. Contacting a sex crimes attorney is the best way to explore your options and establish your defense.
Pre- File Investigation
When it comes to a criminal investigation, the process starts as soon as someone makes an accusation. After the accusation is made, police will begin an investigation by interviewing the accuser, as well as any other potential witnesses, and gathering evidence. Sex crimes typically involve a lengthy investigation before any arrests are made an charges are filed.
It is much easier and much more cost effective to clear your name during the pre-file investigation than it is once charges have been filed. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney during the pre-file investigation will ensure you are acting with your best legal interests in mind. An attorney can work to block the charges before they are filed. Being proactive in hiring a lawyer can save you from arrest and permanent damage to your reputation.
The California Penal Code sets the definition and penalties for each sex offense. The following offenses are criminal acts under California law:
Rape is defined by California Penal Code section 261 as an act of nonconsensual sexual intercourse accomplished through force, threats, or fraud. Use of force is not required for a charge of rape, and the following situations qualify as rape under California law:
- Sexual intercourse with someone who is incapable of giving legal consent due to a mental disorder or development or physical disability
- Sexual intercourse with someone who is unable to resist because of intoxicating or anesthetic substances, including alcohol or drugs
- Sexual intercourse with someone who was unconscious of the act at the time, including someone who was asleep, unaware, not cognizant, or tricked into intercourse by means of fraud (including claiming that sexual intercourse served a professional purpose when it really did not)
- Sexual intercourse with someone by means of threatening the victim with kidnapping, imprisonment, infliction of extreme pain, infliction of serious bodily injury, or death
- Sexual intercourse accomplished by a public official threatening a victim with incarceration, arrest, or deportation
Related charges include spousal rape (Penal Code 262 PC), date rape, statutory rape (Penal Code 261.5 PC), oral copulation by force (Penal Code 266c PC), and forcible penetration with a foreign object (Penal Code 289 PC).
Sexual battery is defined by California Penal Code section 243.4 as touching the intimate part of another person for sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. Sexual battery can qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the incident. Sexual battery is often charged as a felony if the victim was restrained, was unaware of the nature of the act (due to the alleged perpetrators professional status, for instance), was medically incapacitated or seriously disabled, or was forced to masturbate or touch someones intimate parts under any of the previously named circumstances.
Indecent exposure is defined by California Penal Code section 314 as willfully exposing your genitals to someone else as motivated by desire to gratify yourself or offend someone else. Generally, a first offense is treated as a misdemeanor and a subsequent offense is treated as a felony.
Prostitution is defined by California Penal Code section 647 as exchanging sexual acts for money or other goods or services. Under California law, it is illegal to engage in prostitution, offer to engage in prostitution, or agree to engage in prostitution. Middlemen, or œpimps, are prohibited from arranging or participating in solicitation, receiving all or part of a prostitutes pay, or procuring prostitutes under California Penal Code section 266. Loitering to commit prostitution and supervising or aiding a prostitute are both prohibited by California Penal Code section 532.
Lewd conduct in public is defined by California Penal Code section 647 as engaging or soliciting someone else to engage in sexual conduct in a public area. Lewd conduct is defined as touching your genitals or another persons genitals, buttocks, or breasts for the purpose of sexual gratification or to offend or annoy another person.
Lewd acts with a child are defined by California Penal Code section 288 by touching a child for sexual purposes. A charge of lewd acts with a child does not require touching a sexual organ or even removing the childs clothes; lewd and lascivious charges could apply even if the child was touched over his or her clothes.
Legal Defenses for a Sex Crime
The strategy for your particular defense will change based on mitigating and contributing circumstances, the circumstances of the incident, and a multitude of other factors. Some common defenses for sex offenses include:
- False accusations, when the defense argues the charge is motivated by revenge, anger, or other emotions rather than a truthful accusation. Many œoffenders have been released as a result of exoneration by DNA evidence. Shoddy police work and tense personal situations can lead to false accusations, which are serious offenses in and of themselves.
- Insufficient evidence, when there is a lack of physical evidence to support the charge. Sex offenses are often based on hearsay or he said/she said situations, leaving only the word of the accuser to stand in court. Without medical reports or other physical evidence, sex offense charges can be hard to prove.
- Consent, when the accuser has consensual sex with the accused, but later recants his or her consent. If you can show that you truly believed you had obtained consent (in an actual and reasonable manner), then sex offense charges can be thrown out.
- Mistaken identification, when an accuser makes a mistake identifying the offender. Mistaken identification is often a result of poor police work, in which prejudicial line-ups lead an accuser to believe he or she knows the assailant. Facial coverings and poor lighting can also lead to cases of mistaken identity.
Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing
Under California law, the penalties for sex offenses are as follows:
- Rape: punishable by 3, 6, or 8 years in California state prison or formal probation with up to one year in county jail, plus registration as a sex offender
- Rape of a minor: 7, 9, or 11 years in prison for a minor under 18, and 9, 11, or 13 years in prison if the minor is under 14, plus registration as a sex offender
- Rape resulting in great bodily injury: an additional 3 to 5 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, plus registration as a sex offender
- Sexual battery: as a misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months or 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000; as a felony, punishable by 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Both include registration as a sex offender.
- Indecent exposure: as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000; as a felony, punishable by imprisonment in a state prison. Both include registration as a sex offender.
- Prostitution: as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; a second offense is punishable by a minimum of 45 days in county jail; a third offense is punishable by a minimum of 90 days in county jail; if the crime occurred while using a car and within 1,000 feet of a residence, your drivers license could be suspended by up to 30 days or a restricted license issued for up to 6 months. Registration as a sex offender is up to the judges discretion.
- Lewd conduct in public: a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000
- Lewd acts with a child: if the child was under 14, punishable by up to 8 years in California state prison, increased to 10 years if force was used, and increased to 16 years if the acts occurred 3 or more times over 3 or more months; if the child was 14 or 15 and the alleged perpetrator was 10 years or more the childs senior, punishable by up to 3 years in prison; if the person was 16 or 17, punishable as statutory rape or sexual battery. All three situations require registration as a sex offender.
Every case is different, and the circumstances of each situation will determine the penalties and sentencing.
Consult an Experienced Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you are facing sex crime charges, contact the Law Office of Peter Blair. You are more than the charges you are facing, and we treat every client with respect, dignity, and compassion. The Law Office of Peter Blair will fight for you every step of the way.