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Frequently Asked Questions about Sex Offenses
Q: How are sex offenses punished?
A: Punishment for a sex offense can vary dramatically depending on the category of crime. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction (such as indecent exposure) might receive less than a year of jail time, a fine, community service, counseling, or even probation. A felony, on the other hand, might be punished by a long prison term (up to a life sentence). Released sex felons must register as sex offenders. Multiple convictions typically lead to increasingly greater punishments.
Q: Is consent a defense?
A: Consent, if it can be proved, is a defense to many sex crimes. However, some people are not considered able to consent to sex under the law. For those individuals, even if they explicitly agree, their agreement is not legally valid. For example, minors, the mentally disabled, and unconscious or intoxicated people (even if they willingly became intoxicated) typically cannot provide valid consent. Statutory rape or date rape charges may result.
In 2000, the Department of Justice found that State and Federal courts convicted almost 984,000 adults of felonies. The penalties for a felony conviction can significantly change your life, and the sooner you contact an attorney upon being threatened with a felony sex offense charge, the better chance you have of mounting a successful defense.
The sex offense lawyers at the Van Nuys, Southern California law office of Eisner Gorin LLP, are board-certified criminal trial specialists with more than 50 years of combined courtroom experience defending people charged with sex crimes, child molestation, child pornography, lewd conduct, prostitution, pandering, obscene materials, rape, statutory rape, or sexual abuse. Sex offender registration is for life: when it's time for an aggressive defense, count on Eisner Gorin LLP. Contact our office by e-mail, or call toll-free at 877-781-1570 for a prompt response.
If you are facing criminal charges for a sex offense or possession of child pornography, don't talk to the police first. Talk to us. We speak English, Russian, Armenian, Spanish, Farsi, and Hebrew.
Sex Offenses - An Overview
Sex offenses include a myriad of criminal sexual behaviors, ranging from prostitution to rape. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing a sex offense, it is very important to contact us to obtain the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The penalties for a sex offense conviction can be serious and life-changing, but many defenses are available. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible allows the evidence to be evaluated and witnesses to be questioned soon after the event, providing the best opportunity for a successful defense. A criminal defense attorney has the experience and skill to begin preparing your defense as soon as you retain it.
Rape, Sexual Assault, Date Rape & Statutory Rape
Unwanted sex acts are generally classified as rape. However, modern law more commonly refers to these criminal offenses as "sexual abuse" or "sexual assault." A wide range of activities may be included under these definitions. Statutory rape, for instance, is sexual activity with a person under the legal age of consent. Date rape is a nonlegal term for forcible sexual activity between people who know one another during a social engagement. Regardless of the circumstances, however, rape is rape, and there are serious penalties for individuals found guilty of these sex crimes. Prosecutors and the police focus more attention than ever on these offenses, so if you or someone you know is accused of or arrested for any of these crimes, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Call us for experienced advice and vigorous defense.
Nonviolent Sex Offenses
State laws regarding nonviolent sex offenses vary greatly. Typically, state statutes address prostitution, pandering, solicitation, indecent exposure, illegal possession of pornography, and internet sex crimes. Experienced criminal defense firms handle all types of nonviolent sex offense cases. The penalties for nonviolent sex offenses, although generally less severe than for violent sex offenses, can still range from fines and community service to felony charges and incarceration. If you have been arrested for a nonviolent sex offense, protect your rights by contacting a criminal defense firm regarding your defense.
Sex Offender Registry
Every crime carries a stigma that is difficult to erase, but registration requirements make the sex offender stigma more tenacious than most. The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, a federal act, requires released sex offenders to register with law enforcement and further requires offenders convicted of crimes against children to verify their address to law enforcement annually. Offenders deemed to be sexually violent predators must verify their addresses more frequently. States that do not meet the requirements of the Act are subject to reduced federal funding. As a result, all states require some type of registration and most maintain a central registry of resident sex offenders. In most states, sex offenders are required to register their addresses, along with other identifying information, with their resident state's law enforcement agency. Most registration statutes also require offenders to re-register each time they change their residencies and may require verification of the offender's address. If you are concerned about your status under these rules, contact an experienced attorney from our firm for help and advice.
False allegations are fairly common, especially in child sex abuse situations. If a child makes the allegations, an older person with a motive may have influenced him or her or the child may have based his accusation on an overactive imagination. Public awareness of child abuse has increased, and more reports of possible abuse are being made, but not all reports are substantiated. Also, even good-faith accusations may not be true, and false allegations may be made to harm the accused. If you find yourself the victim of false allegations, whether well meaning or not, a criminal defense firm can help you take immediate action to defend yourself.
Sex Offenses Resource Links
Justice Denied A magazine devoted to helping people who have been wrongly convicted in the U.S.