A sex crime is a term used to describe a variety of offenses that are sexually motivated such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and other crimes related to unwanted touching or the sharing of sexual content on the internet. A sexual act becomes a sex crime when it is uninvited by the offender or whenever the sex act involves a person under the age of consent. States describe different types of punishments for sex crimes, however, most sex crimes resulting in a misdemeanor or a felony will constitute a sex offender registration obligation. A person that is required to register as a sex offender will live under a different set of laws that may restrict their living situation, may prevent them from working with children and may affect other aspects of life.
If you are charged with a sex crime, it is in your best interest to discuss the nature of the crime with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney will help you learn of the ways that the law applies to your case. An attorney has the capacity to inform you of the possible outcomes of your case and of the steps to take in order to lessen a prison sentence or of ways to challenge the evidence. Most importantly, if you are charged on faulty notions, an attorney will provide representation to prove your innocence. A sexual act that was not directed towards a child, meaning the act involved another adult and an act that was invited by the other person (no matter how gross), is not considered a sex crime. A sex crime occurs when a sexual act was directed towards a child or when the act has caused offense or great discomfort.
At the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, we believe that each party in a lawsuit should be represented equally. You are not a criminal until you are proven guilty. This means that the other party has the responsibility to provide factual evidence before you serve a prison sentence and before you are required to register as a sex offender. Individuals who are wrongly convicted of a crime face the possibility of registering as a sex offender for a lifetime. A state and federal sex offender registration allows your community, your employer, and other individuals the right to have access to your information.
If you feel you are wrongly charged or if you want to learn of ways in which the law applies to your case, you may contact the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314. We are ready to provide consultation and ready to guide your case through a courtroom. Speak with us today before you enter a courtroom and accept a prison sentence. In most cases, we are able to lessen the charges or drop the charges altogether.
The following section will describe the different types of sex crimes and penalties in the state of California and other laws and regulations pertaining to sex crimes. The following will be a generalization of the laws regarding sex crimes, if you wish to learn how the laws will apply to your specific case, you will be required to speak with a local attorney.
Before we dive into sex crimes, it is crucial to understand what consent is and how it can help you avoid a sex crime charge. Consent is given by a person to engage in a sexual act. No matter how gross the act may be, if you engage in a sex act with someone that has given you consent, then they may not be able to charge you with a sex crime. For instance, if you have been given consent to engage in sexual intercourse with someone, then the person cannot press charges for rape. In the same instance, if the person later regrets having sex with you, they may not press charges. Additionally, if you have been given consent, but the person later changes his or her mind and failed to communicate this information, then you may not be convicted of a sex crime. Furthermore, if you had reason to believe you had consent meaning that he or she is responsive to your sex acts, is not drunk, and is not a person under the age of 18, then you may not be convicted for a sex crime.
It is also important to note that consent cannot be given by a person under the age of 18. If you engage in a sex act with someone who is under the age of 18 and they have given you consent, you may face charges for statutory rape (sex with a person under the age of 18). It does not matter if you and the person under 18 are dating, what matters is that he or she is under the age of consent and therefore cannot give consent to engage in sexual intercourse. Statutory rape may be treated with a misdemeanor depending on the age difference between the two individuals, however, you will still be required to register as a sex offender.
To avoid sex allegations, it is best to receive consent before you engage with a sex act. Additionally, if you are dating or seeing someone under the age of 18, it is best to abstain from sexual intercourse or other sex acts as you may be charged with rape if the child or the child’s parents press charges.
General rape under Penal Code 261 in the state of California is a serious offense that warrants third tier sex offender registration and is usually charged with a felony and a prison sentence. Rape is a broad term used to describe different sex acts that occurred when there was no consent or when a sex act is forced upon someone’s free will. The rape laws in California cover the following:
- Penal Code 261: general rape is sexual intercourse that occurs with a person that fits the following descriptions:
- A person whose mentally, physically, or developmental disorder prevents them from giving legal consent
- A person who has been coerced by force, violence, or intimidation to engage in sexual intercourse
- A person that is taking advantage of while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance
- A person was unconscious or unaware such as when a person is asleep
- A person that has been threatened to engage in sexual intercourse
- A person who believes the other is a public official with the ability to deport or arrest if he or she does not engage in sexual intercourse
- Penal Code 261.5: statutory rape is otherwise known as sex with a person under the age of consent. A person may be charged with a misdemeanor if the age difference is between 3 years. However, if the offender is older than the minor by more than 3 years, he or she may face felony charges.
- Penal Code 262: spousal rape is when sex is forced upon a spouse. Sex can be forced upon a spouse by using force, while engaging in sexual intercourse while the other is asleep, or through threats. Spousal rape can also be charged under the domestic violence laws.
- Penal Code 288a: oral copulation is oral sex that is forced upon someone through physical means, through threats, or while the person is unconscious or intoxicated.
- Penal Code 289: sexual penetration with a foreign object or device is rape when it is done against a person’s free will through coercion, threats, while the person was unconscious or through the use of physical force.
Penalties for Rape
Individuals charged with rape under the Penal Codes mentioned above will more than likely be required to register as a sex offender for a lifetime. On top of the grueling effects of sex offender registration, the offender may be imprisoned for years and be required to pay thousands of dollars. The following will discuss the penalties that may apply for committing rape.
- A person convicted of rape under Penal Code 261 may face a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 5 years or up to 13 years in prison if the person was under the age of 14. Additionally, a person convicted of rape under Penal Code 262 may face similar charges as those under PC 261.
- A person charged with statutory rape (Penal Code 261.5) may face charges up to $25,000 and may face up to four years of prison. When the age difference is not larger than three years, the offender may face charges up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to a year.
- A person charged with rape under Penal Code 289, may face felony charges of up to $10,000 and up to 8 years in prison. Additionally, the offender will be required to register as a tier three sex offender for the rest of his or her life.
- A person charged with rape under Penal Code 288a may face a prison sentence of up to 8 years, a fine of up to 10,000 and lifelong sex offender registration obligations. Furthermore, if the person is under the age of 18, the prison sentence can extend to up to 12 years.
Sexual Assault and Battery
Sexual assault refers to the act of engaging in sexual activities either unsolicited groping or touching of another person with the intent to gratify a sexual pleasure. The sexual act can be charged with an attempt to rape or assault if the act was directed towards a person even if no touching was involved. For instance, if you acted with the intent to rape someone or with the intent to touch someone's genitals to satisfy a sexual pleasure then you may be charged with sexual assault. On the other hand, if you have touched someone with the intent to gratify a sexual pleasure, then you may be charged with sexual battery. Whenever there is the intent to touch or there is physical contact with another person with the intent to satisfy a sexual pleasure, then offender may be charged under the Assault and Battery laws under Penal Code 243.4.
Penalties for Assault and Battery: Individuals that have been charged with sexual assault and battery may face between a $2,000 to a $10,000 fine and a jail or prison term for up to four years.
Indecent exposure is when a person shows his or her genitals to others without consent, with the intent to sexually gratify a sexual pleasure, or with the intent to cause offense. Indecent exposure is a crime that is punishable under Penal Code 314 and may entail a fine of up to a $1,000 and a six-month jail sentence. A first-time offense is treated with a misdemeanor and will require the person to register as a sex offender for at least ten years. Any additional offenses under PC 314 may be charged with a felony.
Acts that can be charged under PC 314 include:
- A person who exposes his or her genitalia with the intent to cause sexual gratification
- A person who exposes his or her genitals to a crowd of minors
- A person who exposes his or her genitals to another person with the intent to cause discomfort or offense
The creation, distribution, or possession, of child pornography, is a crime under state and federal law that can warrant prison time for up to 30 years. Child pornography is a violation of laws that entail it is illegal to solicit a child to engage in a pornography or to acquire or distribute child pornography through the internet. The creation, distribution, or possession of child pornography is a serious offense that results in mandatory sex offender registration. Individuals that wish to remain free in society should avoid any sexual interaction with children as it may result in many years in prison and will definitely ruin your economic and social life after you register as a sex offender.
Solicitation and Prostitution
Prostitution is the act of exchanging sexual favors for money. In most states (except for a small region in Nevada), prostitution is illegal and the act of soliciting for sexual favors in exchange for money is also illegal. Prostitution usually involves an exchange of goods for sex, the person that engages in the sexual favors, and the middleman also known as the ‘pimp’. There are different punishments for prostitutes, for ‘pimps’, and for individuals soliciting for sex. In most cases, individuals in prostitution will receive a misdemeanor charge and will not be required to register as a sex offender. However, if the act is repeated or the act of soliciting is directed towards a child, then the charges can go up to a felony.
Soliciting for sexual favors is asking someone to perform a sexual activity in return for a ‘good’. A good can be drugs, money, a computer, a car, or other objects that hold value. Soliciting does not have to include a prostitute which means a person can be charged with soliciting if they ask a coworker, roommate, or stranger to engage in a sexual act in exchange for a good.
Solicitation and prostitution in California can be charged under Penal Code 647 which includes a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 6 months.
Sex Offender Registration
When you commit a sex crime, you will be required to register as a sex offender either for ten years, twenty years or for the rest of your life. The amount of time you are required to register as a sex offender will usually depend on the type of crime you committed. For instance, if you have been convicted of indecent exposure then you may only be required for ten years. On the other hand, if you have been convicted of raping a person under the age of consent or you have been charged with a more serious sex crime, then you may be required to register for a lifetime. The state and federal registration will require you to share to the public a picture of your face, your full name, the sex crime that has made you a sex offender, and other personal information about yourself. In most cases, you will be required to share your address.
Once you are registered as a sex offender your community will have access to the information which means you may have people looking out for you, you may not be able to live near schools or parks, and you may be denied certain job opportunities. Sex offender registration is not something you want on your record as it may cause you to lose out on life.
Contacting a Sex Crimes Attorney Near Me
If you are in the state of California, you are encouraged to speak with a lawyer about your sex crime before you plead guilty. Having a lawyer by your side is crucial to help prevent a wrong conviction which may result in a long prison sentence or lifelong registration as a sex offender. To learn about the ways to challenge your case or ways in which your charges may be reduced, you may contact a criminal law attorney. To reach the Los Angeles Sex Crime Lawyer you may reach us at 310-502-1314. We are ready to provide consultation and representation in a court of law.