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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside Sex Crimes Lawyer

Sex crimes vary widely in scope, but they all can carry serious penalties. Choosing the right Riverside sex crimes attorney to represent you after an accusation of sexual assault could have a measurable impact on your sex crime, assault, or rape charges. There are a spectrum of sexual acts the courts consider criminal, and, if you’ve been charged with such a crime, your future may hang on where the assault you’ve been accused of lands on the spectrum.

Don’t wait to contact an aggressive and reputable sex crimes attorney. If you are accused of sex crimes, contact the Riverside sex crimes lawyers at our office to immediately to build your defense. Schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC today and continue reading below to see how your sex crime case may be handled.

Quick Answers

Why Choose Graham Donath Law Offices, APC?

In sex crimes cases, criminal defense attorneys generally have four opportunities to favorably resolve cases. Graham Donath has a successful track record in all four situations. Many sex crime cases are legally deficient for some reason. If that is true, the judge may throw the case out of court after a pretrial hearing.

For example, many violent sex crime prosecutions rest on the defendant’s confession. If officers did not give the defendant the proper warnings at the proper time and in the proper way, that confession may be illegal, whether the defendant voluntarily gave it or not. Other sex crime cases, such as possession of child pornography, feature search warrant violations. If officers lacked probable cause, the seized evidence may be inadmissible, meaning that the prosecution collapses like a house of cards.

Most criminal law cases settle out of court. In fact, according to some counts, plea bargains resolve over 95 percent of the criminal cases in Riverside County.

These plea agreements often feature reduced sentences and/or reduced charges. Given California’s broad sex offender registration law, that latter outcome is especially important. Many times, our professional team can reduce serious sex offense charges to something less serious, or even something non-sexual, such as reckless conduct. That reduction could mean less time on the Megan’s Law list, or perhaps not having to register at all.

As mentioned, some prosecutions are legally deficient. Others are factually deficient. If that’s the case, a not-guilty verdict at trial is a real possibility.

Many violent sex crimes have identification issues. Perhaps the light was low, or perhaps the alleged victim had been drinking. Other sex crimes, such as possession of pornography, have lots of moving parts. Unless the prosecutor establishes every element beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is not guilty as a matter of law.

The fourth area is a new one. In 2017, California lawmakers significantly modified Megan’s Law. Now, lifetime registration is only appropriate in limited situations. So, a sex crime attorney can get you off the list sooner. Early delisting is also a possibility. The procedure is relatively straightforward, if the defendant qualifies and if the defendant has an experienced attorney to push the application through the system.

What’s a Criminal Sex Act?

Riverside Sex crimes Attorney

To understand what constitutes a criminal sex act in California, consider the following list of general sex crimes and what each means.

  • Rape. When someone engages in sexual intercourse against the will of another. This falls under the arena of sexual assault. Even minors 18 and under can be charged with rape. Let’s say two minors have sexual intercourse with one other. If this is the case, in California they are both guilty of engaging in unlawful sex with each other. If you know a Juvenile who commits sexual offenses against minors, contact a Riverside juvenile crimes attorney right away.
  • Indecent exposure. It is unlawful to purposely expose one’s genitals to another. In California, indecent exposure is a sex crime when someone engages in the act in an effort to intimidate, arouse, or insult another. When indecent exposure leads to physical contact, the crime may elevate to sexual assault. Indecent exposure often carries misdemeanor penalties for a first offense, but the courts may elevate this charge to a felony for subsequent offenses.
  • Prostitution. California prostitution laws make it illegal to engage in, solicit, or agree to sex for compensation. Police can charge either the person soliciting sex for compensation or offering it with a crime.
  • Sexual Assault. Sexual assault is when someone forces another to engage against his or her will in a sexual act. It does not have to be intercourse, but it is a crime to engage in non-consensual touching of any kind.
  • Statutory Rape. Statutory rape refers to any sexual act with an individual who is below the age of consent. There is no requirement of force for these acts since people below a certain age are unable to legally grant consent. In California, the age of consent is 18.
  • Child Pornography. In California, it is also a crime to transmit or disperse images of a minor under 18 years old. Sexual exploitation of a child carries maximum fines of $2,000 and/or time in state prison.

It’s important to note that a single act may lead to multiple charges of sex crimes. As a result, penalties can be cumulative, this is why it’s essential you speak with a Riverside sex crimes attorney as soon as possible to understand the charges you are facing.

The Sex Offender Registry in California

An early adopter, California became the first state to require the registration of sex offenders in 1947. Anyone who has been convicted of certain sexual offenses must register with this system. The requirement lasts a lifetime. All the crimes outlined above subject a person for registering.

When sex offenders move, they must get in touch with the local authorities to update the registry within five days. If they do not meet this requirement, it may be grounds for an additional criminal offense.

California was the nation’s first state to mandate sex offender registration and has enforced this rule from 1947 onward. The state requires individuals who have been convicted of certain offenses of a sexual nature to document themselves in the state’s sex offender registry. This requirement remains in place for the duration of the offender’s life.

With the passing of Megan’s Law in 1996, Penal Code 290.46, the information in the sex offense registry is public and widely available on the internet. Megan’s Law authorizes local law enforcement to notify the public when registered sex offenders move nearby and if they believe the offender poses a risk to public safety. It may have devastating effects on a person’s professional and personal life, as it can have an impact on admittance to college, job prospects, dating, and more. It’s essential to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can lessen or plead to alternative charges that don’t require registration, if possible.

What Is Rape in California? | Penal Code 261 pc

California has a number of statutes that address rape. These rape laws criminalize sexual acts that occur without the consent of at least one of the participants. Rape is a crime in the broader category of sexual assault, which encompasses many more criminal offenses. When two people have sexual intercourse, the crime of rape might occur under California state law if any of the following apply:

  • The victim lacked the ability to consent, whether through age (under 18), developmental or intellectual disability, intoxication, or physical incapacity.
  • The victim was unaware that sexual intercourse was happening through unconsciousness or state of sleep or intoxication.
  • The victim reacted out of fear of immediate danger or bodily injury to another person.
  • The person perpetrating the act used intimidation, threats, or force.
  • The defendant made a fraudulent representation that led to intercourse.

If charged with rape, it’s in your best interest to hire an aggressive and respected Riverside rape defense lawyer. Rape charges carry severe penalties if convicted and require time and attention in preparation for court, two things a public defender may unfortunately not have given their heavy caseloads.

Penalties for Rape Crimes

Sentencing and penalties for rape depend on the severity of the crime, as well as the defendant’s prior criminal history. Generally, California state law punishes convicted rapists with imprisonment in a California state facility for a term of 3, 6, or 8 years. These sentences may increase when any of the following apply:

  • The victim is a minor over fourteen (sentence elevates to 7-11 years)
  • The victim is a child under 14 (sentence elevates to 9-13 years)
  • The victim worked in tandem with another person to commit rape.

Civil penalties may also apply to rape crimes when the victim is a minor. These fines range from $2,000 to $25,000.

State laws also provide special consideration for rape penalties when the victim and the perpetrator are less than three years apart. For example, a prosecutor may choose to pursue a misdemeanor or felony charge for statutory rape, depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history. The consequences may range from 1-3 years in county jail instead of a state penitentiary.

What Is the Average Cost for a Sexual Assault Criminal Defense Attorney?

You don’t need convincing of the importance of hiring a sex crimes lawyer – you need to know the bottom line: how much will hiring one cost you? Graham Donath and his associates know the price tag of a private defense attorney can turn some people off to hiring one…until they realize all the benefits we provide over a cheap public defender. You might save money on your representation, but you get what you pay for – a weaker defense. It’s incredibly important for someone facing serious sexual assault criminal charges to go with the right criminal defense lawyer.

The way your Riverside sex crime lawyer will charge for services depends on the firm. Don’t hesitate to ask about our costs, fees, and charges up front during your free consultation in Riverside. We are always honest and straightforward about how we charge clients. For the most part, our services cost more the more serious the charge. You may pay more for felony representation than a misdemeanor, for instance, because felonies can come with greater consequences and require more defense preparation.

Standard defense fees do not exist. Each firm will charge you differently for services depending on several factors. However, the average defendant will spend at least $1,500 for good representation, or $150 per hour for an hourly rate. If you see a private attorney with ultra-low fees, beware. Less-experienced lawyers can charge less to get more clients, but they may not be the right fit for you. Extremely low hourly rates can also be misleading, as an inexperienced attorney can take a much longer time to resolve your case than a practiced one.

Weigh Your Options Carefully

Before you simply choose the most inexpensive defense option, think about the consequences. Rape and sexual assault crimes are serious. The penalties you face could be years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. We don’t say this to scare you, but to warn you. The lawyer you choose can make an enormous difference to the outcome of your case. A busy, inexperienced, and overwhelmed public defender may not have the time or attention to dedicate to your case. A private criminal defense attorney will put you, your case, and your future first.

You might spend more hiring a private attorney than going with a public defender, but the investment will be worth the returns. What is your freedom worth to you? How about your future employment opportunities? Getting your name off California’s sex offender list? If these things are important to you, you must go with the lawyer who will do the best job representing you – not the one that costs the least amount of money. Most attorneys – Graham Donath included – will work with clients to come up with a payment plan that works for them.

Don’t let the cost of a sex crime lawyer in Riverside determine your future. There are ways to work around a price tag if you can’t afford the fees upfront or in a lump sum. The most important thing is to hire representation that can get you the best results possible. After all, a sexual assault charge is serious and could be life-changing. Feeling confident in your representation decision can give you the peace of mind you need during this hard time. Go with a sex crimes lawyer who has the experience and real case results for the best outcome.

Ask Our Lawyers About Cost of Services Today

If you’re struggling with the choice of hiring a private defense attorney because of the cost, know that personalized plans are available. We wouldn’t recommend our services if we didn’t think hiring us was in your best interests. Don’t wait any longer – contact our law firm and request a price quote. We’ll be happy to discuss your case and potential attorney fees in more detail, for free and at no obligation.

What Is Sexual Assault?

Rape falls under the broader category of sexual assault. For many individuals, this term can seem vague and confusing. Laws vary from state to state, but broadly speaking, sexual assault refers to any crime that results in a victim experiencing sexual touching that is unwanted or offensive. Examples of sexual assault include groping, assault and battery, attempted rape, and rape.

The California Penal Code prohibits any unwanted touching of another person’s intimate parts. California law defines intimidate parts as any victims “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.” When sexual assault leads to non-consensual intercourse, the crime elevates to a rape charge.

Prosecution of Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault and battery (PC 243.4) is a “wobbler” crime under California law, which means the courts may consider it a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanor sexual battery carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,000. When a defendant is a victim’s employer, the fine raises to $3,000.

Felony sexual battery carries more severe penalties that depend on the nature of the crime and a defendant’s prior history. Penalties for imprisonment range from one to four years in prison and fines between $2,000-$10,000.

A conviction for Sexual Battery PC 243.4 is also not a “Strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law

Proving Sexual Assault Charges

Generally, sexual assault is involuntary sexual contact that occurs under the use of coercion, force, or a victim’s incapacity. California law considers victims too incapacitated when they do not have the mental or intellectual ability to understand the sexual acts. This also applies when a victim is incapable of indicating their willingness to participate in a sexual act. Examples of these may include the use of date rape drugs or having sex with someone who is incapacitated due to alcohol, both of which can make a victim unable to consent.

Sexual assault laws cover any nonconsensual misconduct between two or more individuals. They apply to people of any sex or age. For example, sexual assault laws apply between two minors, two women, two men, and so on. Sexual assault laws can be complicated, speak with our Riverside sex crimes attorney to understand the laws related to your charges.

To prove a case of sexual assault, the prosecution must provide, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the following occurred beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant touched a victim intimately while the victim was restrained, either by the defendant or another person. Touching may be direct or indirect (i.e., through the victim’s clothing).
  2. The touching was against the victim’s will – i.e., the victim did not consent to the sexual conduct.
  3. The defendant engaged or intended to engage in the sexual conduct for the purpose of sexual arousal, abuse, or sexual gratification.

Defenses for Sexual Assault

The most common defense for sexual assault is that the victim actually consented to the act. If the defendant can sufficiently prove that sexual conduct did not violate the victim’s will because he or she gave permission, then the prosecutor may have more trouble establishing all the legally-required elements of a sexual assault or battery. This defense cannot apply to crimes involving minors or when the individual lacks the mental capacity to consent.

Lack of credible evidence is also a very good defense to sexual assault charges. Many times, alleged victims identify defendants in biased lineups. The lineup may not be double-blind (i.e. neither the supervising officer nor the alleged victim knows the suspect’s identity). Moreover, cross-racial identification is sometimes an issue. If a person of one race looks at a group of people from another race who are all basically the same age and build, those people will all look alike. That’s not a function of racism or prejudice. That’s a function of biology.

Sometimes, the identification is not just shaky. It is blatantly false. Alleged victims do not manufacture these allegations very often, but these cases do happen. In general, if the alleged victim had any possible ulterior motive, that’s usually enough for a Riverside criminal defense attorney to create reasonable doubt.

Additionally, many violent sex offense cases feature “scientific” evidence, such as DNA evidence, clothing fibers, footprints, and tire tracks. With the exception of DNA tests, this CSI-type evidence is more science fiction than science fact. Moreover, from a statistical standpoint, DNA evidence exonerates almost as many defendants as it convicts.

Procedural defenses often apply in all sex crimes cases, and not just sexual assault. Police officers must have search warrants based on probable cause before they can seize evidence in these cases. Alternatively, a narrow search warrant exception, such as the consent exception, must apply

Finding a Sex Crimes Attorney in Riverside

Facing charges of a sex crime can be daunting. These crimes can not only lead to fines and imprisonment, they may affect an individual long after they’ve served their sentence. Registration on a sex registry can affect a person’s ability to find gainful employment, date, and even make friends. Whenever possible, it’s essential to plead to alternate charges that don’t require registration.

This is one of the aspects that makes hiring an experienced Riverside sex crimes lawyer necessary. The right Riverside criminal attorney will walk you through your options and remain your advocate through a stressful process.

Unfortunately, even an accusation of sexual assault can have devastating consequences. Graham Donath has dedicated his entire career to protecting the rights of the accused. Let him fight for you, providing fair treatment in your case while standing up for you in court. For more information about our criminal defense services or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact our sex crimes lawyers.

sex crimes Lawyer in Riverside

Client Review:

“I have used a couple different lawyers for various things throughout the years and Graham is unequivocally the most efficient and hardest working one that I have hired. He is extremely thorough and communicates very well. I would highly recommend him to anyone in the market for an attorney.” -David