Sex crimes vary widely in scope, but they all can carry serious penalties. Choosing the right Riverside defense attorney to represent after an accusation of sexual assault could have a measurable impact on your sex crime, assault or rape case. 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. 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.
To understand what constitutes a criminal sex act in California, consider the following list of general sex crimes and what each means.
It’s important to note that a single act may lead to multiple charges of sex crimes. As a result, penalties can be cumulative.
An early adopter, California became the first state to require 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 to registering.
When sex offenders move, they must get in touch with the local authorities to update the registry within five days. If they to 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. Megan’s Law authorizes local law enforcement to notify the public when registered sex offenders move nearby and if they believe the offender to pose 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 defense attorney who can lessen or plead to alternative charges that don’t require registration, if possible.
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:
If charged with rape, it’s in your best interest to hire an aggressive and respected Riverside rape defense lawyer. Rape cases 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 case loads.
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:
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.
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 nonconsensual intercourse, the crime elevates to rape.
Sexual assault and battery 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.
Generally, sexual assault is involuntary sexual contact that occurs under 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 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.
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:
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 mental capacity to consent.
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 defense attorney necessary. The right criminal defense 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 us.
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