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BlogHow a Sex Crime Conviction can affect the Rest of Your Life

Generally speaking, a sex crime is any crime of a sexual nature. Although the specific penalties upon conviction may vary depending upon the nature of the charge, a sex crime conviction can affect you for many years to come. As a result, if you're facing allegations of a sex crime, you should speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.

In a sex crimes case, the odds can be stacked against the criminal defendant. This is because of the extremely negative public stigma associated with sex offenders and sex crimes. Consequently, if you have been charged with a sex crime in California, you need an experienced California criminal defense attorney on your side who will safeguard your legal rights and help you obtain the best possible result in your case. In some instances, this may mean a complete dismissal of your charge. In other cases, it may mean a favorable plea deal or a post-conviction reduction in your sentence.

An experienced California criminal defense attorney can help you at every stage of your criminal case. If you are currently facing a sex crime charge, time may be of the essence. You should call The Law Offices of David S. Chesley as soon as possible at 1-800-755-5174, or contact us online to find out how we can help you.

Which Crimes Qualify as Sex Crimes in California  

Various offenses amount to sex crimes under California law. Some offenses involve just adults, while other offenses involve minors. Sex crimes which typically involve just adults include the following:

  • Rape – or sexual intercourse which involves violence, threats of violence, fraud, lack of consent, or retaliation. In some cases, the rape victim is not able to consent to the act of intercourse because he or she is impaired. This impairment may be caused by drugs or alcohol. A rape victim may also be unable to understand or appreciate what is happening due to mental incapacity. In the State of California, rape is a felony offense. Consequently, a conviction can result in three, six, or eight years' incarceration, as well as a hefty monetary fine.
  • Solicitation/Prostitution – In order to be charged with solicitation or prostitution, the offender must have engaged in prostitution, solicited a prostitute's services, or allowed another person to make the necessary arrangements to exchange money for sex. Although prostitution charges typically involve money as part of the exchange, they do not have to. In other words, the offender could exchange goods, services, or something else of value for sexual favors. Although prostitution is a misdemeanor charge, both the solicitor and the customer can sustain the charge.
  • Indecent exposure – A person can be charged with indecent exposure for exposing his or her genitals, private parts, or bodies in a public setting. In order to be charged with indecent exposure, it is not necessary that anyone else observe the offender. Rather, the exposure itself is sufficient to sustain the charge. In most cases, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor offense.
  • Lewd Conduct – A person may sustain a lewd conduct charge for touching someone else’s private parts (or his/her own private parts) while out in public – and for purposes of sexual arousal or sexual gratification. Private parts may include a person’s buttocks, genitals, or female breasts. A lewd conduct charge is typically a misdemeanor charge.
  • Sexual Battery – An individual may be charged with sexual battery for touching another person’s private parts, without that person’s consent, and for purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. This includes touching another person’s private parts over top clothing. Depending upon the circumstances, sexual battery could constitute either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense.

In addition to these adult-only sex crimes, other sex crimes may involve minors. Those crimes include the following:

  • Lewd Acts with a Child – A person can sustain a lewd acts charge for touching a child's body anywhere – even if the touching occurs over the top the child's clothing – for purposes of sexual gratification or arousal. The touching does not need to involve an "intimate" body part or genital area. This offense constitutes a felony, and a conviction can result in three, six, or eight years' incarceration. The length of the prison sentence depends primarily upon the circumstances involved and the extent of force or intimidation used by the offender against the child.
  • Statutory Rape – A person can sustain a statutory rape charge if he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a child under 18 years of age. A child of that age is not able to provide consent. A statutory rape charge may constitute either a felony or a misdemeanor and can result in a $25,000 penalty and required registration as a sex offender.

Lifetime Consequences of Sustaining a California Sex Offense Conviction

A California sex crime conviction can come with a myriad of consequences. As you might expect, a sex crime conviction can often result in hefty fines and/or jail time. The amount of the fine and length of the jail time typically depend upon the circumstances of the offense and whether the offense is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor.

In addition to the obvious penalties, a sex crime conviction can put a damper on a person’s liberty, living arrangements, and reputation in the community. As part of a plea deal, for example, a sex offender may be given a term of probation – some or all of which may be supervised. Likewise, the offender may have to register as an offender on federal and state sex offender registries. As part of this registry, the offender’s picture will be taken and will remain online for public viewing permanently.

In addition to online sex offender registries, an offender’s conviction history is also available for the public to view. Since more and more employers, schools, and lenders are doing criminal background checks on applicants, a sex crime conviction can make it very difficult for you to accomplish the following:

  • Find a place to live, such as an apartment or a condominium
  • Gain admission to an educational institution, such as a college or university
  • Find a good job in your area

Potential Defenses to California Sex Crime Charges

Sex crimes, like other California crimes, have potential defenses associated with them. A successful defense could result in a ‘not guilty’ finding in court. Some potential defenses to California sex crime charges include:

  • Consent – in cases where the alleged victim knowingly and willingly took part in the sexual activity (except for cases where the alleged victim was under 16 years of age at the time the alleged offense occurred)
  • DNA evidence – in cases where DNA evidence was collected but the sample was deemed unreliable due to improper testing techniques or methods of collection
  • Mistaken identity – where the alleged victim was unable to see or observe the offender at the scene fully – or where the offender has a good alibi

Contact a California Sex Crimes Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

California sex crimes and convictions should never be taken lightly. At The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense lawyers can review your case and discuss your options with you. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a California criminal defense attorney, call us today at 1-800-755-5174, or contact us online.