Long Beach Sex Crime Attorney
Being accused of a sex crime can be overwhelming and stressful. When that accusation becomes a criminal proceeding threatening your freedom and livelihood, the situation can quickly change from stressful to devastating. Long considered one of the most heinous crimes, sexual offense cases are often aggressively investigated and prosecuted.
In most cases, a sex crime conviction carries consequences well beyond fines and prison time. You could experience mandatory registration on sex offender lists, which can even impact where you are able to live. Registry may also make it difficult to find employment and can carry a stigma that draws unwanted negative attention. Because of the serious nature of these accusations and the heavy penalties you could suffer, it is critical to find a skilled sex crimes attorney capable of building a strong defense.
Hiring the right sex crimes attorney could make a remarkable difference in the outcome of your case. At the Law Offices of Henry Salcido, we have the experience and expertise you expect from a Long Beach sex crimes defense lawyer and skilled representation when you need it the most.
Sex Crimes in California
A sex crime is loosely defined as any crime that is sexual in nature. These offenses range from misdemeanors to felonies. California law covers a wide range of sex crimes and even threats of sex crimes, but the most common can be broken down into four categories.
- Sex Crimes Against Minors
Crimes involving a minor are considered among the worst types of sex crimes. If you are facing these allegations, you’ll likely encounter strong emotions from all parties involved. Because the accusation alone stirs up these strong emotions, investigations and prosecution can be based on subjectivity rather than fact. This increases the risk of an unfair or illegal investigation. In fact, many allegations are proven unfounded when investigations are based on objectivity.A standard procedure during the investigation of these types of cases is to have a family member, friend, or even the victim call the suspect to try to get them to admit guilt while a law enforcement official listens to the call. Being aware of these calls can be critical because what you say is admissible in court. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you may be investigated for sex crimes against a minor, do not speak to anyone about the case. Instead, contact a Long Beach sex crimes attorneys who can advise you of your rights and how to proceed.Common sex crimes involving minors include:
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Lewd Acts
- Statutory Rape
- Internet Sex Crimes
Because technology has impacted the way that we communicate, California laws continue to develop alongside these advances. In 2004, California passed legislation that made it illegal for any person to knowingly communicate or attempt to communicate with a person who is a minor with the intent to meet to commit a lewd act. Additionally, it is illegal to create, receive, possess, or distribute any form of child pornography, including engaging in sexting with a minor.There are many other forms of crimes that can be considered internet sex crimes, including:
- Online solicitation
- Distribution of pornography without consent
- Online sex trafficking
If you have been contacted regarding an investigation into any alleged behavior by you, or if you are facing a search warrant for your technology, you should contact a Long Beach sex crime lawyer immediately.
- Misdemeanor Sex Crimes
Not all sex crimes are considered felonies. Other sex crime charges could either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Hence, it is important to pay attention to the investigation to make sure that every detail is accounted for and the facts are presented correctly. Any prior convictions or aggravating circumstances could play a role in how the state decides to prosecute your case, as well. While misdemeanors are considered less severe, the penalties you may face could be nearly as severe as a felony, including jail time and sex offender registration.Some cases that may be tried as a misdemeanor include:
- Indecent exposure
- Certain types of unlawful intercourse with a minor over 14
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Lewd acts in public
- Child annoyance
- Felony Sex Crimes
Facing charges for felony sex crimes is an incredibly serious situation. If convicted, penalties often include substantial prison time and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Felony sex crimes include many of the crimes already mentioned if the severity of the situation warrants felony charges. Other charges that are always felonies in California include:
- Lewd acts with a minor under 14
- Penetration with a foreign object
- Forced oral copulation
A skilled Long Beach sex crimes defense lawyer may help you craft a plea bargain or have your charges reduced. However, these crimes are life-changing if you are convicted.
Penalties for Sex Crimes
If you are convicted of a sex crime in California, you will likely face penalties that include registration on the California Sex Offender Registry as a part of Megan’s Law. This means that your name, address, crime, and photo will be published online for anyone to see, including friends, family, neighbors, and employers. Per Megan’s Law, if you are subject to lifetime registration, you will also need to register on the national registry, as well. This will require you to meet certain expectations in other states if you move or travel.
Sex offender registry is one of the most significant penalties for any sex crime. However, whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony, you also fail jail or prison time, fines up to $10,000, and monitored probation. If you have prior convictions, you may face tougher penalties.
Sex Crimes Criminal Defense
There are several ways to approach a defense for alleged sex crimes. Simply facing allegations may result in judgment from the general public, but that doesn’t mean you are guilty in a court of law. Our sex crime attorneys will use their expertise to present the best defense. Common defenses include:
- Victim Consent
When the victim of a case is an adult and was not in a state that prevented consent, like intoxication or mental incapacitation, you may be able to prove that they consented to sexual activity. Unfortunately, this defense relies on your word against the victim’s because there are often no witnesses to corroborate the testimony. Furthermore, consensual sex is difficult to prove, and prosecutors are keenly aware of this.Defense attorneys must often rely on the victim’s behavior before and after the incident to indicate if there was any consent given. Exercise caution when using this defense because it may appear to attack the victim, which may not look appropriate in the eyes of the jury. Most authorities require clear, affirmative consent as the only acceptable method of consent. Therefore, the burden of proof is shifted to the accused.
- Statutory Rape Consent Defense
- Mistaken Age
As mentioned, California has a strict age of consent of 18 years old. However, you may present a defense that you were misinformed and mistook the person’s age. If a reasonable person could believe the victim was 18 years of age or older and they lied to you about their true age, you may be able to build a defense against the accusation.
- Mistaken Identity
After a sex crime occurs, the victim is understandably left traumatized and shaken. During times like this, mistaken identity can lead to the wrong person being accused of a sex crime. If you believe this happened to you, you’ll need a sex crimes attorney to help you prove there is a solid alibi and DNA evidence that reinforces the claim that you were not involved in the crime.
- Lack of Criminal Record
If you are accused of a sex crime but have little evidence to show you were not involved, you may be able to rely on your lack of a criminal record. Having no criminal record can show that you are a morally upright individual, and the jury could weigh that as a part of their decision. Coupling lack of a record with support from the community, the value of your reputation and even your academic record can help paint the picture of someone incapable of committing the crime.
Sex Crime FAQs
Q: If I Am Charged with a Sex Crime, Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me?
A: Yes. Facing sex crime charges has lasting repercussions that you may never be able to escape. It is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so that you can start receiving the guidance you need to build the best defense possible. No matter the circumstances, do not wait to seek representation.
Q: If I Am Convicted of Indecent Exposure, Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?
A: Yes. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, California law requires anyone convicted of indecent exposure to register as a sex offender. Further penalties will depend on the severity of the crime, the age of the victim, and any other aggravating circumstances. Failing to register or to update your registration could result in additional charges.
Q: When Do I Need a Sex Crimes Lawyer?
A: If you experience sex crime charges, you need a sex crimes lawyer immediately. Representation is imperative to building a strong defense. You should reserve your right not to speak about the case until you have your lawyer present. You are under no obligation to answer any law enforcement questions while alone, and you should not do so. Make sure you have an expert fighting in your corner during the entire legal process.
Q: What Does a Sex Crimes Lawyer Do?
A: Sex crimes lawyers defend clients against all types of sex crime charges. A sex crimes lawyer is an expert in California’s unique laws. They know the legal precedents being used against you and how to use these statutes to build the best defense in your favor. An expert lawyer will protect your rights and make sure that the case proceeds with your best interests in mind.
Sex Crimes Attorney in Long Beach
If you are facing a sex crime charge in Long Beach, it is vital to secure representation as soon as possible. You deserve protection throughout the process, and at the Law Offices of Henry Salcido, our expertise can quickly be put to work for you. From start to finish, we will build the best defense possible while protecting your rights. You don’t have to fight alone. Contact our office today.