Skip to Content
State and Federal Criminal Defense Representation

What Are Different Sex Crimes?


Sex crimes are crimes that are in some way connected to the accused person’s sexuality. There are quite a variety of sex crimes as you can see below, and almost all of them carry heavy sentences.

If you should ever be accused of a sex crime, it is crucial that you contact an experienced sex crime lawyer immediately. Sex crimes are extremely serious offences, and most of them are felonies, so you need the best help you can possibly get, especially since false accusations are not uncommon when it comes to sex crimes.

And for sex crimes, those heavy penalties usually don’t end with imprisonment. Even after the convicted person is released from prison, the penalties continue, generally in the form of a required registration as a sex offender, and possibly restrictions on where the person may live.

What Are Different Sex Crimes?

Sex crimes include rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, child molestation, child pornography, indecent exposure, prostitution, and internet sex crimes.

While I practice primarily in California, I also represent clients in other parts of the country. For the purposes of this article, though, I will focus on California law, specifically the California penal code.


Rape is the most serious of sex offences. It is generally defined as forcing someone to have intercourse against their will or without their consent, either by physical force or by threatening the victim with force or other threatening consequences.

It is also considered rape if the victim cannot consent due to being intoxicated, incapacitated, or otherwise not mentally or physically in a state where they can give consent. An example would be if the rapist has dropped a “date rape drug” into their drink to make them lose consciousness.

In addition, there is statutory rape, which is defined as sexual conduct where the victim cannot legally give consent because they are under 18 years old.

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

This refers to an adult having intercourse with a minor who is no more than 3 years younger than the perpetrator. This is generally treated as a misdemeanor.

Sexual Assault or Battery

Sexual assault or battery is defined as touching someone’s intimate areas against their will for the purpose of arousall or sexual gratification. This can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the penalties can include up to four years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000

Child Molestation

The California Penal Code covers a range of activities that are considered child molestation. Generally, it involves an adult engaging in a lewd or lascivious act with a minor under 18 years of age, though there are also some sections that are focused on younger children.

Potential acts include touching the child’s body, which does not have to be on bare skin. It could involve causing the child to touch himself or herself. It could also involve oral copulation or sending explicit or obscene materials for the purpose of seducing the recipient.

There are additional codes for ongoing sexual abuse with a child under 14 or any kind of sexual acts with a child under 10.

Child Pornography

California law protects children under 18 from being exploited by pornographic materials. This means that producing, possessing, selling, and otherwise distributing pornographic material involving children is illegal.

While simply viewing such material is not officially illegal, usually viewing it also involves having it in one’s possession, for example by downloading it onto one’s computer. And that is illegal, as is sharing and emailing such material.

The penalties vary in severity, depending on whether the defendant merely possessed the material, or whether they were involved in producing, distributing or selling the material for profit. They can be up to 8 years in state prison. In addition, registration as a sex offender is also required upon release.

Indecent Exposure

The California penal code is a bit vague when it comes to indecent exposure. Flashing someone is one thing. But what about sunbathing in your private backyard? Or skinny dipping with your friends on a secluded beach? What about relieving yourself behind some bushes when a restroom is not available and you just “gotta go”?

The penal code defines it as follows: In order for there to be indecent exposure, there must be 1) willful exposure of your genitals, 2) it must happen in the presence of someone who might be offended, and 3) you must intend to direct the public’s attention to your genitals for sexual gratification (your own or someone else’s) or in order to sexually offend someone.

While a first offense is usually “just” a misdemeanor, you still need to take it seriously, because an indecent exposure conviction does come with a 10-year sex offender registration requirement! And that can cause big problems. So be sure to contact a lawyer if you’re accused of indecent exposure.


Whether it’s engaging in prostitution or soliciting it, prostitution is illegal in California. First offenses are usually considered misdemeanors. The punishment could include up to six months in county jail and fines of up to $1,000.

Internet Sex Crimes

The internet has opened a new range of options for would-be sex offenders in all of the above areas. It allows bad actors to get in touch with potential victims through social media or chat apps to coax them into meeting in person. This could be a fellow adult or a child.

There are also various avenues, including classified ads, that facilitate connections for the purpose of prostitution

Moreover, it’s also an avenue to solicit and distribute child pornography and other sexually offensive material.

There Is More

In spite of the heavy prison sentences most of these sex crimes carry, it’s not over by a long shot once the person is released. Almost all sex crimes come with a lengthy and sometimes life-long requirement of registering as a sex offender.

There may also be restrictions as to where they can live and work. All these things can make life extremely difficult, costing them professional licenses and making it challenging to even get a job and a place to live.

Contact an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney Today!

As you can see, sex crimes are a serious matter, and if you’re ever accused of one, don’t take chances. Get in touch with an experienced sex crime lawyer immediately for a free initial case evaluation, and find out what we can do to help you. We have extensive experience with sex crime cases both in California and nationwide. Call us or email us now. We’ll be happy to talk with you and answer your questions.

The post What Are Different Sex Crimes? appeared first on Law Office of Diane C. Bass, A Professional Law Corporation.