What is considered a sex crime in California? In this state, a “sex crime” is any misdemeanor or felony of a sexual nature – from indecent exposure to forcible rape. If you are charged with a sex crime in Southern California, you must contact an Orange County sex crimes attorney at once.
What are your legal rights if you are charged with a sex crime in this state? How can you fight a sex crime charge? What if the accusation against you is fabricated? When should you speak to a California criminal defense lawyer?
If you will keep reading this short introduction to sex crimes, the law, and your legal rights, you’ll learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn what steps an Orange County criminal defense attorney will take on your behalf.
What Crimes Are Sex Crimes?
In California, the list of sex crimes is quite long. The list includes but is not limited to these criminal offenses:
- rape, date rape, and statutory rape
- sexual assault and sexual battery
- lewd acts with a child, child molestation, sexual abuse, and child pornography
- prostitution, solicitation, and human trafficking
- lewd conduct, indecent exposure, and “revenge” porn
- sexual extortion
- failing to register as a sex offender
What Are the Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction?
Along with a prison or jail sentence, a California sex crime conviction usually requires registration as a sex offender – in some cases, for life. If your sex crime conviction is for a felony charge:
- You are obligated to disclose your felony conviction on employment applications.
- You may not legally own or possess a firearm.
- You will find it difficult or impossible to have the conviction expunged.
If you hold a professional license in California, expect a conviction for a sex crime to trigger disciplinary action by your professional licensing board. If you are not a United States citizen, a conviction for a sex crime in California may prompt a deportation proceeding.
Is There Human Trafficking in Orange County?
In February of this year (2022), fifty-six persons were charged with human trafficking in Orange County. Sixteen victims were recovered, including two minors. Human trafficking happens “all over Orange County,” according to Captain Craig Friesen of the Anaheim Police.
Due to its affluence, traffickers can make more money in Orange County than in many other areas, so they bring girls and women here specifically to meet the demand. Anyone convicted of human trafficking in Orange County can expect to be penalized with a lengthy prison sentence.
What Should You Know About the Statute of Limitations?
In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the historic Justice for Victims Act, which ended California’s ten-year statute of limitations for sex crimes including rape and child molestation.
The statute, which took effect in 2017, allows for “the prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration, that are committed under certain circumstances, as specified, to be commenced at any time.”
In other words, in the State of California, most sex crimes may now be prosecuted at any time, with no deadline for filing sex-related criminal charges.
What If the Charge Against You Is False?
Thousands are arrested in this state every year and charged with rape, sexual assault, and other sex crimes. However, experienced defense lawyers, family law attorneys, and California judges see plenty of false sex crime accusations. It may happen more frequently than you might think.
Fabrications about rape or sexual assault are made for various reasons. An ex-spouse may be seeking an edge in a child custody or marital property dispute. A resentful teen might concoct a story about a teacher or a stepparent. Some false claims are made for no discernible reason.
Sometimes it is not easy to divide the falsehoods from the truth in sex crime cases. Your attorney will work hard to find the truth, but a fabricated sex crime charge is like any other false charge. If the case goes before a jury, what is “true” may be determined by a panel of strangers.
What Will Your Lawyer Do to Defend You?
How can you fight a fabricated allegation? The state must prove a defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, and in some cases, that is not easy, but you must be represented by an Orange County sex crimes attorney who knows how to cast doubt on the state’s evidence against you.
After reviewing the specifics of the charge, an Orange County criminal defense attorney will develop an appropriate defense strategy on your behalf – a strategy that will be both aggressive and effective.
If you’re taken into police custody, exercise your right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. If you are questioned by the police, you can simply say, “I would prefer not to answer any questions until my attorney can be present,” and then say no more.
Should You Accept a Plea Deal?
If you are not guilty, do not enter a guilty plea, and do not take a plea deal. Fight the charge aggressively with your lawyer’s help. However, if the case against you is strong, and if your conviction for a sex crime is a foregone conclusion, you may be offered a plea deal.
In such cases, your lawyer will attempt to negotiate a generous plea agreement that offers you reduced or alternative sentencing. Do not try to negotiate on your own, and do not accept any plea deal unless your lawyer believes it is the best possible resolution to your sex crime case.
Every sex crime charge is a serious charge, and if you are accused of a sex crime, you will need serious legal help. At your first possible opportunity, you must contact an Orange County attorney who has substantial experience representing defendants who are accused of sex crimes.