If you live in Ventura and you are convicted of a sex crime charge, you will carry the consequences of that conviction with you forever. Even if you’ve finished any jail time, probation or parole you received at sentencing, paid your fines, and finished any other court stipulate actions, the stigma of a sex crime charge lasts for a lifetime, as does the mandatory requirement that you register with and abide by the rules of the sex offender registry – permanently.
Types of Sex Crimes
While most people know that sex crimes include charges of rape and child abuse, you can be charged with a sex crime if someone accuses you of other actions as well and every sex crime charge can result in the mandatory registration and the lifetime stigma.
A person suspected of committing a sex crime can be accused of any number of things including anything related to child pornography and rape to other, lesser crimes such as urinating in public, statutory rape (sex with a minor, even if minor consented), and voyeurism. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sex crime stigmas, even the smallest and inconsequential of charges can result in sever actions and charges that are not fitting to the crime.
This is why Ventura residents, and residents of Southern California need to act fast if they’ve been charged with a sex crime, no matter how small or “inconsequential” the charges. If you secure an aggressive Ventura sex crime lawyer who will stand by your side and fight sex offense charges on your behalf tirelessly and without fail, you will have a much better chance at fighting the charges and avoiding the lifetime of consequences that will follow you.
Sex crime statistics reported nationwide include:
- A person is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every two minutes
- There were about 18.6 rapes per every 100,000 people in Ventura in 2011
- 207,754 people become sexual assault victims every year
- In the U.S., 747,408 people are registered nationwide as sex offenders
- Of that nationwide number, 84,000 are registered in California
- Of the California number, the City of Ventura tracks about 220 of registered offenders
- Of those registered sex offenders, about 61 percent have a prior record
- About 20 percent of convicted child sex offenders are convicted a second time
- The typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children
Because the courts see sex crimes as extremely serious offenses and because sex crime statistics are so high, the courts tend to want to make an example out of those who are convicted of sex crimes. Because of this, prosecutors and courts want to see sex offenders spend as much time in jail as possible, and will recommend harsh punishments without regard for extenuating circumstances or other issues surrounding the charges or the conviction.
It is a good idea to retain an attorney to help defend you as soon as possible after you find out you are being investigated, or as soon as possible after, you are charged in connection with a sex crime because the right criminal defense lawyer can help you prove circumstances that could get the charges reduced, or dismissed entirely.
If you are accused of date rape, one of the more common accusations, you need to understand that even if the accuser consented in the beginning of intercourse, but later said no, it is still considered rape if you didn’t stop. There are numerous situations such as this in which it isn’t clear that the action is considered rape, or in which you might not know, which is why as soon as you are accused or arrested, you should seek counsel.
Federal Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
If you’ve been accused of a sex crime in the state of California, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find yourself facing federal charges. While sex crimes can be handled at the state level, they can be, and often are, charged as federal offenses. What does having your charges brought to federal court mean for you?
It means that the government will use the vast resources at its disposal to try to convict you, including the FBI and federal marshals. It also means you may face severe penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence, if you are found guilty. If you or someone you know is facing federal sex crime charges, only a knowledgeable and experienced sex crimes attorney who understands the differences between state and federal sex crimes can help you navigate the criminal process and procedures and mount a successful defense for your case.
Federal Sex Crimes Charges
Sex crimes can be considered state violations, federal offenses, or sometimes both. When and how a case is under state or federal jurisdiction can vary from case to case in the following ways:
- A case that begins in federal court might be released to the state court
- A case that begins in the state court might be elevated to federal court
- A case may be tried in both state and federal court at the same time
When does a sex crime become a federal offense?
More serious offenses are more likely to be charged as federal sex crimes, such as cases where unlawful activity crossed state lines, affected a minor child, or involved the use of the internet. Some sex crimes that are typically handled by federal courts include:
- Aggravated charges such as aggravated sexual assault or aggravated rape
- Child pornography
- Solicitation of a minor, particularly if done online or across state lines
- Exploitation of a minor
- Trafficking or transportation of individuals across state or international lines with the intent that they will engage in illegal sexual activity
Certain federal sex crimes have become more common in recent years. One example is “sex tourism,” where a person travels outside of the United States in order to engage in sexual acts that are illegal in the US but legal in a foreign country. Cases of “Sex tourism” frequently involve minors and may include travelling to a foreign country with a minor or in order to meet a minor with the intention of engaging in sexual acts.
Investigation and trial of federal sex crimes
The investigation and trial of sex crimes is more complicated when it’s handled by the federal court rather than the local court. This is partly due to the fact that the federal court often takes on “bigger” crimes. Regardless of the scope of the crime, a federal case will typically involve a number of law enforcement agencies and individuals in the investigation. The DEA and FBI commonly conduct lengthy and extensive investigations. This means more time and more work for the defense team, which leads to more legal fees for the defendant.
If you’ve been charged with a federal sex crime, you can not only expect a longer and more complicated legal process, but for the crime to be more aggressively prosecuted as well. The federal government has many more resources and much bigger budgets than local governments, all of which they will use to try to secure a conviction. In terms of building a strong defense, only a highly skilled attorney will be able to do the proper research necessary to form an equally aggressive defensive strategy.
While the investigative process for an alleged federal sex crime can vary from one case to another, a typical investigation is likely to follow the process below:
A sex crime investigation usually begins at the local level, when an alleged victim makes an accusation. Typically, this is through a call to the local police department. Once the accusation is placed, local law enforcement will interview the accuser. If the alleged victim is a minor child, parents or professionals such as a counselor or psychologist may also be brought in as part of the interview process. Law enforcement officials will evaluate evidence to decide if there is reason to open an official investigation.
Investigators may interview people who might have knowledge about the case or have other pertinent information. They may also try to interview the alleged perpetrator. The accused has a right to decline to be interviewed, as anything that is said could be used against them in court. Even if taken into custody for the interview, the accused has a right to remain silent and to seek counsel from an attorney.
If the evidence collected in the investigation (through interviews or otherwise) gives law enforcement good reason to believe that a sex crime has been committed, they will make an arrest. The alleged perpetrator will be held temporarily in jail. If the court decides to grant bail and the accused pays the fee, he or she may await trial out of jail.
A sex crime can be moved to federal jurisdiction at any time during the process if deemed appropriate by a judge or other official who brings it to the federal court. It is ultimately up to federal courts to determine whether they will take the case.
Penalties for Federal Sex Crimes
Penalties for federal sex crimes vary depending on the details of the case, but are typically very severe and prison sentences tend to be lengthy because of mandatory minimum sentences. Additionally, many federal sex crimes are charged in conjunction with other federal crimes, such as kidnapping or drug trafficking, which can increase the penalties if convicted. Below are some of the potential penalties for a federal sex crime conviction:
- A lengthy federal prison sentence
- Up to double the amount of fines and length of prison sentence if a minor was involved
- Mandatory federal sex offender registration
A federal sex crime conviction can also lead to harsh consequences beyond those that are issued by the court. The stigma associated with having committed a sex crime can be damaging to a person’s reputation and career.
National sex offender registry
Registration in the national sex offender registry is mandatory for anyone convicted of a federal sex crime. The registry is open to anyone and includes the offender’s name, address, and offenses, as well as a photo. This public information can create a number of challenges for the offender, particularly in finding employment or housing.
Defenses against Federal Sex Crimes Charges
If you’ve been accused of a federal sex crime, you may be facing some very serious charges. A conviction can come with a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, mandatory registration as a federal sex offender, and a stigma that can last the rest of your life. The federal government has extensive investigative, legal, and financial resources at its disposal that it will use to prosecute you harshly and aggressively. But you don’t need to go through the process alone. A qualified defense attorney can educate you about the applicable laws and fight to defend your rights.
While the federal prosecutors build a case against you, your federal sex crimes defense attorney will work with law enforcement and courts to gather evidence for your defense. He or she will communicate with courts and law enforcement on your behalf and keep you informed every step of the way. Your attorney’s goal is to find you the best possible outcome in your case. In some cases, a highly skilled attorney may be able to settle out of court, have the defendant’s sentences reduced, or even get the case dropped altogether.
As a Lead Counsel rated California defense attorney with over 30 years of experience representing clients in local and federal cases, I have the kind of knowledge and background that is necessary to fight the most serious charges. Me and my team will work tirelessly to build you the strongest possible defense and be there all along the way to guide you through the process. If you are in need of a federal sex crimes attorney or have questions about the charges you are facing, contact my firm today for a free case review.