Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles
If you have been charged with a sexual offense, it’s imperative that you take your situation very seriously. Sex crimes are some of the most heavily prosecuted crimes in the state and the country, and people accused of committing these offenses always suffer from ridicule and tarnished reputations, even when they have yet to be found guilty. Unfortunately, sex crimes allegations are made against innocent people all the time, regardless of necessary evidence, and prosecutors handling these types of cases undoubtedly seek the toughest penalties possible. If convicted, you could be sentenced to time in prison, large fines, probation or parole, mandatory counseling, restitution to the victim, and more. In addition, people convicted of sex crimes are also required to register as a sex offender for life. For these reasons alone, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer to defend you throughout the criminal process. At the Goldstein Law Group, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have handled sexual related cases for many decades. Let’s take closer look at the most common types of sex crimes below.
Child pornography laws are covered under California Penal Code Section Sections 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, and 311.4. In basic terms, it’s a crime to produce, transport, distribute, possess, or sell pornographic materials involving or depicting minors under 18 years old. There are also strict federal child pornography laws. Under federal law, if you are convicted of distributing or receiving child pornography, you could receive a sentence of 5-25 years in prison. If convicted of manufacturing child pornography, you could receive a 15-30 year sentence in federal prison. Under California state law, possession of child pornography is a felony offense. If convicted, you could be sentenced to jail and pay a substantial fine. Additionally, you will be required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290. In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to convict you, they must be able to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, the elements of the crime including; (1) You had possession of child pornography, and; (2) You knew the images or videos showed an underage minor engaging in sexual conduct.
Possession of child pornography with intent to distribute is a “wobbler,” meaning the case can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. Possession of child pornography with intent to distribute for commercial purposes is always a straight felony offense. A conviction for either of these child pornography offenses will also require that you register as a sex offender for life. If you have been accused of any type of child pornography related case, including possession, production, sale or distribution of child pornography, you need to consult with our experienced Los Angeles sex crime lawyers.
Child molestation laws are covered under California Penal Code Section 647.6, which criminalizes the act of “annoying or molesting” a child. Typically, most people believe the term “molesting” means actual physical sexual abuse, but in fact physical contact doesn’t have to always occur to be charged with this sex crime. For example, lewd comments directed at a child, or indirect conduct such as masturbation could qualify as child molestation. However, most child molestation charges involve the touching of the private parts of a child. In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove:
- You engaged in conduct with a child under 18 years old
- Your conduct was considered irritating, annoying, harmful, or offensive
- Your motivation was an abnormal sexual interest in the victim.
Penal Code Section 647.6 is a misdemeanor crime that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000. However, child molestation can be charged as a felony crime if it occurred after you entered a residence without permission or you have prior convictions for certain crimes. A conviction also means you be required to register as a sex offender for life. Legal defenses against child molestation will require a close review of the circumstances and evidence. In many cases, there is no direct evidence, only the words of the minor victim. Our Los Angles sex crime lawyers may be show the child’s statements are not dependable or they were coerced by someone seeking revenge, such as in cases from an ex-spouse seeking an advantage in a child custody case.
The crime of rape is covered under California Penal Code Section 261. There are many situations where someone could be charged with rape, including overcoming the victims will by force, sexual intercourse against without consent, using duress, fear of bodily harm or fear of retaliation, threats, or coercion against the victim to perform a sexual act they would have otherwise not performed. In very basic terms, the crime of rape is having sexual intercourse with another person who didn’t freely give consent. This lack of consent can come in many forms. For example, the victim may have been unable to give consent due to a physical or mental disability. Another form of lack of consent is situations where the victim is placed in a state or fear or duress, such as a threat of violence. Yet another form of lack of consent occurs when the victim is incapable of giving consent because they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or being is unconscious.
A rape conviction will carry a significant sentence in a California state prison. Typically, the sentence will be three, six, or eight years. However, if the victim is a minor, the legal penalties will be increased significantly. Any legal defense strategy against rape charges will depend on the specific circumstances and evidence in the case. It’s critical to note the Los Angeles County prosecutor has the burden to prove there was a lack of consent. If our Los Angeles sex crime attorneys are able to cast some doubt on the issue of consent, you may be able to avoid a conviction. Other potential legal defenses include insufficient evidence that sexual intercourse took place at all or it’s a case of mistaken identity.
Again, the critical issue in a rape prosecution is consent, or the lack thereof. Therefore, if your Los Angeles criminal attorney can establish that the sexual contact at issue was consensual, then you have a complete defense to the charge. This usually must be accomplished through cross-examination of the complaining witness. Keep in mind that there are evidentiary protections, such as the “Rape Shield” laws, which limit the topics of cross-examination for alleged victims of sexual assault. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you which areas, if any, are legitimate to establish that consent was present and that you have been falsely accused. In cases where the alleged lack of consent stems from threatened abuse of authority or the diminished capacity to consent of the alleged victim, those elements may also be subjected to scrutiny.
The crime of statutory rape is covered under California Penal Code Section 261.5. It’s described as sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor under 18 years old. It’s critical to note that statutory rape charges can be filed even in cases where sexual intercourse was consensual due to the fact minors can’t legally give consent. In other words, consent is NOT a legal defense. Under PC 261.5, intercourse with someone under 18 years old qualifies as statutory rape. The legal penalties of a statutory rape case will depend on the circumstances. If you engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor who is less than three years younger than you, it’s a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine. If you are more than three years older, it’s a “wobbler,” meaning it can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. A felony conviction carries a three year jail sentence. If you are over 21 and the minor under 16 years old, you could face a jail sentence of four years.
Potential legal defenses by our Los Angeles sex crime lawyers include (1) You had an honest and reasonable belief the victim over 18 years old, and: (2) False accusation. For example, false statutory rape charges could occur from an alleged victim out of anger, jealously, or revenge.
The crime of statutory rape is covered under California Penal Code Section 314. It’s described as willfully exposing your genitals to another person with the specific intent of sexual gratification or to offend them. This exposure of your genitals can occur in a public place or any other place where other people who are present that can be offended or annoyed. As you can see, indecent exposure laws in California are vague and have the chance of including conduct you didn’t believe was unlawful. A common case of indecent exposure in Los Angeles County occurs when someone goes to a public setting, such as a park, and then intentionally exposes their genitals in front of people. In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to convict you, they must be able to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, certain “elements of the crime,” including:
- You willfully exposed your genitals in the presence of other people who might be annoyed or offended by your conduct. The word “willfully” means on purpose.
- When your exposed yourself, you acted in a lewd manner by intentionally directing attention to your naked genitals with the intent of personal sexual arousal or to offend the other individual.
Typically, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor crime that carries a sentence of 6 months in a county jail and a fine up to $1,000. However, there are situation where you could face a felony offense. For example, you could face aggravated indecent exposure charges if you entered a building without consent or have a prior conviction for indecent exposure or lewd and lascivious acts under California Penal Code Section 288. A felony conviction of violating California Penal Code Section 314 carries up to three years in a California state prison, a $10,000 fine, and mandatory sex offender registration for life under California Penal Code Section 290.
An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our law firm can use variety of legal defenses on your behalf against charges of indecent exposure. For example, we might be able to argue there is insufficient evidence to prove all the elements of the crime. Perhaps you didn’t act willfully with intent to arouse a sexual gratification or to offend anyone. Maybe it’s case of mistaken identity or even a false accusation from an accuser seeking revenge.
Other Common Los Angeles Sex Crimes
California Penal Code 647(b) – Solicitation of Prostitution
California Penal Code 653.22 – Loitering for Prostitution
California Penal Code 243.4 – Sexual Battery
California Penal Code 647(a) – Lewd Conduct
California Penal Code 288 – Lewd Acts with a Minor
California Penal Code 288a – Oral Copulation of a Minor
California Penal Code 290(b) – Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Contact a Los Angeles Sex Crime Attorney
If you have been accused of any sexual related crime, you should immediately contact the Los Angeles sex crime attorneys at the Goldstein Law Group. Over our decades of criminal law practice, our lawyers have handled countless sex crime cases. We provide aggressive legal representation and have a track record of success. Our law firm often gets involved before criminal charges are formally filed. Early intervention into your case by our attorneys can be critical to the outcome. The first step is to let us thoroughly review the specific details of your case to start planning as effective defense strategy. Contact our office at 323-461-2000.
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