In California, a sex crime is any illegal act of a sexual nature. There are many different types of sex crimes, ranging from solicitation of a prostitute to rape. The Hampton Law Group handles the defense of all sex crimes. A charge or conviction for one of these crimes in California can have devastating effects on an individual's freedom and future. If you have been arrested or charged with a sex crime in California, if it crucial that you contact an attorney right away.
One of the most serious crimes is rape. Rape involves sex through the use of force or fear, coercion and/or violence. The most common sex crimes include rape either by force or coercion, marital rape, statutory rape (rape of an under age person), child molestation, prostitution, sexual assault, lewd conduct, indecent exposure, pimping and pandering and some Internet crimes involving pornography. Sex crimes may be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Prosecutors and judges take sex crimes very seriously and one of the consequences of a conviction is mandatory reporting, pursuant to Megan’s Law. Since the passage of Megan’s Law, the District Attorney’s Office has set up specific units to prosecute these crimes. Law enforcement agencies have established specific units to vigorously investigate and prosecute these individuals. Added resources have been allocated to assist law enforcement in their investigations. In addition to the consequences imposed by the Court, a person convicted of a sex crime risks loosing his or her job and peer friendships. Due to Megan’s Law and mandatory reporting, the person’s home residence will be placed on the Internet for anyone to look up.
Anyone facing charges or being investigated for a sex crime should hire an experienced lawyer immediately. A lawyer with experience in defending sex crimes cases will have your best interest. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, then you need to know that a conviction of any sex crime can have profound and serious effects on someone’s life and reputation. The person may be imprisoned if convicted of certain sex crimes, and in many cases, the person will need to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life. Other penalties a person faces for being convicted of a sex crime include imprisonment in jail or prison, probation or parole, lifetime registration as a sex offender, a criminal conviction on his or her record for life, counseling, fines, as well as victim restitution, which may be significant.
Some of the most common examples of sex crimes include:
Statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse by a person older then 18 with a female or male who is below the legal age of 18 years old but older then a child (usually 14 years old). Even if the underage person voluntarily and with full consent and knowledge has sexual intercourse with an adult, a crime has still occurred. The prosecution can charge a person with this crime, even if the underage person refuses to cooperate with the government. If the adult is a teacher or a priest, then there can be enhanced penalties.
Prostitution, pandering or pimping and solicitation - Penal Code 647(b) PC are considered sex crimes that may be filed as either felonies or misdemeanors in the State of California. Prostitution is defined as when one person receives payment in money or anything else of value for any sexual act, including sexual intercourse. Pimping is defined as any person soliciting acts of prostitution or pandering on behalf of another.
Lewd conduct - Penal Code 647(a) PC covers a wide range of offenses; most have to do with sexual activity in public. These acts include receiving or giving oral sex in public, exposure of genitals in public and public masturbation. Most often, police target public rest rooms and beaches. In fact, many times the undercover officer is the only other person in the restroom at the time the act is committed. The result is two conflicting statements, one by the officer and the other by the person charged with the offense. A solid defense is crucial to a successful resolution to these charges. Often, the officer will have been accused in the past of either “planting evidence” or falsifying reports. A good defense attorney will investigate those accusations and attempt to show that the current crimes did not occur or that a defendant has been overcharged.
All lewd conduct charges are misdemeanors, meaning that a maximum sentence is one year in prison. In some cases, the prosecution may require that the person register as a sex offender. This label would last a lifetime.
There are two types of lewd conduct offenses: engaging in lewd conduct and soliciting another to engage in lewd conduct.
If a person is charged with engaging in lewd conduct, the prosecution must prove that the person willfully engaged, while in a public place, in touching their, or another person’s, genitals, buttocks or female breast with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify themselves or another person, or for the purpose to annoy or offend another person. There must be another person in the public place who might be offended by the conduct. Finally, the prosecutor must prove that at the time the person committed the conduct, the person knew or should have known that someone might be offended by the conduct.
In order for the prosecution to prove a crime of soliciting lewd conduct, they must prove that the person charged with the crime must have requested that another person, who is in a public place, engage in the touching of genitals, buttocks or female breast. Further, the prosecution must prove that the person charged intended that the offending conduct occur in a public place and that the act was done intentionally to gratify themselves or another person, and that a third person who is present might have been offended by the conduct.
The following are California laws associated with committing a lewd act:
California Penal Code Section 288 PC states that any individual who knowingly commits a lewd act on a child for the purpose of sexual arousal is in violation of the law and is guilty of a felony. The penalty is a prison sentence of 3, 6 or 8 years.
California Penal Code Section 314 PC states that if an individual knowingly exposes his or her genitals or breasts in public, offending others, he or she has violated the law and will be punished accordingly. This crime is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in custody.
California Penal Code Section 289(a)(1) PC states that if a person uses a verbal threat or harms another person to make them have sexual intercourse, and the victim does not consent to the sex has violated this section of the penal code. The typical punishment for this crime is a prison term of up to 8 years. In California, the penalty for a sex crime conviction is very harsh and consists of a prison term and registration as a sex offender. The penalty is a prison sentence of 3, 6 or 8 years.
California Penal Code Section 261(a)(1) PC states that if a person has sexual intercourse with a person they are not married to, and the victim is not able to give consent because they have a mental disease or a developmental or physical disability and knew, or should have known, of the condition. The penalty is a prison sentence of 3, 6 or 8 years.
California Penal Code Section 261.5(c) PC states that if a person who engages in sexual intercourse with a minor who is three years younger then them has violated the law, and will face either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending upon the specifics of the situation. If the penalty may include up to one year in jail and the person could have to register as a sexual offender.
California Penal Code Section 266(e) PC states that any person who trades money or valuables in exchange for sexual services has violated the law and is guilty of a felony.
California Penal Code Section 653.22(a) PC states that it is illegal for a person to loiter in a public area with the purpose of prostitution. This crime is a misdemeanor punishable for up to one year in prison.
California Penal Code Section 653.23(a) (2) PC states that it is illegal for someone to knowingly accept money that was earned from prostitution. The crime is a misdemeanor.
Date Rape is forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted. The fact that the engagement was voluntary and the parties were acquainted is not a defense to this type of charge. This may include the use of “date rape” type drugs, which make the victim unable to either consent or object to the sexual conduct.
Rape is the act of using violence, threats, malice fear tactics, and/or force to have sexual intercourse with an unwilling participant. Sexual intercourse with a person, who is intoxicated, unconscious or asleep, and therefore unable to resist, is also rape. This also includes the use of date rape drugs.
There are many times when completely innocent people are wrongly accused or charged of a sex crime. Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time has resulted in the arrests of many innocent people. A more controversial situation in which people are arrested for lewd conduct or prostitution-related crimes is called a “sting operation.”
The following is a list of other related Penal Code Sections concerning sex crimes:
Penal Code Section 261(a)(2) PC – Forcible rape
Penal Code Section 261(a)(3) PC – Rape by use of drugs
Penal Code Section 261(a)(4) PC – Rape of an unconscious person
Penal Code Section 261(a)(6) PC – Rape by threat of harm
Penal Code Section 262 (a)(1) PC – Spousal rape
Penal Code Section 264.1 PC – Forcible rape while acting in concert
Penal Code Section 266h(a) PC – Pimping
Penal Code Section 266h(a) PC – Soliciting a prostitute