Sex Crimes Information Center
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Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Offenses
Q: How are sex offenses punished?
A: Punishment for a sex offense can vary dramatically depending on the category of crime. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction (such as indecent exposure) may receive less than a year of jail time, a fine, community service, counseling or probation. A felony, on the other hand, may be punished by a lengthy prison term (up to a life sentence). Additionally, released sex felons must register as sex offenders and multiple convictions often lead to greater punishments.
Q: Is consent a defense to sex crimes?
A: Consent may be a defense to sex crimes, in some cases. However, some individuals are not considered able to consent to sex under the law. For those individuals, even if they explicitly agree, their agreement is not legally valid. For example, minors, the mentally disabled and unconscious or intoxicated people (even if they willingly became intoxicated) typically cannot provide valid consent. Statutory rape or date rape charges may result.
The Department of Justice reports that 56 percent of the convictions for rape resulted in prison sentences. Nearly all convicted defendants who did not receive incarceration were placed on probation. Other than murder, rape convictions carried the longest median prison sentence (7 years). If you are facing criminal charges for rape or felony sexual assault, you must engage the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Central Texas Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys
When you are being investigated for or charged with a sex crime, knowing the law related to the allegations can help you make informed decisions about your case that take into account the whole picture. At the Tarrant County-area law offices of Muller & Sommerville, P.A., we help our clients understand how they are affected by state and federal sex crime laws. This is part of the holistic approach we take to cases, addressing all the issues in our clients' lives and creating favorable solutions that really meet our clients' needs. Contact our law office at (407) 647-8200.
Sex Offenses - An Overview
Sex offenses include a myriad of criminal sexual behaviors, ranging from prostitution to rape. If you or one of your family members is facing a sex-offense charge, it is very important to obtain the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney like one at Muller & Sommerville, P.A. of TX. The penalties for a sex offense conviction can be serious and life-changing, but many defenses are available. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible allows the evidence to be evaluated and witnesses to be questioned soon after the event.
Rape, Sexual Assault, Date Rape and Statutory Rape
Unwanted sex acts are generally regarded as rape. However, these criminal offenses are also commonly referred to as "sexual abuse" or "sexual assault." A wide range of activities may be included under these definitions. Statutory rape, for instance, is sexual activity with a person under the legal age of consent. Date rape is a nonlegal term for forcible sexual activity between people who know one another which occurs during a social engagement. Regardless of the circumstances, there are serious penalties for individuals found guilty of these sex crimes.
Victimless Sex Offenses
A victimless crime, sometimes termed a consensual crime, a crime without victims or a complainantless crime is a "crime that is considered to have no direct victim, usually because only consenting adults are involved." Black's Law Dictionary. State laws regarding victimless sex offenses vary greatly, but state statutes typically address victimless sex offenses such as prostitution, pandering, solicitation, indecent exposure and illegal possession of pornography. The penalties for victimless sex offenses, such as solicitation of a minor or child pornography, are severe; often involving felony convictions, jail or prison time, sexual offender treatment programs and lifetime registration as a sexual offender. For other offenses such as indecent exposure, the penalties are generally less severe; they range from fines and community service to felony charges and incarceration.
Sex Offender Registry
All states require sex offender registration of some kind. Individuals convicted as sex offenders must register their addresses with law enforcement. Sex offenders must also send updates whenever they change addresses and must keep their registration information current. Some states require sex offenders to verify information on a yearly basis via mail or more frequently if deemed violent predators. States have different requirements regarding what offenses require registration and for what periods of time. Additionally, some offenses that are more serious may require registration for life. Serious crimes vary by state, but most commonly include repeat offenders, violent sexual offenders and those who commit sexual crimes against children.
False allegations may occur, most often in child sex-abuse situations. An adult may have influenced a child's allegation or the child may have based his or her accusation on an overactive imagination. Public awareness of child abuse has increased and more reports of possible abuse are being made, but not all reports are substantiated. Also, even good-faith accusations may not be true and false allegations may be made to harm the accused.