Zoophilia and Bestiality Laws

Under jurisdictions across the United States, there are laws against sexual intercourse or even interaction between certain individuals and certain species. In general, these laws attempt to protect those who otherwise would not be able to or would not know to protect themselves. Although these laws have been challenged and rewritten to follow particular court precedents, most jurisdictions have laws against bestiality and intercourse involving an animal. These laws vary depending on the state, defining different offenses along various lines.

Most states originally outlawed bestiality, or zoophilia, as it is also known, under original sodomy laws. When they were first passed, sodomy laws were intended not to only ban homosexual relationships, but also to rule out sexual interactions that where so-called “crimes against nature”. Although these laws were struck down by the courts, as many of their definitions were vague and potentially hazardous to privacy laws, certain ideas were not removed from the legal systems of the states, and current bestiality laws were passed to protect the basic rights of animals.

In many states, bestiality is considered a misdemeanor. This means that a person may still be placed on a sex offender list due to the nature of the crime, but will suffer a lighter sentence that may not include any prison sentences or fines to excessive amounts. Additionally, these penalties will not encroach on felony-based penalties regarding voting or political participation.

In other states, bestiality is considered a felony. In these states, this sex act is pursued to the full extent of the law, as many in these states see the crime as both sexual deviancy and animal cruelty. According to the laws in these states, this crime may be coupled with severe fines and potentially jail sentences, depending on the circumstances of that particular case.

For some states, there may not be laws against zoophilia, but there may be some additional charges attached to the act. To learn more, contact a sex crime attorney.

Sex Offender Criminal Record Checks – Now Internet Services Can Help You Keep Your Children Safer

Did you know that 67% if all sexual assault victims were juveniles under 18 years old? And that 34% of victims were younger than 12! Did you know that one out of every seven children sexually abused is less than 6 years old! These are sickening results, and the scary part is that it’s a growing trend! If you’re a parent, there’s even more you can do to protect your children than before.

How the internet can help you to protect your children
If you are like most folks you probably have some experience using the internet to find information on search engines like Google and stay in contact communicating using email. What you might not realize is that you can easily use this same type of information to uncover information about sex offenders and other criminals posing a threat to your family. Specialized background checking services have now been developed that take you directly to the criminal and sex offender records. While regular search engines such as Google or Yahoo are good for information on various topics, you need a specialized people search engine such as People Finder 101 to find the criminal records.

Find out once deeply hidden secrets – discreetly from your computer
Where it once used to be expensive to have a back ground check done on someone, where you had to almost always make use of the services of an expensive private investigator, you can now easily and cheaply get all the information you need, on just about anyone – Thanks to the development of the internet and criminal record databases which have become readily available to us. These companies are often referred to as Internet detective sites, or personal search sites or even people search engines. You can easily retrieve a wealth of information, including: – Sex Offender Status Records – Geographic Locations of Registered Sex Offenders – Criminal Records for all kinds of crimes – Prison Records – FBI and other Law Enforcement Agency Files – Criminal History

How can a Criminal Background check help you spot crime before it happens?
The department of justice held a study which revealed a sad but true fact: Most crimes are committed by reoffending criminals. Criminals commit the same crimes again and again. More than half of the arrests made were on criminals that were out on probation, parole or release from another crime. 38% of jail inmates had already served 3 or more prior sentences. Of all the prisoners released from jail: 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years. 46.9% were reconvicted and 25.4% was resentenced for a new crime! Sex offenders were four times more likely to be rearrested for another sex crime once discharged from prison. 40% of these committed the new offense within 1 year of discharge!

Its chilling statistics, but the fact that most crime is committed by repeat offenders is what makes using criminal background checks so effective. Access to all the previous crimes or criminal investigations involving someone is easily accessible online. This kind of information will warn you before the time of what certain people are capable of.

Why experts recommend parents use online Background checking services
Safety experts recommend that parents use online people search engines regularly. Run a quick check on anyone you find suspicious or anyone that your children come into contact with. You will know instantly if there is anything to worry about. Feel free to use the services to check out your childcare provider, whether it be a nanny, baby-sitter or daycare center. You can even use it to simply check your area and find out if any registered sex offenders live near you. Know exactly where they live with a quick check online.

What to look for when choosing a Criminal Background checking service

1. Free Versus Paid I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by the free services. It’s better to pay a small fee, and get updated information you can trust. The price you’d pay for a 1 to 3 year membership is significantly less than you would expect, especially considering the quantity and usefulness of their information. This type of membership will cost you less than a golf shirt!

The free services are often supported by bad advertising, and these companies can often not afford to invest in up to date databases or easy-to-use interfaces.

2. Speed You obviously don’t want a service that takes ages to get the information you want. And you want the information instantly and you want it to be accurate! Test the service you are using for accuracy with your own details!

3. Own database A company with their own database is a company that is likely to be in business for a long time. It takes time and money to develop your own database, especially of this size. A dedicated database is much easier and faster to use as well. You will get a single interface that doesn’t require much learning to use it.

Note: I have never seen a free service of this kind that maintains there own database. Most of them merely provide links to free public records

4. Support Ensure that the service you are using is easy to learn. Most of the paid services have a very easy to learn interface and also provide a few tutorials on using their system. Also be sure to check out their support system. Most of them will provide support via a ticket system, or via email. Even better if they have a support telephone number you can call. You never know when you might need that little bit of extra help

Conclusion It’s a threatening and dangerous world out there. But thanks to the development of the internet you can easily use new technology to give you the edge over criminals and sex offenders and help protect your children. Like the experts advise, sign up for a Criminal Background Checking Service and use it regularly.

Understanding Federal Sex Crimes

In the United States, there are two kinds of courts – state courts and federal courts. State courts have been established by each state and are located in cities and counties. In contrast, federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution to handle disputes involving the Constitution and laws which were passed by Congress.

State courts have a lot of power, so most cases involving individuals will be heard in state courts. For example, the state courts will handle cases involving family law disputes, robberies, burglaries, theft and broken contracts. The state courts will not hear cases involving specific federal laws such as criminal, antitrust, bankruptcy, patent and copyrights.

A vast majority of criminal cases involving violations of state laws are heard in state courts, but cases which
involve violations of federal laws can be diverted to federal court. There are some instances where both federal and state courts have jurisdiction. When this occurs, the parties choose whether to go to state or federal court.

A federal crime or federal offense is a crime which is made illegal by federal legislation. In the U.S., people can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level. As stated above, the majority of criminal offenses are prosecuted on the state level; however, a “federal offense” will be prosecuted on in federal court.

Certain aggravated or more serious sex crimes are federal offenses in this country. If a person is convicted of a federal sex crime, they could be facing mandatory minimum sentencing. In addition to spending years in prison, probation or parole, and fines, they are also facing mandatory sex offender registration.

When a person is required to register on the national sex offender registry, their name, address, headshot and description of their offense will be publicly posted. This means that anyone can have access to such private information for years to come. Sex offender registration can also limit where you live and where you can be. Limits can be placed on how close you go to a school campus or a public park.

Another less widely known fact about being convicted of a federal sex crime is that you might be sent to a Federal Medical Center, which is a Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility. These facilities treat the terminally ill, the mentally ill and sex offenders. Inmates with a sex offender history are enrolled in the residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R) or Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP). Whether inmates like it or not, they are expected to submit to these “intensive” treatment programs along with other sex offenders.

What sex crimes fall under the category of federal sex crimes? First of all, most sex crimes involving children such as sexual assault, rape, possession of child pornography or distribution of child pornography are considered federal crimes. The list of federal sex crimes is quite extensive, however some common examples of federal sex crimes include aggravated sexual abuse, repeat offenders, sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor, sexual abuse resulting in death, selling or buying children for sexual purposes, and many more.

Being convicted of a federal sex crime can ruin your reputation and your livelihood. Not only would you be facing years in prison, but mandatory sex offender registration as well. Being labeled a “sex offender” will affect your ability to get housing, employment and higher education. No matter what brought you to these charges, it’s essential that you consult with an experienced federal criminal attorney who defends such complex cases.

Defending Child Sex Crimes

During my six years as a prosecutor in Pinellas County, I investigated, prosecuted, and tried numerous cases involving child sex crimes and related offenses. During that time, I received specialized training and practical experience in interviewing child witnesses and witnesses of child sex crimes; and in gathering evidence for the purpose of building a case to present to a jury. I learned from the ground up how law enforcement and the prosecution build their cases against criminal defendants. As a criminal defense attorney, I am able to use that knowledge and experience to help defend people charged with sex crimes.

Sex Crimes Are Difficult to Prosecute

Victim Testimony

The prosecution of child sex crimes is often a difficult task for various reasons. First, once a case is initially brought to the attention of law enforcement, just getting the testimony from the alleged victim can be a difficult task. Often times, the alleged victim is either unwilling to come forward with information perhaps because the alleged suspect is a family member or if in the case of a very young minor, they may be unable to testify because if their age. From the prosecutor’s perspective, child witnesses must be questioned in a way that cannot later leave them open to suggestions and arguments from the defense that words were put into their mouth. Another concern that the prosecutor may have is the fact that frequently, the alleged victim’s version of what happened is not consistent over time as told to different people. Once there are inconsistent statements, this makes the task of the prosecutor that much more difficult. A good defense attorney will be able to point out and/or highlight these inconsistencies to the prosecutor and/or ultimately to a jury. Another difficulty in building a child sex case is the fact that many times the alleged victim may have a motive to lie or some bias against the alleged suspect. For example, I have dealt with cases which involve alleged victims in the middle of a contested divorce or perhaps the alleged victim is not happy with the fact that the alleged suspect is dating their parent. Motives to lie or not give truthful testimony can often pose huge road blocks for the prosecutor and end up being used by the defense to ague that there is reasonable doubt.

Corroboration of Victim Testimony through Physical Evidence

Unlike what you see on television regarding DNA, child sex crimes cases frequently lack physical evidence. The reasons for a lack of physical evidence may vary. The alleged crime may have occurred years ago. The alleged act itself may not lend itself to yielding physical evidence such as if the alleged suspect was fondling the breasts of the alleged victim. As a result, more often then not, these types of crimes are a “he said, she said.” Once the case is brought to the attention of law enforcement, and it is apparent that there is no physical evidence, in order to build a case, the prosecutor and law enforcement may attempt to obtain additional evidence to corroborate the crime. This type of evidence may be obtained through investigative tools such as a search warrant. Perhaps the alleged victim and the alleged suspect were strangers to each other and the alleged victim can describe the bed spread in the alleged suspect’s bedroom. Perhaps the alleged suspect has some sort of unique markings, scars, or tattoos on their body. Another very useful tool used by law enforcement is the controlled phone call. The investigation may have started with law enforcement and the alleged suspect may have no idea that he is being investigated. The alleged victim or a family member may call the alleged suspect in an attempt to elicit some type of admission to the crime while law enforcement is taping it. This type of evidence is particularly useful especially in the case of a crime that is alleged to have occurred many years ago. If the alleged suspect admits he did something wrong to the alleged victim, this is powerful evidence. In this day modern day of communication technology, law enforcement may attempt to gather corroborative evidence in the form of text messages, emails, or Facebook posts. Finally, it is not unusual for law enforcement to simply contact the alleged suspect himself and interview him to obtain admissions or a confession (Please see my blog post November 19, 2009, You Have the Right to Remain Silent… USE IT!) Interviews of a criminal suspect are areas where a criminal defense attorney can attack the prosecution’s case in the form of a motion to suppress because the criminal suspect’s rights were violated by law enforcement; or there was some other type of procedural defect in the interview process. These types of investigative tools used by law enforcement are the exact reason why it is imperative for someone that believes they are or may be investigated for a sex crime to seek legal counsel as early as possible. One wrong move on the part of an alleged suspect can give law enforcement all the evidence they need to gain a conviction.

You Find Out You Are a Suspect in a Child Sex Crime: What Do You Do?

You should seek out you legal counsel as soon as you are aware that you are being investigated. I cannot stress how important it is to seek legal counsel as early as possible in any criminal case. However, the stakes can be extremely high if you are going to be charged in a child sex crime. I understand that legal fees can be expensive. I have also heard people say that they would just wait and see what would happen first before they hire a lawyer. But usually that strategy ultimately makes your attorney’s job much more difficult. By the time an attorney is retained; a great deal of damage may have already been done to potential defenses you may have to the crime charged.

Sentencing and Sex Crimes

The majority of sex crimes charges encompass a variety of possible sentences depending on the ages of the alleged offender and victim and the alleged conduct involved. Under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines, charges involving sex crimes usually involve the imposition of prison sentences ranging from a term of years in prison up to life. In addition to the possibility of incarceration, Florida Law mandates that certain sex crimes sentences carry very stringent statutory conditions, restrictions and designations such as a sex offender or a sex predator. Of course every criminal case is unique unto itself. However, it may be possible to defend and/or resolve your case without a prison sentence or without the imposition of the harsh sex crimes designations. Your attorney will evaluate your case and may look to some of the issues discussed above regarding problems that the State’s case may have. Other issues that your attorney may be able to address are whether there is a basis to depart below the Florida Sentencing Guidelines in order to avoid a prison sentence. Based on a weakness in the State’s case are they willing to negotiate a plea? Do the victim’s parents not want their child to go through the litigation process? Does the alleged offender qualify under the Romeo & Juliet Law in Florida (Please see my blog post January 28, 2010, Florida’s Romeo & Juliet Law).


My time as a prosecutor prepared me to defend clients charged with sex crimes. My experience taught me that these cases are frequently very difficult to prosecute. Retaining counsel as early as possible is imperative if you are a suspect in a criminal sex crimes case. Difficulties and deficiencies experienced by the prosecutor and law enforcement can be used to the benefit of the criminal defendant in both the determination of guilt and sentencing phases of the criminal prosecution.

Tennessee Sex Crimes

Sex crimes in the state of Tennessee are codified in Title 39, Chapter 13 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. These crimes can include rape, aggravated rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor, and patronizing prostitution. Perhaps the most serious consequence of being convicted of a Tennessee Sex Crime is having to go on the sex offender registry list. Under Tennessee law, anyone classified as either a “sex offender” or “violent sex offender” must register. The difference between the two is in the type of crime. A sex offender can be anyone who has committed crimes such as sexual battery, certain types of statutory rape, aggravated prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, and others. Violent sex offenders, as the name implies, are for more violent crimes such as aggravated rape, rape, and aggravated sexual battery.

Both violent and non-violent sex offenders must register upon being convicted of a Tennessee sex crime. Registration is usually done at a local law enforcement office. Violent offenders must report in person during the months of March, June, September and December. Non-violent sexual offenders must report in person annually between seven days before and seven days after their birthday. All offenders must report in person within 48 hours of changing their residence, job, or school.

Violent offenders must remain on the registry for life. Non-violent offenders may petition for removal after ten years from the end of their sentence, whether the sentence was probation or prison time. If the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determines that the applicant has not been convicted of any additional sex offenses and has substantially complied with the requirements of registration, it will remove the offender from the registry.

One exception to the ten-year rule is where the offender is placed on judicial diversion. Diversion is the process of having a criminal charged dismissed and removed from the defendant’s record upon completing probation. Diversion is a special procedure and is not available to all defendants or for all charges. However, certain sex offenses in Tennessee are diversion eligible, and for those offenses the offender may be immediately removed from the registry upon expungement of the charge. For instance, both sexual battery and statutory rape are diversion eligible sex crimes in Tennessee. Both are Class E felonies punishable from one to six years. If the defendant is sentenced to one year and is granted diversion, at the end of the year they may have the charge removed from their criminal record and also may request to be taken off the sex offender registry.

This is not the case with most sex crimes in Tennessee, however. Most sex crimes cannot be removed from the individual’s record through diversion, and will require either lifetime or at least ten-year registration.

Offenders may find it hard to get a job or even a place to live. Under the law in Tennessee, registrants whose victim was a minor cannot live, work or undergo sex offender treatment within 1000 feet of a school, day care center, public park, recreation center or athletic field. All offenders, whether violent or non-violent and regardless of the victim’s age, must stay off school property, day care centers, public parks and recreation facilities when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 are present. In other words sex offenders can’t even go to the park.

Because of the serious and lasting consequences of a sex crime, individuals charged with one of these offenses should consult a Tennessee sex crimes lawyer to review the case.