Why You Must Choose Your Sex Crime Attorney Carefully

Perhaps more so than any other form of criminal activity, sexual charges can bring the wrath of society down on a person. Particularly when that criminal charge involves a child, the penalties – both legal and otherwise – can ruin a person’s life. That’s why it is so imperative that you carefully choose a sex crime attorney if you have been charged with such an offense. No worse mistake can be made than hiring a lawyer who has no experience with this type of charge. Just as the criminal activity itself is a highly specialized and unique form of crime and the punishment is unique, the defense too needs to be unique and aggressive.

Prison time is only one concern when it comes to being charged with a sexual deviance form of transgression. Your reputation will take a huge hit, one that is not likely to recover even if you are proven not guilty in a court of law. It may be difficult to find a job again-particularly one that is worth anything. Compounding the problem, many states have determined that offenders should be placed in a directory and that residents of a neighborhood have the right to know where sexual criminals live. With all of this at stake, it makes no sense to go into court with anything less than the best sex crime attorney you can find. Not only will they fight for your freedom, they can advise you on the best route to take to get your life back together.

Some people look at this type of talk and are repulsed. They wonder why a sex crime attorney would choose to spend their lives defending who they consider to be the sickest kinds of criminals in existence. But what they may not realize is how unfortunately broad the subject is. Examples include people being charged with indecent exposure (usually some sort of drunk and disorderly conduct, but it turns into a sexual charge in many instances), teenagers being charged for having consensual sex or “sexting” with other teenagers, statutory rape cases, and an enormous ocean of false charges. These people deserve representation. Not only as a matter of the U.S. Constitution, but as a matter of human decency.

When it comes to hiring a sex crime attorney, experience and a proven track record is what you should be looking for. Seek out someone who has been in the trenches, understands the law backwards and forwards, and will do their best to see that you get justice.

Common Questions About Age of Consent Laws Answered

In United States, ages of consent for sexual activity varies by jurisdiction. The age of consent is the age at or above which a person is considered to have the legal capacity to consent to sexual activity. If a child is younger than the specified age, he or she cannot consent to sex unless they are married to the person with whom they are having sex. The laws can sometimes result in questions like those below.

Q. Can one parent stop the other legally from allowing their 16 year old child to have sex in case of joint custody?

Having sex is not considered as a crime if the act is consensual and the child has reached the age of consent. So one parent cannot legally stop the other parent but may object the way the child is being brought up by the parent who has custody. In such a case, the other parent may ask the court to reconsider custody.

Q. In North Carolina, if a young 16 year old girl gets pregnant by a 34 year old man, what legal help do the parents of the girl have?

In North Carolina, the age of consent is 16 years. Once the teenager has given birth to the child and paternity is established, the father of the new born may have to pay for child support as per the court’s order. He may also be ordered to pay for some of the medical expenses.

In case the teenager gets an abortion done, she may not get any compensation. The parents still have the right to keep their 16 year old with them and the man may be obliged to support only the baby and not the 16 year old.

Q. If a 13 year old girl and a 15 year old boy have sex, is it considered illegal in Pennsylvania?

In the Pennsylvania statues, according to Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), individuals between the ages of 13 and 16 may legally have sexual intercourse with persons between the ages of 13 and 17, and vice versa. To be illegal with consent, the “complainant” must be at least 13 years old and the “actor” must not be more than 4 years older than the complainant.

Indecent assault and other charges that deal with improper contact with a minor can be brought against the offender if the child is less than 13 years.

Q. Is it legal for a 25 year old to have a sexual relationship with a 17 year old in Rhode Island since the age of consent there is 16 years of age?

A sexual relation between a 25 year old man and a 17 year old girl is considered legal in Rhode Island because the age of consent is 16 years. But if the girl changes her mind about having sexual intercourse with the man, she may charge him with raping a minor.

Q. What legal recourse do parents whose 13 year old daughter is dating a 20 year old have in Montana?

The age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years in Montana. A child younger than that cannot consent to sex unless he or she is married to the person who they have sex with. However, that does not stop the younger child from dating the adult, as long as they do not have any sexual relations. So in order to prove that the 20 year old man is going against the law, one would need to prove that he was having a sexual relation with the 13 year old. If this is proven, the man could get arrested and charged with rape. However if it is not proved that intercourse actually occurred, the guilty could be charged with sexual abuse of a child.

There are cases where the accused reasonably believed that the minor was at least 16 years old. There is a law creating a defense to statutory rape in such situations. But, that defense cannot be used if the victim is less than 14 years old or if there is evidence that the accused knew that the child was less than 16 years of age.

Q. While the age of consent is 16 years in Rhode Island, the “law is repealed” for homosexuals. What does that mean?

The law is repealed for homosexuals means it has been invalidated. Despite the fact that the age of consent in Rhode Island is 16 years, the law applicable for homosexual relationships have been cancelled.

The minimum age of consent and its laws vary from state to state. These laws are made to protect minors and people from sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation. These laws primarily state that such young children and people below the specified age of consent are not emotionally mature enough to indulge in sexual activities. It is best to ask Family Lawyers about the law of age of consent in your state in case of any doubts.

Why Do We Lawyers Defend Sex Offenders?

As a New Jersey criminal attorney who defends people accused of Megan’s Law offenses such as child molestation, Internet predation, child endangerment, wrongful sexual touching, child pornography, luring and aggravated sexual assault upon a child, I am frequently asked, “How can you represent somebody who did such a thing?” The answer is that I enjoy it.

To begin, it is important to remember that criminal lawyers endorse neither the crime nor the alleged criminal. Our job is to examine, and then challenge or discredit, potentially incriminating evidence produced by the state against our client. This is the only way to ensure that the police and the courts give everyone the full protection of our legal system. We prevent them from convicting defendants until after the state has proven guilt beyond a doubt.

Our sexual offense clients are flesh-and-blood people to us, not mere names in a newspaper article or faceless monsters. They may be anyone. Male or female. A pillar of the community or a scofflaw drifter. A first-time defendant or a repeat offender. Some earn millions of dollars, others are unemployable. But they are all people who are very afraid, and rightfully so. We understand that. Our sexual offense clients are not just numbers and statistics any more than their alleged victims are. They are someone’s child, parent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, best friend or neighbor. Each is entitled to the protection of the Constitution. In Megan’s Law cases, even that protection needs protection.

The vigorous defense of an alleged child abuser, internet predator, or child pornographer not only protects the defendant’s Constitutional rights, it protects the Constitution itself. Experienced defense lawyers look for defects in the government’s case violating a person’s rights and allowing unreliable evidence into the case. Did the defendant have an attorney at all critical stages? Were all searches and investigations legally performed? Was the arrest Constitutional? Was a confession voluntary and informed? Was there entrapment? These protections are not loopholes through which guilty defendants might slip. They are fundamental protections built into our justice system that help ensure the fairness of a prosecution and the validity of a verdict.

People accused of child sex abuse are in particular need of these protections. Despite the Constitution’s declaration that they are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in reality they are presumed by almost everyone to be guilty, even before the evidence is known. Friends stop calling. Family members keep their distance. Employers downsize them. Customers go elsewhere. Once a person is charged with a sex crime, his life will never be the same, even if no evidence is ever produced. No other crimes are like this.

Representing alleged sex offenders is a defense attorney’s special challenge. A Megan’s Law defendant may have committed reprehensible acts. Perhaps he didn’t. The prosecution will work hard to prove that he did. The defense will scrutinize and analyze that proof. We will present it in the light most favorable to our client. We will voice his every defense. But defense lawyers do not judge defendants. Juries do that. We just ensure that the Constitution continues to work… Our pleasure.

Mississippi Sex Crimes

A sex crime is one of the most serious charges that a person can face under Mississippi law. The punishment can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences, fines, and lifetime registration on the sex offender registry. In addition, the stigma that comes with being charged (and possibly convicted) with a sex crime can take a tremendous emotional toll on the offender and his or her family.

Most of these offenses are found in Title 97, Chapter 3 of the Mississippi Code of 1972. Probably the most serious Mississippi sex crime is sexual battery (Miss. Code 97-3-95). This offense is essentially a more updated classification of rape. Sexual battery is sexual penetration with another person without his or her consent. It can also include sexual penetration of 1) a mentally defective person, 2) a child under the age of 14, or 3) between a child of 14-17 years old and an adult in a position of trust or authority over the child (such as teacher, minister, counselor, or coach). Consent is not an issue with any of these last three offenses, which means they are strict liability crimes.

Sexual battery carries a minimum of 30 years, with some variations depending on ages of the victim and the accused. For instance, someone 18-20 who commits sexual battery against a person aged 14-16, and the accused is at least three years older, faces a maximum of five years.

Statutory rape is another serious Mississippi sex crime (Miss. Code 97-3-65). It is committed when a person 17 or older has sexual intercourse with a child who is between 14 and 16 years old, is at least 36 months younger than the defendant, and is not the defendant’s spouse. If the defendant is between 18 and 21 years old, the punishment is up to five years and a $5,000 fine. If the defendant is over 21 it is punishable up to 30 years and a $10,000, and each subsequent offense can carry 40 years.

It is also a crime when the child is less than 14 years old, is at least 24 months younger than the defendant, and is not the defendant’s spouse. For a defendant 18 or over convicted of this offense, the punishment is minimum 20 years. If the defendant is between 13 and 17, the punishment is at the court’s discretion.

A third type of Mississippi sex crime is exploitation of children, found in the Mississippi Code at section 97-5-33. This law includes many computer-based crimes such as possession or distribution of child pornography, soliciting a child to engage in sexual activity through any means, including via computer or text message, and recording or watching a child engage sexual activity or simulated sexual activity. This offense carries a prison sentence of 5-40 years for first-time offenders, and a minimum $50,000 fine.

All of the crimes that I’ve discussed in this article require registration on Mississippi’s sex offender list. Many other crimes do as well, including kidnapping a child, enticing a child for concealment, prostitution, or marriage, adultery or fornication between teacher and student, and filming another without permission where there is an expectation of privacy.

Because of the seriousness of these offenses, you need to talk to a Mississippi sex crimes lawyer if you’ve been charged. Some sex crimes may have defenses such as lack of proof or an unreliable victim. For computer-based crimes, whether you knew if the illegal material was on your computer may be an issue. But all of these are serious crimes that are going to require thorough review, along with a clear understanding of the government’s proof and the possible penalties.

Sex Offenders at Your Company? It’s Time to Take Back Our Hiring Process From the Legislators

The February 2010 rape and murder of 17 year-old Chelsea King in San Diego, at the hands of a convicted sex offender, reminds us all of the fragility of life. She was alive and vibrant one afternoon, and dead by nightfall, all because of a man who should still be in prison for his previous sexual assault and beating of a 13 year-old.

As of December 2004, anyone in California with access to a computer can go online to the Megan’s Law web site. This ability, of course, follows the legislative responses to the rape and murder of seven year-old New Jersey girl Megan Kanka, and a national series of horrific, tragic, and life-altering sexually-oriented crimes, where sexual predators assaulted and/or killed the children and adults who were unlucky enough to cross their paths.

All states have their own versions of our Megan’s Law databases, all created with the intention of helping people recognize or identify those men who have been convicted of certain sexually-related criminal offenses. (It’s no surprise women are hugely underrepresented as sexual predators, for various protective, behavioral, and biological reasons.)

California, being one of the leaders in deviance and deviant behavior, has not been registering sex offenders for very long; only since 1947. (Add your own thoughts here, if you are pleased or surprised that we have been keeping track of sex offenders for over 60 years, and yet these crimes continue.) And despite these efforts, as cases of kidnap, rape, and murder, in this state and around the country, continues, the various criminal justice, mental health, and correctional systems surrounding these offenders are shown as far from perfect.

Due to the obsessional nature of their disease (affliction, illness, or however the mental health and criminal justice professionals label it), the fear of sexual recidivism is constant. As many longitudinal studies suggest, the re-offend / re-arrest rate for these people, fresh from prison or a prison hospital, is 75 percent or higher. Those seem like great odds if you’re betting on the Super Bowl in Vegas, but lousy ones if you found your child with an offender who swears he has “seen the light,” found religion, or somehow realized the error of his previous malevolent ways.

The mere existence of a database filled with people who have already demonstrated extremely poor sexual, social, and behavioral boundaries points to a sad reality in society. These people and their crimes are not new; sex crimes have been around as long as sex. Taking adults and children by force and sexually abusing their bodies (not to mention scarring their psyches) has been around since we populated the caves. The fact that we have collected them electronically does not prevent their crimes from happening into the future.

So what is my major complaint about the Megan’s Law databases? As a security expert and an HR professional, I’d like to see our Golden State legislators remove a single, yet critical, word from the existing statute: “Section 290.46(j)(2) expressly prohibits the use of information disclosed on the website for purposes relating to health insurance, insurance, loans, credit, employment, education, housing, or benefits, privileges, or services, provided by any business establishment.” Delete the word “employment” from the statute and employers can get back the power to protect their own firms as they see fit.

If you can’t use the fact that a job applicant to your business is on a sex offender database, to make a safe hiring decision, then what is the purpose of knowing in the first place? You can’t unring that bell once it sounds. Let’s ask our legislators to have the guts to allow concerned HR professionals, hiring managers, and small business owners to use the knowledge of an applicant on the Megan’s Law database as criteria for not hiring that individual.

If we continue as it stands now, as one labor law attorney has put it, “We have made convicted sex offenders a ‘protected class.'”

According to California law, the statute says that authorized users can access the web site’s information “only to protect a person at risk,’ who is defined by Penal Code section 290.45(a)(8) as a person who`is or may be exposed to a risk of becoming a victim of a sex offense committed by the offender.'”

Should a business owner or manager have the right to say to an applicant, “Based on the fact that you are on a verified database for sexual offenders, we choose not to hire you”? Before the civil libertarians rise up in anger, we already know that we can ask the applicant about criminal convictions (not arrests) during the interview process. And according to the US Department of Labor, we can weigh the existence of a conviction using three criteria: the nature of the crime, how long ago it happened, and the nature of the applicant’s work with regard to the crime and his/her contact with employees, customers, taxpayers, patients, students, vendors, etc.

It’s perfectly reasonable to say that a man convicted once for drunk driving in 1980 should be allowed to drive a school bus if he has had no other traffic, substance abuse, or behavioral issues since that date. A similar conviction in 2008 should disqualify him for the job.

The problem with sex offenders is that there is a good reason they are now classified and categorized on-line as such; they recidivate, they re-offend, they re-harm, even after many years of “being clean and sober” from deviant sexual behavior (to mix the 12-step metaphor a bit).

Here’s a typical employment scenario to consider: a man works as a maintenance employee at an apartment complex that houses families. As a result of his previous sex crime conviction, he was put on probation and labeled (per California Penal Code) as a “290 registrant.” So while he may have completed his probation period (which barred him from contact with kids, loitering near a school, or whatever the restrictions spelled out), he still has to register as a sex offender, five days before or after his birthday, at the local police or sheriff’s station in the county where he lives, for life.

So while the Probation Department may be done with him, the State of California (and other states, if he moves), is not.

Let’s say there was no background check done on him to get his current position at the apartment complex; or he was never asked and didn’t tell. By all accounts, he is a good employee, with no performance or behavioral problems.

A resident in the complex gets curious about him and decides to look for him in the Megan’s Law database and discovers him there. Afraid for herself and her kids, she reports her findings to the management company of the apartment complex. What should they do? They cannot fire him for not revealing he is a 290 registrant. They cannot fire him for being a 290 registrant. They cannot fire him “for-cause” – a violation of policy or procedures, an attendance problem, an attitude problem, or a work performance problem. They cannot fire him.

To put it in streetside legal terms, the management company is screwed.

Company lawyers would advise them to monitor his work performance, watch his behavior around co-workers and residents, and keep a weather eye out for any signs of problems. That’s fine, right up until he sexually assaults a woman or child, and then it’s too late to be vigilant.

If we fire him, thinks the management company, he sues us for wrongful termination. If we keep him and he assaults someone in the apartment complex, the victim and/or the family sues us for hiring or continuing to employ him. Once again, to put it in streetside legal terms, the management company is screwed.

This issue of not using the Megan’s Law database as a judgmental criterion for employment prevents employers from making business decisions that affect their companies, their employees, and those they provide services to. If a hiring manager wants to hire a 290 registrant to work in his factory, he can. If a woman running a dry cleaning shop wants to hire a 290 registrant to work the front counter, she can. But if either of those people think that offering employment to a 290 registrant is just not worth the potential bad publicity (because the news almost always gets out) or the future risk to customers, kids, or others, why can’t they just say no?

Legislators, lawyers, and prisoner advocates say that sex offenders who have served their sentences or otherwise paid their so-called debts to society, should not continue to be judged, ostracized, re-victimized, or otherwise prevented from making a living. Perhaps. But because of the disturbing nature of their past crimes, or the fact that their living victims or their families get no peace, or because the temptation to strike again is so strong in so many of them, can’t we ask our state legislators to give our employers back the discretion they need to make a decision that benefits many, instead of the one?

Nothing will bring Chelsea King back to life. Her killer was in the registered sex offender database and proved that it does not always shield our society from harm. Whether he had a job or didn’t have a job was and is not the issue in her case. But for those who are housed in the Megan’s Law system, their criminal conviction history is just as important to a potential employer. If a good predictor of future behavior is past behavior, then can we ask our state legislators to bring back common sense to the hiring process?