Sex crimes carry a social stigma more so than essentially any other crime. In fact, most felony and misdemeanor sex crimes require you to register with law enforcement as a sex offender for the rest of your life. If convicted, your record as a sex offender will be public and available for anyone to look up. This social stigma will never go away.
Most people also don’t realize that the sentencing punishment for felony sex crimes can often times be harsher than the punishment for murder. If you are being investigated, arrested, or charged with a sex crime, then you are facing extremely serious consequences. You must act quickly and call an aggressive criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling sex crimes immediately. Do not wait for charges to be filed before contacting an attorney. It might be too late and the damage may already be done. Call the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.
Free Consultation (619) 233-4433
WHY CHOOSE ATTORNEY ANNA R. YUM FOR YOUR SEX CRIMES CASE?
Sex crimes are a very specialized and complex area of criminal law. Many criminal defense attorneys say that they handle sex crimes, but unfortunately, when it comes down to it, they lack the experience and knowledge to effectively protect their clients from such serious and specialized charges.
Prior to opening her law practice, Attorney Anna Yum worked specifically in the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse unit, one of the most prestigious assignments at the District Attorney’s office. Ms. Yum handled sex crime cases from beginning to end which means that she knows precisely what happens from the moment that allegations are made, the investigation, the strengths and most importantly, the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This highly valuable experience has enabled Ms. Yum to obtain exceptional outcomes for her clients including not guilty verdicts at trial, dismissals, and favorable plea bargains with the least amount of consequences.
Defending against sex crimes cases require particularized experience, extensive investigation, and dedication. Ms. Yum works with the best investigators, forensic psychologists, and medical experts in protecting you against serious sex crimes allegations by the government.
TYPES OF SEX CRIMES
Our office has vast experience and favorable outcomes in defending all types of sex crimes including:
- Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Minor (Child Molestation)
- Rape (Spousal, Date Rape, Forcible, Statutory Rape, Unconscious/Drugged)
- Sexual Assault and Battery
- Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes
- Possession and distribution of Child Pornography
- Oral Copulation by Force
- Assault with the Intent to Commit Rape
- Indecent exposure
- Solicitation of Prostitution
- Pimping and Pandering
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- Lewd Acts in a Public Place
LEGAL DEFINITIONS AND POTENTIAL PUNISHMENT
Rape statutes are addressed in California Penal Code Section 261. The crime of rape is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse accomplished by means of threats, force, or fraud. This means that the use of force is not required to prove that a rape was committed. Often times, people consider rape as a person who physically forces another to have sexual intercourse against his/her will. Although this is one definition, it is not the only definition of rape as defined in the California Penal Code.
Under California law, the punishment for rape is 3, 6 or 8 years in California state prison. If the alleged victim is a minor, then the punishment is a minimum of 7 years up to 13 years in state prison. The punishment can vary depending on the age of the minor. Here are some common charges associated with rape under PC 261(a):
- Sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of giving legal consent because of a mental disorder, development or physical disability.
- Sexual intercourse accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury.
- Sexual intercourse with a person who is unable to resist because of an intoxicating or anesthetic substance and the accused knew or reasonably should have known of the victim’s condition.
- Sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is unconscious, asleep or not aware of the act and this is known to the accused.
- A person is forced to have sexual intercourse against his/her will because the accused threatens to retaliate in the future and there is a reasonable possibility of executing the threat.
- Sexual intercourse with a person against his/her will by a public official who threatens to incarcerate, arrest or deport the victim.
Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Minor (Under 14 years old)
The crime of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, otherwise known as child molestation, is defined in California Penal Code Section 288. This crime is committed when a person touches a child somewhere on his/her body with the intent to arouse, appeal to or to gratify sexual purposes. The touching can occur under or over the clothing. A violation of PC 288 is considered a serious and violent felony and it is a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes law.
These offenses carry extremely harsh punishment if convicted, regardless of whether you have a criminal history or not. The sentencing of child molestation varies depending on the age of the minor and in some cases, the age of the accused.
- If the child is under 14 years old, the punishment is 3, 6 or 8 years in state prison.
- If force was used during the act, then the punishment is 5, 8 or 10 years in state prison.
- If the child was 14 or 15 at the time of the offense and the accused is at least 10 years older than the child, then the punishment is 1, 2 or 3 years in state prison.
- If the accused lives with the minor or has recurring access to the child and if there is a pattern of 3 or more incidents of lewd acts for 3 months or greater, then the punishment is 6, 12 or 16 years in state prison.
- If there is more than one child molestation victim, then the punishment is 15 years to life per victim.
PC 243.4 defines sexual battery as any person who touches an intimate body part of another person for sexual gratification, arousal or abuse. This crime is considered a “wobbler” in that it can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor. Even if this crime is charged as a misdemeanor, it is a very serious offense which requires lifetime registration as a sex offender pursuant to PC 290 if you are convicted.
- Misdemeanor sexual battery punishment is up to 1 year in jail.
- Felony sexual battery punishment is 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.
- Both convictions require lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes
Under PC 288.4, it is a crime to arrange a meeting with a minor, while motivated by unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, and with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with the minor at the meeting. You can be convicted of this crime even if you did not actually meet with or engage in sexual relations with a minor.
Many of these cases stem from undercover assignments by law enforcement in which an officer pretends to be a minor during the exchange with the suspect. In many instances, a person engages in an email, chat or text exchange with a person whom he/she believes to be a minor. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It is a very serious crime which also requires lifetime registration as a sex offender if convicted. A person can be charged with a felony if the accused has a prior conviction which required him to register as a sex offender or if the accused actually attends the meeting with the minor.
- Misdemeanor PC 288.4(a) punishment is up to 1 year in jail.
- Felony PC 288.4(a) punishment range can be 16 months, 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison.
Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography
The possession and/or distribution of child pornography is a very serious and complicated area of criminal law as defined in PC 311.1 through PC 311.12. It is a crime to knowingly possess, send, transport, produce, duplicate, and to print or exchange child pornography. It is also unlawful to hire, employ, persuade or coerce a minor to participate in the production of child pornography. Furthermore, it is a crime to knowingly advertise child pornography for sale or distribution. Many child porn charges are considered “wobblers” in that they can be filed as misdemeanors or felonies. However, if convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony on any child pornography offense, you are facing lifelong registration as a sex offender.
- Misdemeanor possession of child pornography punishment is up to 1 year in jail.
- Felony child pornography can be from 16 months up to 8 years in state prison.
Solicitation of Prostitution
PC 647(b) makes it a crime to solicit (offer) or agree to engage in any act of prostitution. This means that a prostitute and/or the client can both be arrested and charged with this crime. Under California law, PC 647(b) is a misdemeanor. These cases are commonly seen when an undercover officer poses to be a prostitute. A “John” or “Jane” is the client who agrees to spend money or consideration for sexual services. In addition, often times, a “middleman” or pimp is involved in the crime of prostitution and can be charged with “pimping and pandering”. Pimping and pandering occurs when a middleman arranges or participates in soliciting a client or receives a portion or all of the prostitute’s pay.
- Misdemeanor punishment for solicitation of prostitution is up to 6 months in jail.
IF YOU ARE ACCUSED OF COMMITTING A SEX CRIME:
Early intervention is the best thing that you can do to protect yourself and your future. Do not wait to seek legal representation if you are being investigated for a sex crime. We cannot stress enough the importance in retaining experienced and aggressive legal representation immediately once it has come to your attention that you are being investigated by law enforcement or if you learn that a person has accused you of committing sexual assault.
Here at the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum, we work quickly and aggressively on your behalf to prepare your best defense. It is essential to initiate the defense investigation right away so as to interview any potential witnesses, to gather evidence, to prepare you for what is yet to come in the process, and to contact the prosecution before a filing decision is made. Ms. Yum can tell you from personal experience as a former sex crimes prosecutor. It is in your best legal interest to try to “clear your name” before criminal charges are filed rather than to wait until after charges are filed in seeking a dismissal. If you hire the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum, then you are being proactive in trying to prevent a nightmare of permanent life-long consequences.
Once a person has made an accusation, the investigation begins and you are in a position of having to defend yourself, even if the charges are not true. The first police officers who handle sex crimes investigations are typically the patrol officers who respond to the initial call whether it is a 911 call or a drop-in at the station. The patrol officer(s) will prepare a preliminary report.
Shortly thereafter, a sex crimes detective will be assigned to the case to conduct follow-up investigation. The alleged victim may be asked to submit to a Sexual Assault Response Team examination (SART) so that a forensic nurse can preserve any physical evidence that may be present such as lacerations, bruising, tears in the genital or anal areas, DNA swabs, etc. In addition, the detective will start conducting interviews of the alleged victim along with any potential witnesses.
After witnesses are interviewed, the detective will likely reach out to the accused. You have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the right to remain silent. Remember that the police are gathering evidence to build a case against you. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. At this point, if you haven’t already done so, you should already be represented by a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling sex crimes.
After the police have conducted their preliminary investigation, they will forward their reports to the District Attorney’s Office for their review. The case will then be assigned to a deputy district attorney who will review the case to determine what, if any, charges shall be filed against you.
If the prosecution does end up filing criminal charges against you, then it is time for you to prepare an aggressive defense. If you hire the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum, then you will be arming yourself with a highly specialized, experienced, and aggressive legal team that will protect you, fight for you, and give you peace of mind as you attempt to navigate through the complicated maze of what is known as the criminal justice system. You will not be alone.
LEGAL DEFENSES TO SEX CRIMES
There are several circumstances in which you could be wrongfully accused of a sex crime. There may be ulterior motives such as the accuser seeking to gain an advantage in a child custody matter or perhaps remorse or regret after having consensual sex. Whatever the accusation may be, once an allegation is made, you must act quickly to prepare the best defense. Here are some common legal defenses to sex crimes:
- Consent: The alleged victim consented to sexual intercourse. It can be a potential legal defense if you can show that you actually and reasonably believed that you received consent.
- False accusations: The alleged victim is lying or fabricating the truth for various reasons. The alleged victim could be motivated by ulterior motives such as revenge, jealousy, trying to seek an advantage in another court hearing (i.e. child custody), pressure by parents or loved ones, etc. False accusations can also stem from an alleged victim’s feeling of regret or remorse after engaging in sexual intercourse.
- Mistaken Identification: If the alleged victim does not know the perpetrator, then it is possible for her to be mistaken in positively identifying the person who sexually assaulted her.
- Insufficient Evidence: There may be a number of factors that are missing in the investigation for the prosecution to believe that they can obtain a conviction. Specifically, there may be a lack of physical evidence if the alleged victim did not seek medical attention. There may be a lack of other witnesses to either corroborate or refute the alleged victim’s allegations. Typically, “he said/she said cases”, without physical evidence, are difficult for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you are facing sex crime allegations or charges, contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum immediately at 619-233-4433 to schedule your free and confidential legal consultation.