If you have been accused of a sexual offense, obtaining the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential. Prosecution for these types of crimes is often extremely aggressive in the United States, and those facing allegations can suffer serious consequences like loss of social standing and negative public opinion—even without conviction. California Penal Code 290 requires lifetime registration as a sex offender for certain offenses, making it impossible to escape a past accusation. It is sadly possible that someone can be falsely charged with sexual offenses even if there is no proof or evidence involved.
Prosecutors who specialize in sex crime cases commonly pursue severe sanctions for these offenses. If convicted, the judge has a broad selection of punishments they could impose, including jail time, fines, probation or parole, and necessary treatment. Depending on the crime committed, the defendant might be obligated to register as a sexual offender potentially for life. Therefore it’s crucial to obtain a highly qualified and assertive Los Angeles sex crimes attorney rapidly. The Tabibnia Law Firm’s Los Angeles criminal defense team have had abundant experience handling sexual offense matters over many years.
What Is a Sex Crime
The term “sex crime” describes a variety of offenses in the state of California. Rape, sexual assault, and prostitution are all forms of sex crimes. Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys often defend clients against misdemeanor and felony charges, including :
- California Penal Code 288 – Lewd Acts with a Minor
- Penal Code 288a – Oral Copulation
- Penal Code – 288.4 – Arranging a Meeting with a Minor to Commit a Lewd Act
- Penal Code 289(a)(1) – Forcible Penetration with a Foreign Object
- Penal Code 261(a)(1) – Rape
- Penal Code 261.5(c) – Statutory Rape
- Penal Code 266(e) – Carnal Abuse of Children
- Penal Code 311.1 – Possession of Child Pornography
- Penal Code 647.6(a)1 – Child Annoyance
- Penal Code 261.5 – Unlawful Intercourse With A Minor or “Statutory Rape”
- Penal Code 243.4 – Sexual Battery
- Penal Code 314 – Indecent Exposure
- Penal Code 647(a) – Lewd Act In Public
- Penal Code 647(b) – Solicitation of Prostitution
- Penal Code 653.22 – Loitering for Prostitution
- Penal Code Section 653.23(a) (2) – aiding a prostitute
- Penal Code 290(b) – Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
The following is a list of other related Penal Code Sections concerning sex crimes:
- Penal Code 261(a)(2) – Forcible rape
- Penal Code 261(a)(3) – Rape by use of drugs
- Penal Code 261(a)(4)– Rape of an unconscious person
- Penal Code 261(a)(6) – Rape by threat of harm
- Penal Code 262 (a)(1) – Spousal rape
- Penal Code 264.1 – Forcible rape while acting in concert
- Penal Code 266h(a) – Pimping
- Penal Code 266h(a)– Soliciting a prostitute
Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of sex crimes below.
Sex Crimes Against Minors
An accusation of a sex crime against a minor can evoke strong emotions in people. Because of these emotions, law enforcement and prosecutors can sometimes find it difficult to retain their objectivity. In this regard, many innocent people have been investigated, arrested, and even convicted as a result of this rush to judgment. Sex crime allegations in Los Angeles may begin with a pretext phone call – wherein the alleged victim or undercover law enforcement call the suspect and get them to “admit” to wrongdoing. If you are being investigated for a sex crime against a minor, you may receive a phone call from the alleged victim or their friend or family member, trying to get you to admit guilt while a sex crime detective listens in. Sometimes, the call will come from an undercover officer. Any statements you make during these calls may be used as evidence against you.
If you are under investigation for a sex crime involving a minor, it is important to refrain from making any statements and immediately contact our experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense attorneys. Our team will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you obtain the best possible outcome.
Internet Sex Crimes
Technology has completely changed the way we communicate. The internet, social media sites and mobile apps have given us many ways to communicate without revealing our identities. In November 2004, Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” the first reality television series devoted to catching sexual predators online, debuted on network TV. This series of crimes captured the attention of the public and lawmakers and played a role in the enactment of a new law in 2006, Penal Code section 288.3(a). Under Penal Code 288.3(a) and Penal Code 288.4 (a), persons who attempt to arrange meetings with minors in order to commit lewd acts are guilty of a felony. Conviction for either of these sex offenses means you will have to register as a sex offender.
There are many other forms of internet-based sexual crimes, such as possessing or distributing child pornography( Penal Code 311), arranging to meet a minor for sexual acts ( Penal Code 288.4, and sending nude images to a minor for the purposes of seduction ( Penal Code 288.2). If you have been contacted by a sex crime detective or have had a search warrant executed on your electronic property, you should not make any statements, and immediately contact sex crime lawyer with experience and expertise in defending internet sex crimes in Los Angeles.
Misdemeanor Sex Crimes
In Los Angeles, not all sex crimes are considered “straight felonies.” California sex crimes such as Indecent Exposure, Unlawful Intercourse with a Minor (Statutory Rape), and Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery are all “wobbler offenses,” which means that each of them can be prosecuted—depending on the circumstances of the individual case—as either felony or misdemeanor sex crimes. Whether you are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor depends on factors such as your prior criminal record and whether any aggravating circumstances exist. Some Los Angeles sex crimes, such as Lewd Act in Public, Child Annoyance and Prostitution are often charged as misdemeanors. Although misdemeanors are viewed as less serious than felonies, in Los Angeles a misdemeanor sex crime can have some of the same consequences as a felony—including incarceration. But the most devastating part of being charged with any kind of sexual offense is potential sex-offender registration, which may follow you for a long time and make it difficult to find work or housing.
Felony sex crimes
The most serious crimes prosecuted in Los Angeles are sex crimes. Offenses such as Rape, Sodomy, Lewd Act with a Minor Under 14, Penetration with a Foreign Object, and Oral Copulation are felony sex crimes which carry lengthy California State Prison sentences and mandatory sex offender registration. Under Megan’s Law, sex offender registration would subject you to inclusion on the national and California sex crime registries. As such, the impact of a felony sex crime conviction can be devastating and long-lasting. Our Los Angeles sex crime lawyer has years of criminal litigation experience, which we put to work for you: securing a plea agreement that will keep you off the sex offender registry—or winning your acquittal at trial.
Common Sex Crimes Allegations in Los Angeles, California
There are a number of criminal offenses that fall under the broad category of sex crimes in California. Our Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys at The Tabibnia Law Firm handle a wide range of criminal offenses, including:
1) Indecent Exposure – Penal Code 314
Penal Code 314 (Indecent Exposure) occurs when a suspect exposes their privates to another person in a public place with the intent of arousing or offending. For example, flashing someone in a park or bar might be considered indecent exposure.
Under California state law, indecent exposure is often charged as a misdemeanor and may be punishable by up to one year in county jail. However, if the defendant retains a previous indecent exposure conviction, a new and subsequent allegation may be charged as a felony.
To prove that a defendant is guilty of indecent exposure, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:
- The defendant willfully exposed his or her genitals in the presence of another person(s) who would be offended or annoyed by the defendant’s actions.
- When the defendant exposed him or herself, he or she acted lewdly by intending to direct attention to the naked genitals with the purpose of sexually arousing himself or sexually offending the other person.
- It is not required that another person actually see the exposed genitals, only that the defendant exposed his or her genitals in the presence of another person or persons.
The repercussions of a California “indecent exposure” conviction can be serious. In most cases, a first indecent exposure conviction subjects you to misdemeanor penalties of:
- up to six (6) months in county jail and
- a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000)
A second offense is a felony and can lead to a California state prison sentence. But perhaps worst of all, a Penal Code 314 Penal Code conviction subjects you to a minimum ten (10) year duty to register as a Tier one California sex offender. (California Senate Bill 384 recently created a three-tier sex registration system that reduced the registration requirement for indecent exposure to ten (10) years. It used to be for life.)
The good news is that an experienced and capable California criminal defense attorney will know a variety of ways to defend against an “indecent exposure” allegation. There are a number of legal defenses that a skilled attorney can present on your behalf in an effort to get the “indecent exposure” charge reduced or even dismissed. Some of these defenses include:
- You never actually exposed yourself,
- You weren’t aware of anyone else being present who would be offended, and / or
- You were the victim of mistaken identity.
2) Sexual Assault – Penal Code 243.4
Sexual assault – also known as sexual battery under California state law, is the intimate touching of another person – without the person’s will – while they are restrained and in order to arouse yourself or someone else. Under Penal Code Section 243.4 PC, sexual assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Ultimately, the charge will depend on your criminal record (if any) and how much harm or trauma you caused.
To prove that a defendant committed felony sexual battery, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:
- The defendant (or an accomplice) unlawfully restrained another person.
- While this person was restrained, the defendant touched an intimate part of this other person or touched this other person with his or her own intimate part.
- The touching was done against the other person’s will.
- The touching was done for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.
Some common legal defenses to sexual battery include:
- consent (that is, the alleged victim actually consented to the act),
- insufficient evidence, and
- false allegations / innocence.
A misdemeanor sexual battery conviction carries a maximum county jail sentence of either
- six (6) months or one (1) year, depending on the circumstances, and
- a fine of up to $2,000 (or up to $3,000 if the victim was your employee).
A felony conviction subjects you to a California state prison sentence of:
- two, (2), three (3) or four (4) years,
- and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Misdemeanor convictions of sexual battery carry a minimum ten-year requirement to register as a tier-one sex offender. Most felony convictions carry a lifetime requirement to be on the sex offender registry as a tier three sex offender. Learn more about the California sex offender registration system. Moreover, amidst the #metoo movement, civil lawsuits by victims of sexual assault have become increasingly common.
3) Prostitution – Penal Code Section 647(b)
Under Penal Code Section 647(b)—also known as the prostitution statute—it is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for compensation. Prostitution can include having sex for money, agreeing to engage in prostitution or soliciting another person (or group of people) to do so.
In order to prove a defendant engaged in prostitution, the prosecutor must establish the following:
- The defendant willfully engaged in sexual intercourse or a lewd act with someone else in exchange for money or other compensation
A lewd act means touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or the customer with some part of the other person’s body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either person.
To prove a defendant solicited prostitution, the prosecutor must establish the following:
- The defendant requested that another person engage in an act of prostitution
- The defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution with the other person
- The other person received the communication containing the request
Under the law, when a prostitute and a customer engage in sexual intercourse or lewd acts, both of them are engaged in an act of prostitution.
A capable criminal defense lawyer may draw upon several legal strategies to help clients contest solicitation and prostitution charges. A few common ones include showing that:
- there is a lack of evidence to support a conviction,
- the defendant was entrapped, and/or
- the defendant was falsely accused.
A violation of California Penal Code Section 647 b is a misdemeanor offense (as opposed to a felony or an infraction). The crime is punishable by:
- up to six months in jail time, and/or
- a fine of up to $1,000.
4) CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – Penal Code 311
Penal Code 311 PC is the main statute that makes child pornography a crime in the state of California. In particular, under California law, it is illegal to possess, send, transport, duplicate, print, or advertise child pornography. It is likewise illegal to hire or have minors participate in making pornographic images.
Under Penal Code 311, child pornography offenses may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the specifics of each case and a defendant’s criminal record.
Possession of Child Pornography – Penal Code 311.11
Under PC 311.11, to prove defendant is guilty of possession of child pornography, the prosecutor must show that:
- The defendant possessed an image or video, in any media format, that depicts sexual conduct, simulated or actual, of a minor under eighteen (18), and
- The defendant knew that he or she possessed the images or video and knew that the image or video depicted the minor, engaging in, or simulating sexual conduct.
- Defendant distributed, offered to distribute or possessed with intent to distribute obscene material within or into California;
- Defendant knew the material was obscene;
- Defendant knew the images depicted a minor simulating or engaging in sex acts;
- Defendant intended to distribute the material for a financial or commercial benefit.
- did not possess child pornography,
- did not act knowingly,
- was connected with matter that had a legitimate purpose,
- got arrested following an unlawful search and seizure, and/or,
- was entrapped.
Producing/Distributing Child Pornography – PC 311.2(b)
In order to convict someone under Penal Code §311.2(b), the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
A defendant can raise a number of legal defenses to fight child pornography allegations. A few common defenses are that the accused:
Most child pornography offenses in California are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies.
Misdemeanor child pornography is typically punishable by up to one year in county jail. Most felony child pornography cases are punishable by a three-year prison sentence.
5) STATUTORY RAPE – Penal Code 261.5
Under Penal Code 261.5, it is a crime to have sexual intercourse with a minor who is not your spouse. Defendant may be charged with statutory rape even if the minor willingly participates; the law deems unmarried minors to be legally incapable of consenting to have sex.
Under Penal Code Section 261.5 Penal Code, statutory rape is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony based on the specifics of the case.
One of the most important factors in how statutory rape is charged is the age difference between the parties involved. The greater the age difference, the more severe the consequences.
The crime of statutory rape contains the following elements, all of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant had sexual intercourse with a minor;
- The defendant and the minor were not married at the time of the intercourse;
Having an attorney who specializes in defending against California sex crimes is the key to safeguarding your rights and protecting your future. A good attorney knows that there are certain legal defenses that can help you beat the charges. Two of the most helpful legal defenses are:
- You honestly and reasonably believed the minor was over 18; or
- No actual sexual intercourse took place.
Statutory rape is a California “wobbler” offense. Depending on the circumstances it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
The age difference between the defendant and the minor is one of the major factors determining how the crime is tried. If the defendant is 21 or older and the minor is under the age of 16, the penalties are likely to be most severe.
In such a case they can include up to four (4) years in California state prison!
6) RAPE – Penal Code 261
Rape is among the most serious sex offenses in California. Penal Code Section 261 Penal Code defines rape as having sex with another adult without their consent.
Rape can occur through the use of force, threats, by having sex with an unconscious or intoxicated victim or under any similar situation wherein the victim did not consent to the sex act. In California, rape is a felony punishable by up to 8 years in state prison.
The crime of rape contains the following elements, all of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant had sexual intercourse with a woman (or man).
- The parties were not married at the time of the intercourse.
- The other party did not consent to the intercourse.
- The defendant accomplished the intercourse by using one or more of the following:
- Fear of immediate bodily injury (to the victim or someone else)
- Threat of future retaliation
- Threatening to use the authority of a public office to incarcerate, arrest or deport someone.
False accusations of rape are not uncommon. A defendant may contest a rape charge with a legal defense. Common defenses include:
- no sexual intercourse, and/or
- false accusations.
The penalties for rape in California are set forth in Penal Code 264 Penal Code. A violation of PC 261 is a felony. The offense is punishable by:
- custody in state prison for three, six, or eight years, or
- felony (or formal) probation.
7) LEWD ACTS ON A CHILD – Penal Code 288
In California, it is illegal to commit a lewd act on a child, which involves touching a child’s intimate parts or encouraging them to engage in a sexual act. This crime is typically charged as a felony.
The charge and penalties for this crime will also depend upon the age of the child and the difference in age between the defendant and child. If force is used to commit the act, the maximum penalty for this crime is 10 years in a state penitentiary.
To be convicted under Penal Code 288(a), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant willfully and lewdly touched any body part of a child or caused the child to touch the defendant’s body or someone else’s;
- The defendant acted with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the sexual desires of the defendant or the child; and
- The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the offense.
The crime applies even if the defendant touched over the child’s clothes rather than bare skin.
- Defendant Didn’t Willfully Touch The Child
- The Child Is Over The Age Of Fourteen
- The Touching Wasn’t Sexually Motivated
- The accuser Made A Mistake
- Defendant Was A Victim Of Illegal Police Conduct
- The Accusation Is False
- Section 288(a)- Lewd & Lascivious act with a minor under 14 years of age: A violation of this subsection carries with it a felony with the possibility of a state prison sentence of three, six, or eight years, based on any aggravating and mitigating factors. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Although, it is also possible to be granted probation and not a jail sentence.
- Section 288(b) – Lewd & Lascivious Acts combined with the use of violence, threats, physical force, or fear: A person is charged with committing an act described in subdivision (a) by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, can be found guilty of a felony and could thus be sentenced to either 5, 8, or 10 years in a state prison, with no chance for probation. In addition to the heavy prison time that is lingering over a conviction, if found guilty, you could also be fined up to $10,000.
- Section 288(c) Lewd & Lascivious Acts with a minor who is 14 or 15 years old, and the accused is 10 years or older than the victim: A violation of this subsection could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances of the case. For a misdemeanor conviction, you face up to 364 days in county jail. For a felony conviction, you face a sentence of up to three years in state prison, plus a fine.
- Penal Code 290 – Sex Offender Registration: The final penalty that you will face for any conviction under Section 288 is being forced to register as a sex offender for 10 years, 20 years, or even life. In addition to the registration requirement, failure to register as a sex offender is a separate felony charge that can carry a punishment of up to three years in prison.
It should be further noted that, depending on the circumstances, additional penalties are possible. For instance, if the alleged lewd act caused the victim bodily harm, the accused may face a harsher sentence. an individual is found guilty of performing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14, and it caused the victim bodily harm, the accused can face harsher sentencing. The California statutes regarding lewd acts in which a child is harmed include:
- Penal Code 288(i) – Life sentence for personally inflicting bodily harm on a victim under 14.
- Penal Code 12022.8 – 5-year sentencing enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury.
- Penal Code 667. 61(d)(7) – sentencing enhancement. Up to 25 years to life for personally inflicting bodily harm on a victim under 14.
8) CHILD MOLESTATION – Penal Code 288.7(a)
As defined in Penal Code Section 288.7(a), child molestation occurs when an adult has sexual intercourse or sodomizes a child who is 10 years old or younger.
A felony, a conviction for PC 288.7(a) carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life in a California state prison. If the sexual act involves oral sex or sexual penetration, the offense carries 15 years to life in prison.
A defendant can raise a legal defense to beat a child molesting charge. A few common sex crime defenses are:
- the alleged victim does not meet the age criteria for the crime,
- any contact was not sexual in nature, and/or
- The accuser made a false accusation.
A violation of PC 288.7(a) is a felony and carries a potential sentence of life in prison.
PENALTIES FOR SEX CRIMES IN LOS ANGELES, CA
The prosecution will push hard to obtain a conviction, and they often ask for the harshest penalty allowed by law for your sex crime. Penalties for sex offenses can vary widely, depending on the specific offense, whether you have a prior criminal record and other factors. After a conviction for a sex crime in Los Angeles, the defendant might be subject to any number of punishments, including:
- Imprisonment in a county jail or state
- Probation, including community service, counseling, rehabilitation, and other requirements, as seen fit by the court
- Parole, and/or
- Mandatory sex offender registration.
A sex crime conviction could have serious repercussions to your personal and professional life. For example, you might find that it’s difficult to get a job or you may lose your professional license. Finding housing may also prove more difficult if you are a registered sex offender.
Additionally, you may lose your right to own or possess a firearm.You could potentially lose custody and visitation rights to your children. And may lose certain government benefits.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
There are many consequences associated with a sex crime conviction in California. For many sex crimes, a conviction can result in the defendant being required to register as a sex offender. In California, there are three levels of sex offender registration.
- Tier One: persons convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery, indecent exposure or other low-level sex crimes are required to register with their local sheriff’s office for at least 10 years.
- Tier Two: requires registration for a minimum of 20 years after a conviction for a mid-level sex offense, such as lewd acts with a minor under 14, incest, or acts of penetration with a foreign object.
- Tier Three: For many of the most serious sex crimes, including rape, child pornography and pimping a minor, registration for life is required after conviction.
Further, Meghan’s Law will put your name and criminal record in a searchable database, so that you can be easily identified by people doing background checks. For the period of time you’re required to register, and for any subsequent periods in which registration is necessary because your offense falls into one of the categories listed above (see “Eligibility Requirements,” above), you must comply with strict rules. These might include:
- Notifying the state if and when you move, within at least 5 days of doing so
- Maintaining a certain distance from schools, parks, or other places where children can be found regularly, and
- Notifying your college institution that you have been convicted of a sex crime, and registering with campus police.
If you are classified as a high-risk offender, it’s possible that your parole or probation officer will require you to wear a GPS monitoring device. Failing to register as a sex offender is also punishable by law.
If you do not satisfy your court-ordered responsibilities, you can face additional criminal charges and punishments.
A strong defense is the only way to avoid mandatory registration on California’s sex offender registry. At Tabibnia Law Firm, we have years of experience and expertise defending against sex crime charges. And we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to defend your rights and protect your future. Call us today to learn more.
WHAT IF I’VE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF A SEX CRIME?
Many sex crimes are prosecuted based primarily on an alleged victim’s statements. However, many of these allegations are false. Some people make statements out of hatred or revenge without any independent evidence to support their claims. There are also numerous instances of false/mistaken memories of alleged sex crimes occurring many years ago. Keep in mind that, to be convicted, prosecutors must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. When our legal team represents you, we will:
- Discuss the possible motivations that may have led to false allegations;
- Ensure that the validity and legality of evidence presented to support false accusations is challenged;
- Determine if your rights have been violated in any way in an effort to get evidence thrown out or, better yet, the charges against you dropped;
- Interview character and eye-witnesses; and
- With the help of experts, gather evidence that disproves charges against you.
We will carefully examine the state’s charges against you and develop a strong defense.
LET OUR LOS ANGELES SEX CRIME OFFICE FIGHT FOR YOU TODAY
If you have been accused of, arrested for or charged with a sex crime in Los Angeles, it is important to secure legal representation as soon as possible. The Tabibnia Law Firm has experience necessary to defend clients facing such charges. Our Los Angeles sex crimes lawyers are leaders in the field, with years of experience handling such cases. One of her most rewarding experiences has been working on cases from both perspectives—prosecuting and defending. Who better to defend you than someone who understands how the state is likely to approach your case?
That’s why you should call our Los Angeles law office right away to schedule a free initial consultation.
Remember, the prosecution will begin to assemble its case against you immediately. As soon as you are charged with a crime, it’s important to get legal representation. Our team is always available to take your call, so please contact our LA office today.