Misdemeanor and Felony Sex Offenses
In an effort to crack down on the difficulty of prosecuting sex offenses, the state and federal governments in recent decades have relaxed the burden for proving these crimes and have increased the penalties. The sex offender registry
makes things more complicated because anyone convicted of a sex offense must register. Even if the conviction only resulted in probation, the sex offender registry will haunt a person for the rest of his life.
Felony Sex Offense.
If a person has been accused of Rape, Sexual Abuse, Criminal Sex Act, or another felony, it is important to fight the case from the beginning. Too many people wait too long. Once certain opportunities or deadlines pass, a person loses many of the best chances for defending against a sex offense conviction.
Often, sex offenses are based on nothing more than an accusation. It is the classic he-said-she-said situation. The weak evidence and the suspicious motives of an accuser in many of these cases allows for early defensive strategies that can result in avoiding a conviction and the sex offender registry. It is important to have an attorney, knowledgeable about these types of cases, to provide an aggressive defense.
For example, the Grand Jury presentation can work in the defendant’s favor in many common sex offense cases. The Grand Jury is a group of 16-23 people who will determine if probable cause exists for an indictment. The Grand Jury proceeding usually happens after a person is arrested based on a felony complaint. Many attorneys traditionally avoid the Grand Jury because the rules favor the prosecution, and the defense attorney cannot do much to avoid the charges.
However, in a number of common sex offenses, the Grand Jury can provide the defense with the best opportunity for avoiding charges altogether or for having the top charges reduced. If the defense attorney takes the time to carefully plan a Grand Jury defense, the jurors may return a No True Bill or only indict on a low-level offense.
This strategy is very important. Normally, if the Grand Jury indicts on a top felony count — Rape, Sexual Abuse, or Criminal Sex Act — harsh new laws prevent the prosecution from offering a non-felony plea bargain. In other words, once the Grand Jury indicts, a defendant will have only two options: 1) plead guilty to a felony sex offense and face life on the Sex Offender Registry or 2) go to trial.
A good attorney can avoid the top charges with a careful Grand Jury strategy. For example, in many cases, the accuser provides the only evidence of guilt. In a number of rape cases, both the accuser and the defendant admit to having sex and the only issue is whether the defendant used force. A carefully prepared Grand Jury statement, which allows the defendant to present his side of the story, can expose a false accusation and end the case without a trial.
Obviously, this strategy can be risky without careful preparation. The attorney and the client should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of testifying before the Grand Jury.
Misdemeanor Sex Offense.
In a number of situations, a misdemeanor sex offense can result in sex offender registration. Forcible Touching and Sex Abuse in the Third Degree against a person under the age of 17 can result in a minimum of 20 years on the sex offender registry. If the court adjudicates an offender as a Level 2 or 3, the offender can face registration for life!
A person accused of a misdemeanor sex offense should treat the case with the seriousness of a felony charge. Even though the misdemeanor sentence may result in no jail time, the decades of sex offender registration can ruin a person’s career and family life.
Attorney Advertising: All content sponsored by The Law Office of Adam Bevelacqua, LLC. Although informational, this website may be considered attorney advertising. Every case has unique circumstances, and a person should consult a criminal attorney before taking any legal action.