Sexual Offenses Attorney in California
Responding to allegations regarding sexual offenses requires very careful consideration. Should you attempt to “explain” your actions in order to clear your name, you could find your own words possibly taken out of context and used against you. It is always better to exercise your right to remain silent prior to speaking to law enforcement, at least until you have had a chance to speak to an experienced San Bernardino or Riverside criminal defense attorney.
The Riverside, California law firm of Greenberg & Greenberg can protect your rights while skillfully addressing evidence in a sexual assault or another type of sexual offense case. Our sex crime defense lawyers represent clients charged with a sexual offense in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys take your charges very seriously; even if sex was consensual, the other person could later call it rape, and without a veteran criminal defense attorney in your corner, you could wind up in prison.
We will examine all the evidence associated with the alleged crime, including the complaint, any witness statements, police investigation reports, DNA, and any other physical evidence. If the alleged victim made inconsistent statements, or if there is evidence which could exonerate you, yet the police and prosecutors have ignored it, we will bring those things to light. We will suppress any evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure, a prejudicial police lineup, or any other violation of your rights. At Greenberg & Greenberg, we defend a wide range of sexual offenses, including:
- Child Molestation Defense—Child molestation in the state of California is a felony offense; a conviction can lead to long prison sentences and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Continuous sexual abuse of a child occurs when a person lives with or has access to a person under 14 years of age, and over the course of three months or longer, commits three or more acts which are lewd or involve substantial sexual contact. The penalty for continuous sexual abuse of a child is a prison sentence of 6,12 or 16 years in prison, and the requirement to register as a “tier-three” lifetime sex offender. Unfortunately, in some instances, sexual abuse of a child can be exploited by someone making a false accusation. There are many reasons a child could make a false accusation; he or she could be confused, or another adult could coach the child into fabricating a false story in order to harm the person. A thorough and aggressive review of the evidence of the case is necessary and is crucial in these cases, and a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney is the person you need to get this accomplished.
- Date Rape Defense—Date rape is a term commonly used to describe nonconsensual sexual intercourse which occurs between those who are or were dating or who are voluntarily spending time together. Although date rape may sound a bit more “casual” than a “regular” rape charge in the state, the two are actually one and the same as far as penalties. If convicted, you could face up to eight years in prison and will have a lifetime duty to register as a sex offender (tier-three offender). Like child molestation, there are times when false allegations of date rape are made, usually to “pay-back” a person for a real or imagined slight.
- Statutory Rape Defense—In the state of California, it is illegal for a person who is 18 or older to have sex with a minor (a person younger than 18), even if the sex is consensual, on the premise that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities. The prosecutor is not required to prove assault in a statutory rape case. The penalties for statutory rape depend on the ages of the defendant and alleged victim and include:
- Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor is sexual intercourse or penetration between a minor who is 17 or younger, and a defendant of any age.
- Unlawful oral copulation involves oral sex between a minor who is 17 or younger and a defendant of any age.
- Sexual penetration is sexual intercourse or penetration between a minor under the age of 14, and a defendant who is a minimum of ten years older than the minor.
- Lewd and lascivious acts upon a child encompass sexual contact between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant of any age, or a minor who is 14 or 15 and a defendant who is at least ten years older.
- The penalties for statutory rape depend on the ages of each party, as well as certain other factors, and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, although the younger the victim, the harsher the penalties. For a misdemeanor statutory rape conviction, the penalty can include probation, up to 364 days in jail and a fine as large as $1,000—or a combination of the three. A conviction for felony statutory rape can result in a minimum of 16 months, and a maximum of eight years in prison, probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. Depending on the ages of those involved and the circumstances, a person convicted of statutory rape could be mandated to register as a sex offender. California has a marital exemption for statutory rape which allows those who are legally married to have consensual sex—even if their ages would prohibit it otherwise. If both parties are minors, the “Romeo and Juliet” exception may apply—this is for teenagers who engage in consensual sex when they are close in age. This is a limited exception but could reduce conduct from a felony to a misdemeanor.
- Rape Defense—Rape is a very serious crime and rape allegations can cause extreme anxiety. California defines rape as nonconsensual sexual intercourse, accomplished through violence, duress, threats or fraud, or when the victim was unconscious. A rape conviction in the state carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison, or up to 13 years if the victim was a minor. Additionally, fines of up to $10,000 could be imposed, you will receive a “strike” on your record under California’s Three Strikes Law, and you will have lifetime registration as a “tier-three” sex offender. In a rape case, when consent was given, then withdrawn, the defense can be a bit trickier. The court will usually look for three elements: the alleged victim communicated to the defendant that he or she objected and wished to stop, the communication was done in such a way that a reasonable person would have recognized the seriousness of the request, however, the defendant continued sexual intercourse.
- Child Pornography Defense—Child pornography in California involves possession of child pornography, production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, sending child pornography to another person or advertising child pornography. Depending on the facts of the case, a child pornography conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to eight years, and a fine as large as $100,000. A person convicted of child pornography could also have to register on California’s sex offender list for a lifetime. Child pornography can include images, computer files, data, videos or anything else which depicts a minor under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act. The two exceptions to the law include minors who are legally emancipated and married individuals who are considered minors. (i.e., a 19-year-old and his or her 17-year-old spouse who film themselves engaging in sex.) Child pornography in the state is charged as a “wobbler,” meaning it can be tried as a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction could result in one year in county jail and a fine as large as $2,000. If the material is considered obscene, the defendant attempted to trade it commercially or attempted to show it to someone under 18, the offense is more likely to be charged as a felony.
- Internet Solicitation Defense—Internet sex crimes have dramatically increased due to the ease of access to the Internet for adults and for minors. Even if you are not found guilty of Internet solicitation, your reputation could be ruined by the accusation alone; you could lose your job, your family, and suffer other devastating consequences. Although charges for prostitution and engaging in lewd acts with a child require some level of physical contact, Internet solicitation does not require that the sexual act be carried out for a crime to occur. Approaching another person online to solicit sex in exchange for financial or other compensation can result in your being charged with Internet solicitation. Charges related to the crime of Internet solicitation include sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, production of child pornography, sexting, Internet solicitation of a minor with the intent of initiating sexual contact and hosting or viewing websites containing child pornography are also serious crimes.
- Prostitution Defense—In the state of California, it is a criminal offense to buy or sell sex for money. Prostitution is committed when a person participates in any sex act in exchange for money or anything else of value, agrees to participate in a sex act for money, or solicits sex in exchange for money. Prostitution is punished in the state under California’s disorderly conduct statute. Prostitution by an adult is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine as large as $1,000. Prior to January 2017, California law imposed mandatory incarceration periods for those who committed a second or third act of prostitution, but these mandatory minimum terms were removed by the California Legislature. A person who uses or seeks the service of a prostitute under the age of 18 can be fined up to $25,000.
- Possession of Obscene Materials Defense—A person in the state of California may not possess or distribute materials related to minors which could be classified as obscene, however, the definition of obscenity is not crystal clear. Because of this, having an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable as he or she can help you determine your options for either fighting the case or negotiating lesser charges or lesser penalties.
Registering as a Sex Offender
Under Megan’s Law, sex offender registration is taken very seriously in the state of California. All authorities are required to notify the public of sex offenders in their area, therefore, a conviction for a sexual offense can have a lasting impact on your life. You must renew your registration every year within five days of your birthday or whenever you move. Tier 1 sex offenders must register for 10 years if an adult or 5 years if a minor, then may petition for removal from the registry. Indecent exposure, misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor child pornography, and misdemeanor oral copulation are all considered Tier 1 offenses.
Tier 2 sex offenders must register for 20 years if an adult or 10 years if a minor, then may petition for removal from the registry. Tier 2 sexual offenses include incest, sexual acts with those unable to consent, oral copulation, or penetration with a foreign object. Tier 3 sex offenders face the most severe registration requirements as they must register for life and may not petition for removal. Rape, pimping a minor and child pornography are Tier 3 offenses.
How Greenberg & Greenberg Sexual Offense Attorneys Can Help
The San Bernardino & Riverside defense attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg & Greenberg were former prosecutors prior to placing their focus exclusively on criminal defense. They have decades of experience prosecuting and defending individuals facing sexual assault charges and will aggressively pursue every avenue possible to have your charges dismissed, negotiate a plea to a lesser charge with no jail or prison, or prepare for the possibility of a jury trial and an ultimate acquittal.
At Greenberg & Greenberg we fully understand the long-term consequences of a conviction for a sexual offense and will fight aggressively on your behalf. When faced with the serious penalties associated with sexual offenses, you need a strong, experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected. At Greenberg & Greenberg, we will put our experience to work for you—we believe you deserve a zealous defense and offer a free consultation. Contact Greenberg & Greenberg today.