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10 Things to Avoid

Sex Offender Registration

When you're talking about a sex crime case, most people are concerned with the potential pitfalls, and a lot of what I'm about to go over is obviously on their minds if they know about it.  If they don't know about it, this is a good read because it gives you some good things to think about.

#1.  Sex Crime Registration:  I would say probably the number one thing that people would want to avoid in a sex crime case is sex registration.  If you have registered as a sex offender, it is very embarrassing.

Sometimes you end up on the Megan's Law website, where people can see you there.  If people search the area, they can find the jury registered sex offender.  Your neighbors can discover that and people who work with you if they do the proper search and formal investigations.

So, you don't want to register as a sex offender if you can avoid it.  For better than 90% of the sex crimes that could be filed against somebody, you have to register as a sex offender.  So, you can see most sex crimes are registerable offenses.

There are a tiny handful of sex crimes that somebody would not have to register as a sex offender.  So, when you're trying to resolve a case, if a person will have to plead guilty or no contest, there's a concise list of sex crimes.

Other crimes could be inserted in the place of a sex crime, but obviously, the facts of the case would have to warrant that.  The prosecutor and judge would have to be amenable and agreeable to that, which they are often not in a sex crime case.

There's now a new 3-tiered system where people would have to register for life-related to the most egregious sex crime offenses, and of course, there's a list of those. Then there's a 20-year list where people would have to register for twenty years if they got convicted of certain sex crimes, and finally, there's a 10-year list of sex crimes where people would have to register for ten years. 

These are usually misdemeanor-related offenses and less severe sex crimes. So, that's the number one thing to be concerned about, and the #1 thing that people want to avoid is sex crime registration.

Prison Sentence and Strike on Your Record

#2.  Prison Sentences:  The next thing that people want to avoid is a prison, and many sex crimes carry jail.  Going to prison for a sex-related offense is hazardous, especially if fellow prisoners can find out about that; many people would be in jeopardy and subject to being attacked in prison.

Not all sex crimes carry prison.  It depends on what you plead to.  Many sex crimes and the more serious sex crimes could be punished by jail or probation.  Again, depending on what your lawyer can negotiate for you.

If you're going to end up pleading guilty to a sex-related offense when we're making this list here, we're talking about people who will have to claim guilty.

Some people don't want to plead guilty.  They're going to fight their case, and if they're successful and found not guilty, they don't have to worry about going to prison or registering as a sex offender.

#3.  Strike on Your Record:  The next thing that I would say that people would want to avoid is a strike on their record.  Nobody wants to get a strike.  Having a strike on your record, especially in California, you would be a second offender if you get any new offenses moving forward.

You would be subject to your charge being more severe because you could get your punishment doubled under the Three Strikes Law of California, so avoiding a strike is something you want to do if you're charged with a sex crime in Los Angeles.

#4.  Inexperienced Attorney:  The next thing you want to avoid is an inexperienced attorney.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen attorneys that don't know what they're doing, who have big money, so they're able to get on the internet, but they've never handled a sex crime case before, or they have minimal experience handling sex crime cases.

Avoid an inexperienced criminal defense attorney when you're charged with a sex crime case, and you've come to the right place. I've been doing this for 25 years and could certainly help anyone charged with a sex crime in Los Angeles, California. 

Rush to Judgment and Witness Motive to Lie

#5.  Rush to Judgement:  The next thing I would say to avoid is getting yourself in a situation where the prosecutors, the police, and the judge are rushing to judgment and thinking you're guilty and completely guilty.

A lot of times, people have defenses. Even if they don't have reasons, it's not precisely the circumstance that the police have painted because they haven't done a full investigation in the case. That's where an experienced criminal defense attorney comes in — to show them your side of the story, get witnesses, gather evidence, and investigate the case the right way on your behalf.

#6.  Witness with Motive to Lie:  Another thing to avoid is dealing with a witness who has a motive to lie because many times, people will claim someone was involved in a sex-related offense and have a reason to do so lie.

Maybe they're going to be your ex-wife soon, and they want to get themselves in a powerful position against you to take all your money in a divorce case, so they've made up some sex-related allegations related to you and them or you and somebody else, you and your child.

There are all sorts of different things that I've seen over the last twenty-five years of defending sex-related offenses.  So, if you have somebody who has a motive to lie, your attorney will want to effectively cross-examine that person and show their reason to lie to the finder of fact — whether a judge or a jury.

Unfair Prosecution and Going to Trial

#7. Dishonest Prosecutor:  The next thing you want to avoid is a corrupt prosecutor.  There are all sorts of different prosecutors.  There are good, not-so-good, and middle-of-the-road prosecutors, just like defense attorneys and judges and people.

But, if you've got an unfair prosecutor, you want to use your attorney to either get around that prosecutor or point out that that prosecutor's being unjust and try to turn the tide in your favor.

You don't want to be prosecuted by somebody who's not fair, who's not looking at all the evidence, and trying to put you in prison and get all the worse things that come along with a sex-related offense.

#8.  Going to Trial:  The next thing I would say is you want to avoid going to trial if you don't have a chance to win.  Many people tell me I don't want to go to trial, but I also don't want to get a conviction.  Well, you can't have both things sometimes.

If you're charged with a sex crime and the prosecutors don't want to give you the deal you want, then the next thing you'll have to do is go to trial, and you don't want to go to test if you're going to lose.

Because if you go to trial and lose control over your case, you lose control.  You lose control over your sentence.  You lose control over your fate. 

So, don't be fooled into going into a trial unless you have a good chance of winning, and obviously, that's something you want to discuss with your sex crime defense attorney.  They're going to let you know what your chances are of winning.

Sometimes you have no choice but to go to trial because the prosecutors aren't fair.  You have a chance to win, and it makes sense to do it, but that's something that you and your attorney want to talk about and make an informed decision.

Not Considering All Options and Losing Hope

#9.  Not Considering All Options:  You want to avoid not considering all of your options.  For example, getting a 288.1 report.  This is a report that a psychiatrist does.

It's evaluating whether or not you're a danger to the community, whether or not you're likely to recidivist or commit another sex-related offense.  You want to get one of these reports because you're thinking about working out a plea bargain with the prosecutors.

You want to make sure that the judge and the prosecutor see all sides of everything and get a good look at you as a person, the crime, your involvement, and whether or not you are likely to do something like this again. 

Often, a good 288.1 report under that Penal Code Section puts you in a much stronger position. 

#10.  Losing Hope:  The last thing you want to avoid is losing hope and putting your head down and saying, well, I don't have a chance. 

I'm just going to get a Public Defender, and the chips will fall where they may.  Even if you are guilty of a crime, losing hope is not the right move.

You now have to do damage control and think about your life moving forward and what you will do.  Avoid some of the worse penalties that come along with a sex-related offense.  Hire a reasonable attorney.

Hire somebody like me who will work hard for you and figure out how to get the best resolution, but certainly, don't give up all hope.  That's not the right way to handle things. 

Be positive.  Keep your senses about you.  Use your common sense.  Hire a great attorney.  Move forward and get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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