Recidivism is a Key Factor
When you start to talk about mitigating factors, you're talking about potentially resolving your sex crime defense. People might not think about and realize what makes a difference to judges and prosecutors.
First, they are zeroing in on whether or not you're going to be a recidivist. In other words, are you going to do something like this again, or even worse. Are you going to do something more high level that damages a victim?
A perfect example is those individuals convicted of possession of child pornography. The prosecutor's and judges' most significant concern is, are those people now going to go out and try to find a live victim. So, what ends up happening when we talk about mitigating factors, is we're going to:
- get a psychological evaluation of the person,
- where we're going to see by testing by someone who is an expert,
- whether or not that person is going to be a recidivist,
- whether they're going to do it again.
There are a bunch of tests for that and factors that can be evaluated.
So, suppose you will end up having to plead guilty to a sex-related offense. In that case, you're going to probably want to make sure that you've got a psychological report addressing the type of factors that judges are concerned about, like:
- why did you do whatever it is you're being accused of?
- what's the root cause?
- can you be treated, which is another significant mitigating factor.
If you can be treated — maybe you're on some medication, some classes, or a program. There's a whole host of different things that can be done to help individuals accused and convicted of a sex crime.
I think probably the most stereotypical thing that people think about is, well, I've got an excellent job. Some people even have a family, and they're committing sex crimes.
That is a factor, but it's not as important as you might think because all kinds of people who appear to lead seemingly everyday lives are committing sex crimes across Los Angeles County and the United States.
Why Did the Sex Crime Happen?
The third thing I would say on the subject of sex crimes and what you can do to mitigate them is, you have to look at things from a commonsense standpoint:
- what happened?
- why did it happen?
- what can we do to show the prosecutors and judge it's not going to happen again?
Because that's one of the biggest fears that they have is. If we give this guy a break if we don't send him to prison. If we make him register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, what happens if he does this again?
Maybe to a worse degree, and now that prosecutor and judge are looking at us and saying, hey, you had this guy. He's done this, and you did nothing to him.
You didn't punish him appropriately and now look, he's done something to another victim.
So, I think that's their biggest fear, so when we try and evaluate these cases and think about them, we're coming from a mindset of showing the judge and the prosecutor that if they do give you a break, they're not going to be sorry.
How to Mitigate The Charges In A Sex Crime Case?
There are several ways to mitigate the charges in a sex crime case. Often, a psychiatrist or psychologist will be brought in to evaluate the defendant and write a report that addresses the likelihood of the defendant becoming a recidivist.
In other words, it will have to be asked whether or not the defendant is likely to commit another similar crime, and many tests are utilized in making such determinations. If it can be shown that there is an extremely low likelihood of recidivism, then it will be argued that the defendant should not be severely punished.
There is also the Static-99 test, which is designed to get down to the details about whether or not someone will re-offend. If a defendant has no prior sex-related offenses on their record, then a strong argument could be made that the event was merely an aberration and won't happen again.
In addition, a defendant's background will be considered, including their employment history and family situation. Often, character letters from people who know the defendant will be gathered. Lastly, the impact on the victim will be considered; the less of an effect there was to the victim, the stronger the defense's position will be about resolving the case and avoiding harsh penalties.
California has developed a three-tiered system for sex offenses that will be implemented very soon. This will guide the decisions regarding whether or not convicted individuals will have to register as sex offenders for the remainder of their lives.
In this three-tiered system, not all people will register as sex offenders for life. Speaking with a sex crimes attorney and allowing them to do the research will help a person determine how long they will have to register as a sex offender.
Criminal Lawyers for California Sex Crime Charges
There are many different things to do: the probation report from the probation department. Other times, we get that psychological evaluation.
The great thing about that is we can get that, and if the evaluation is not, we simply don't use it.
But if it's good and if it's angled up to try and deal with some of the concerns, then we're going to use it to assist you.
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a sex crime and you're looking to mitigate your circumstances, you've come to the right place. I've been doing this for 27 years.
I've worked for the District Attorney's Office as a Superior Court Judge and as a sex crime defense attorney since 1994.
Pick up the phone and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve individuals in all Southern California courts, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.