Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in California
LEARN WHAT CAUSES A CASE TO BE FILED AS A SEX CRIME
When it comes to human contact, there is a dividing line between that innocent behavior and that behavior that crosses the line into criminal behavior. That line is often fuzzy, and it is hard to tell whether what the accused did was lawful or not.
Other times, it is clear that the defendant's behavior was unlawful or lawful, and the authorities do not have all the facts that show the person is innocent of the crime.
It is up to a seasoned attorney to show the prosecutors the other side of the story in cases filed improperly because all of the facts have not been flushed out by the police.
It is sometimes an uphill battle because some or all of the most crucial facts are disputed. In this scenario, a jury must usually decide which facts are accurate and not true.
This is where things become complicated, and only the most seasoned sex crime defense attorneys should be at the helm of these cases and make the decisions that will either make or break the case.
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Those cases that fall into the category of “a grey area” as far as whether they should be filed or not are the ones that the prosecutors will likely have the police do further investigation on before they file the case.
I have often been involved in the pre-filing phase of a sex crime case, and it is not always easy for prosecutors to decide what the right thing to do is.
As a defense attorney, I will typically contact the prosecutor or lead detective on these cases and try and figure out where the issues are and see if there is any evidence or information we can bring to bear to have the filing decision go in our favor and avoid having to defend the case in the first place.
Sometimes the prosecutors are receptive to this approach, while others do not want to deal with the defense until after making their own independent decision on a case.
When I meet with clients to discuss their sex crime cases, we will focus on whether the authorities have the evidence they need to prosecute them and if we have any proof or information in our possession that can assist in them not filing the case.
As you might guess, your attorney is the one who should make the crucial decisions as to what to share with the authorities and whether it is strategically correct to share anything at all.
What is a sex offender? A sex offender is a civilian who deliberately imposes excessive sexual behavior on another civilian against their consent. Since 1947, California sex offenders have been required to register their offenses.
What Are Sex Crimes?
Sex crimes include many forms of illegal sexual activity by individuals in Los Angeles County. Some more severe sex crimes involve Child Molestation, Child Abuse, Child Pornography, Sexual assault, Sexual Battery, Indecent Exposure, Lewd Conduct, Statutory Rape, Rape, Prostitution, Solicitation, Pornography, and Sodomy.
A violation rising across the nation is Internet Solicitation of Minors. You may have seen this on the popular show on Dateline NBC, “To Catch a Predator.”
Not only do the Los Angeles Criminal Courts deal very harshly with sex offenders in terms of ordering very severe sentences, but most of these violations require the convicted individual to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code §290.
Note that this lifetime requirement can have severe consequences for the person convicted and their family. It can damage that person's personal, social, and business life.
Sex Crimes are a susceptible area of the law. These cases must be handled with the utmost care and highest regard for attention.
If you have been charged or under investigation for a sex crime, please call the Hedding Law Firm to set up an appointment for a free consultation at no obligation so we can review your pending case and give you the best legal advice on how to move forward.
We have over 75 years of combined experience with the State court system throughout the Los Angeles County and San Fernando Valley area. This means we know the judges, have worked with prosecutors, and know all the angles for you.
What is a Conspiracy To Commit A Sex Crime?
When the prosecutors, police, and judges talk about a conspiracy to commit a sex crime, they usually talk about two or more people getting together to achieve some sex crime.
I've seen several cases where women have been drugged and raped by multiple people. This is one area where the prosecutors could charge a conspiracy because some of the players say they didn't have to do with all of the acts that were the crime related to the alleged victim.
However, if they were part of an agreement to commit some sex act against somebody and that sex act was illegal against the person's will – nonconsensual – they could be charged as a co-conspirator, even though they might not have done all of the actions related to the offense.
For example, if somebody drugged the individual and then all the parties took part in the rape, it wouldn't just be the person who drugged the individual guilty; it would be all the people if they were part of the conspiracy.
In other words, they knew that the person would be drugged, or even if they didn't see, the person would be drugged. Still, by the facts and circumstances, they should have reasonably known that the person had been drugged and a crime was being perpetrated against that person's will.
Why Prosecutors Use Conspiracy Charges in California
This conspiracy allegation allows the prosecutors to do in sex crime cases – in many cases in Los Angeles – to capture more people. In other words, it says when people conspire to commit crimes, they're much more dangerous than somebody operating alone – whether it be a violent felony or some other misdemeanor conduct. Sometimes people conspire to fight somebody else, beat the person up, then they're charged with conspiracy.
But when it comes to sex crime offenses in the crime of conspiracy, then obviously, that's much more serious. Depending on what they conspired to do, the person will typically be looking at the prison and possibly registering as a sex offender.
So, there's no such crime as just conspiracy all by itself. You have to be conspiring to do something illegal, and one person can't conspire. It has to be more than one person; obviously, they would charge the one person involved with the crime.
They use this conspiracy concept to capture more than one person in the offense; that way, the prosecutors can charge multiple people, not just one person. They can attribute numerous individuals' actions to the entire group.
Of course, one of the critical things when it comes to conspiracy to commit a sex crime in Los Angeles is they will have to establish the evidence that proves there's some agreement.
Most of the people who might be involved in a conspiracy or a sex crime conspiracy are not going to want to talk and admit anything to the prosecutors, but when they get one person that's part of the conspiracy or one person who is a witness to the meeting of a plot.
Co-Defendant Testimony Against Other Defendant
I've had several big sex crime conspiracy-related offenses where somebody is arguably part of the conspiracy – they hear about what's happening. They testify in the case but help the prosecutors, so they end up not prosecuting them for the crime.
In these circumstances, even though that person is a co-conspirator, they can testify to establish the agreement if they're not being prosecuted. Once they show the deal, the purpose of the illegal sex crime conspiracy, and who all the players were, the prosecutor has the foundation to prove the crime of conspiracy to commit a sex crime in Los Angeles.
Once they have established a conspiracy, established the agreement, and found who is involved, they have to show what crime they committed and who the victim was and get the victim to testify to who was involved in the conspiracy.
Sometimes victims of sex crimes don't know who was involved in a conspiracy or illegal activity related to them, either because they are drugged, incapacitated, had too much alcohol, can't see, or are being held down. All sorts of different scenarios can occur regarding these sex crime conspiracy cases.
Sometimes, it is tough for the prosecutors to prove these cases because they don't have all the necessary evidence.
Fighting Case vs. Negotiating a Plea Bargain
So, if you're charged or a loved one of yours is accused of a sex crime and the prosecutors are alleging a conspiracy, you're going to want to get a sophisticated criminal defense attorney who is familiar with these types of cases – who knows how to defend them, who knows how to strategize them, who knows when the prosecutors have a good point, and they're going to be able to prove it and who knows when a claim is defensible. The defense can prevail at a jury trial.
When you're talking about jury trials and sex conspiracy-related offenses, obviously you want to make sure that if a person is going to go to test that they make the right decision, because if you make the wrong decision in those types of cases, you can end up with a much more severe sentence and a much harsher penalty than you usually could have if you would have worked out a resolution.
That's why having an attorney who knows these types of sex crime conspiracy charges can help you decide from the beginning whether to fight the case or try to negotiate a plea bargain is necessary right from the start. When you meet with your attorney, you set out the guidelines for how you will be defended, the best course of action, and your specific circumstances.
Sex Crime or Sexual Harassment?
There's a very interesting distinction between sex crime offenses that are prosecuted criminally in California and those that are just merely sexual harassment.
The dividing line seems that a sex crime is when somebody touches another person in an impermissible manner on their private part. Also, sex crimes can include looking at somebody in a certain way – like setting up a camera in a bathroom, for example. Sexual harassment is a little bit different.
That's when you put some pressure on somebody impermissibly. That's a civil offense where you're trying to get them to do something sexually and take advantage of them, usually in the workplace.
There are situations where someone does something that is sexual harassment and a sex crime. For example, when somebody in an office situation touches a fellow worker or someone under them – their superior inappropriately touch them and tries to get them to do something sexual. Otherwise, they'll lose their job.
Under those circumstances, that would be a sex crime because of the impermissible touching. It would also be sexual harassment because the person is in a position of authority. They're trying to get some of the exploitation of the person and threatening them related to their job.
So, this whole thing about sexual harassment coming out on the news right now as I write this post is a crime. It depends on what the circumstances were.
It happens all the time in Hollywood with celebrities, some director or producer, or somebody in a position of authority trying to get actresses or even actors to do something sexually to further their career. This is not necessarily a crime. It depends on the facts and circumstances and the totality of the case when discussing the difference between sexual harassment and sex crime.
Los Angeles County Special Task Force
So, the District Attorney's office in LA County has set up a special task force related to sex crimes and sexual harassment. With all the news lately about sex crimes and sexual harassment in LA County, the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, has set up a particular unit to deal with these cases as they come flooding in. But these guys are brilliant.
They know what their marching orders are. They know when they can prove that a case is a crime, and they know when they can prove what is not a crime, so they're going to do their investigation.
They're going to see if they have witnessed, and they're going to assess and see whether or not a sex crime has occurred versus sexual harassment. If it's sexual harassment, then the person will be dealt with civilly. They can be sued.
The person who is sexually harassed can get civil damages against them and other remedies like a restraining order if they feel the person has harassed them. They need to be restrained from coming within a hundred yards of them.
Suppose, on the other hand; someone has touched somebody in an impermissible manner. In that case, the LA County District Attorney's office will file a sex crime charge against them depending on what they did – sexual battery, for example – there are all sorts of crimes that can be charged related to impermissible unlawful sexual touching of another person.
So, suppose you're on the bubble as far as is the case a sex crime or is the case a situation where it's just merely sexual harassment. In that case, you will want to talk to an attorney. You're going to make sure that you do not give any statements to the police because your account can fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle in a sexual harassment case to make it a sex crime case.
So, it is never a good idea to speak to the police about sex crimes or even sexual harassment where you're facing monetary damages.
You want to use your attorney. Let your attorney advise you. Let your attorney talk to the police. Let your attorney set the strategy for you. Hence, you put yourself in the best position to either not get prosecuted for a sex crime or sued for sexual harassment in the first place, and if you are under investigation – if you are going to be charged – don't help the prosecutors by stating the police that can later be used against you.
This happens all the time in sex crime cases and sexual harassment cases. It's one of the chief pieces of evidence that the prosecutors use to prosecute somebody in an LA sex crime case.
Finding an Attorney Immediately is the Way to Move Forward
It is critically important for you to have an experienced and seasoned attorney assess your case as early as possible. Early intervention by our professional criminal defense team allows you to potentially reduce or dismiss a felony or misdemeanor charge against you before the first court date. We have done this in the past and know how to fight for you to get your life back!
Please feel free to call for a no-obligation free consultation in our office so that we can assess your case and choose how best to defend and resolve your case.
A serious sex offender is one whose offense falls under the category of a felony sex offense committed against an adult. These sex offenders must be registered in their community and are generally not expected to re-commit a sex offense.
A civilian who falls under this category is considered a severe threat to the public, a sexual predator, and someone who has committed multiple violent sex crimes. These include people not required to register and have spousal rape, pornography, indecent exposure, misdemeanor sexual battery, or minors convicted in juvenile court.