When you're talking about a sex crime case, obviously most people are concerned with what the potential pitfalls are and a lot of what I'm about to go over is obviously on their mind if they know about it. If they don't know about it, this is definitely a good read because it gives you some good things to think about.
Sex Offender Registration
#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 register as a sex offender, obviously 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 find that and people who work with you if they do the right search and do the right investigations.
So, obviously, you don't want to register as a sex offender if you can avoid it. I would say that better than 90% of the sex crimes that could potentially be filed against somebody, you have to register as a sex offender. So, you can see most of the sex crimes are registerable offenses.
There are a very small 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 is going to have to plead guilty or no-contest, there's a very short list of sex crimes to choose from.
There are other crimes that could be inserted in 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 a lot of times they are 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, and then there's 20-year list where people would have to register for twenty years if they got convicted 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 the less severe sex crimes.
So, that's definitely 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, obviously, that people want to avoid is prison, and a lot of sex crimes do carry prison with them. Obviously, going to prison for a sex-related offense is a very dangerous thing, especially if fellow prisoners can find out about that, a lot of 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. A lot of the sex crimes and the more serious sex crimes could be punished by prison or probation. Again, depending on what your lawyer is able to negotiate for you.
If you're going to end up pleading guilty to a sex-related offense, obviously when we're doing this list here, we're talking about people who are going to have to plead guilty.
Some people don't want to plead guilty. They're going to fight their case all the way and if they're successful and found not guilty then 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 if you get any new offenses moving forward, you would be a second offender.
You would be subject to your charge being more serious because you could get your punishment doubled pursuant to the Three Strikes Law of California, so avoiding a strike is definitely something you want to try to do if you're charged with a sex crime in Los Angeles.
#4. Inexperienced Attorney: I would say 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 just have the big money so they're able to get on the internet but they've never handled a sex crime case before or they have very little experience handling sex crime cases.
Obviously, avoiding an inexperienced criminal defense attorney when you're charged with a sex crime case is important and you've definitely 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 judgement and thinking you're guilty and completely guilty.
A lot of times people have defenses, and even if they don't have defenses, it's not exactly the circumstance that the police have painted because they haven't done a full investigation in the case, and obviously, 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 having to deal with a witness who has a motive to lie, because a lot of times people will claim someone was involved in some sort of a sex-related offense and they have a motive to 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's 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, obviously your attorney is going to want to effectively cross-examine that person and show their motive to lie to the finder of fact — whether that be a judge or a jury.
Unfair Prosecution and Going to Trial
#7. Unfair Prosecutor: The next thing you obviously want to avoid is an unfair prosecutor. There's all sorts of different prosecutors.
There's good ones; there's not so good ones; there's middle of the road prosecutors, just like there is defense attorneys and judges and people in general.
But, if you've got an unfair prosecutor you want to use your attorney to try to either get around that prosecutor or point out that that prosecutor's being unfair 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 who's 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. A lot of 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're going to have to do is go to trial, and you don't want to go to trial if you're going to lose.
Because if you go to trial and you lose, you then lose control over your case. You lose control over your sentence. You lose control over your fate.
So, don't be fooled into going into 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 being fair. You do 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 upon.
Not Considering All Options and Losing Hope
#9. Not Considering All Options: Another thing you want to avoid is not considering all of your options. Like for example, getting a 288.1 report. This is a report that's done by a psychiatrist.
It's basically 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 if you're thinking about working out a plea bargain with the prosecutors.
You want to make sure that the judge and the prosecutor sees all sides of everything and really gets a good look at you as a person, and the crime, and your involvement and whether or not you really are likely to do something like this again.
A lot of times a good 288.1 report pursuant to that Penal Code Section really puts you in a much stronger position.
#10. Losing Hope: I think the last thing that you want to avoid is losing hope and putting your head down and saying, well I just 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're going to do.
Obviously avoid some of the worse penalties that come along with a sex-related offense. Hire a good attorney.
Hire somebody like me who's going to 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.