In Los Angeles, CA, several factors determine whether a sex crime will be a felony or a misdemeanor, one of which is what the defendant did. Some offenses related to sex crimes are just straightforward felonies.
For example, if someone raped another person, they would be charged with a felony. Other offenses, however, are considered “wobblers,” meaning that the discretion of the prosecutors and the defendant's prior sex-related criminal history will determine how it will be categorized.
The prosecutors will consider the type of act committed, along with the defendant's standing in the community and the impact on the victim.
Ultimately, they will need to decide whether or not the defendant is a threat to society at large. Based on a three-tiered sex crime system that's gone into effect across California, some sex crimes will require lifetime sex offender registration, and others will only require sex offender registration for a certain period.
How Often Do You Handle Sex Crime Cases That Involve The Use of Drugs or Alcohol?
Many sex crime cases in Los Angeles County involve drugs or alcohol. In some cases, the alleged victim will have used drugs or alcohol during what they allege to have been a sex offense and will wake up the following day feeling as though they had been taken advantage of.
Alternatively, they will wake up and realize that they cannot piece together all of the events that took place the night before. When an alleged victim cannot remember all of the details of an alleged affair, they will be subject to attack, and the defense attorney will have several questions.
If someone can't remember an event, then it will be argued that they could have given consent and simply don't recall doing so.
In most of the cases, I handle in Los Angeles County, drugs or alcohol play a role. Often, the use of common sense will reveal that a sex crime didn't occur at all.
For example, an alleged perpetrator could have been under the impression that the alleged victim had given consent, or an alleged victim could have other reasons (a significant other, loss of inhibition due to drugs or alcohol, etc.) for believing or claiming that they were sexually violated.
That, however, puts the defendant in an unfair position. Ultimately, if two people consensually engaged in sexual acts, and if the parties were 18 years or older, it will be determined that a crime was not committed.
Does Everyone Who Has Been Convicted Of A Sex Crime In California Have To Register In The Sex Offender Registry?
Not every sex crime requires someone to register as a sex offender; this will be determined by the exact charge they plead. Some orders require registration, while others don't, and in some cases, it will be left to the discretion of a judge. If someone is working on a plea bargain, they will have to accept what the prosecutors decide.