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Understanding California Sexual Assault Laws

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Aug 16, 2017


There are many different nuances regarding sex crime law in Los Angeles County.  Each Penal Code Section related to a sex crime attempts to cover an area of law and a factual scenario where someone has committed a sex act against another person or even society in general (related to activities on the Internet).

The first step in understanding a particular law related to a sex crime is to read it and see if it makes sense standing alone.  Most sex laws do make sense on their face.

However, suppose there is confusion about precisely what the law means and how it applies. In that case, there will be court cases that have interpreted that particular law when issues have arose related to it.  

These cases will address exactly how the courts will interpret the particular law and what a criminal defendant should expect the government to prove to convict them of that sex crime.

CALCRIM Jury Instructions

Another area to look at in trying to figure out the meaning of a particular sex crime is the jury instructions that will be used in your case for the jury to decide whether you are guilty or innocent of the subject sex crime.

The Calcrim jury instructions are the ones that are usually used in Los Angeles County, and the Judicial Council of California put them together to give juries, attorneys, and judges guidance in deciding if a person is guilty or not guilty related to a particular sex crime offense.  

These jury instructions break down the elements that the prosecutor must prove to convict someone of a sex crime in California.

Of course, if you want to save yourself time and money and get a more accurate answer, go to an attorney who has defended sex crime cases in the jurisdiction you find yourself in and let them evaluate the circumstances of your case and properly advise you as to how the law might apply to you and your situation.

There is nothing like discussing a particular sex crime offense with an attorney who has defended that type of case in the court where your case is pending.  

They will have the experience and know-how regarding how the prosecutor, judge, and jury will deal with a case like yours and can answer all of your questions and properly advise you on your best moves.

Understanding the tendencies of the judge and prosecutor on your case is crucial regarding the best strategy to employ in your case.  

Some judges are more defense-oriented than others, while others are much more conservative and rarely rule in favor of a criminal defendant.  

If you do not know the lay of the land, you are treading on dangerous ground when it comes to a sex crime and all of the potential punishments that can be doled out that will potentially affect you the rest of your life.

Experienced Defense Lawyer

I see many people trying to figure things out without any legal background or training.  When you combine this with not dealing with the criminal justice system or the people involved with your case, this is a recipe for disaster, and the person can put themselves in the wrong position.

The bottom line is that when your freedom is on the line, find an expert who can answer your questions and begin the process of defending your case the right way, so you do not suffer some of the harsh consequences sex crimes can carry.  

In the nearly 25 years that I have been defending sex crimes, I realize that it takes patience and knowledge to get the right results for my client.  If a defense attorney is not patient and well thought out, mistakes can be made that will negatively affect their client.

When I meet with a client, I make sure that it is clear that if the client does not give me all of the information related to their sex crime case, I will not be in the best position to help them. My representation will be weakened because I do not have all of the necessary details of the case.

This means I need the good, the bad, and the ugly related to the case.  With all of the information, I will not be blinded by the prosecutor or judge as the case progresses.  

In my opinion, the client and the attorney should be working together as a team to achieve the best possible result. Both of us have our best interests at heart and can play a vital role in defense of your case.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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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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