Sex Crimes Lawyer Utah
Sex crimes are perhaps the most severely sentenced throughout the country. Victims of sexual assault, rape, criminal sexual conduct, and the like almost always experience significant trauma, which can affect the rest of their lives. But what happens to those who are falsely accused of sex crimes? A sex crimes lawyer Utah residents rely on can help defend against these charges.
Is Defending Against a Misdemeanor Sex Crime Worth Time and Effort?
If you’ve been accused of a sex offense – whether that offense is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor – it is time to connect with a skilled sex crimes lawyer Utah residents trust. As the dedicated legal team at Pacific Legal Group can confirm, all too often, those who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing fail to take immediate steps to protect their rights because they have been charged with a so-called “lesser crime.” This is a mistake that you won’t want to make.
While it is true that those who are convicted of felonies risk longer sentences of incarceration than those who are convicted of misdemeanor offenses, misdemeanor sex crime convictions remain serious business. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense, you will likely risk up to a year in jail, steep fines, a term of probation, and other immediate sentencing consequences. But perhaps even more pressing is the reality that conviction of any kind of sex crime carries a serious stigma and can affect your life in a variety of consequential ways.
For example, a sex crime conviction could lead a family law judge to believe that you are no longer fit to act in your children’s best interests and your custody arrangements could be affected as a result. Anyone seeking to hire you for a job, who is in a position to make a decision about financing, housing, higher education, and even volunteer opportunities may stereotype you and limit your opportunities due to your criminal record.
As a result, avoiding a conviction for a misdemeanor sex offense is unquestionably worth your time and effort. A sex offense is not like a speeding ticket. People won’t laugh off the reality that you were once convicted of a sex crime. Acting immediately to protect your rights and legal options by speaking with an attorney is squarely in your best interests.
Hiring Someone to Protect Your Rights
The prospect of meeting with a Utah sex crimes lawyer can be an intimidating reality. Know that at the Pacific Legal Group, our attorneys are not here to judge you. It is our job to aggressively advocate on behalf of your rights while providing you with compassionate, respectful legal representation. We believe that every person who has been accused of criminal wrongdoing deserves to have legal representation that is skilled, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and dedicated. If you choose to work with a Utah sex crimes lawyer at our firm, you will benefit from the kind of representation that everyone deserves by the simple virtue of their humanity.
Know that when you have questions, we’ll answer them. We’ll also work proactively to ensure that you’re informed of developments in your case as it evolves. Our team believes in transparency and communication. When your future and your freedom are on the line, you deserve nothing less.
Classifications and Sentences
Sex crime laws are extensive and detailed, as befits such dangerous and destructive crimes. These crimes can be charged from a minor misdemeanor up to a serious felony. For example, a relatively minor crime such as public indecency is typically a minor misdemeanor, but multiple convictions will make it a serious felony. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500, while a felony can carry a sentence of up to $25,000 in fines, plus one to three years in state prison.
Criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse are both felonies, even though standard assault is usually a misdemeanor in most states – the sexual component is the difference that elevates these offenses to felonies, and many would argue justifiably so.
Sexual Abuse, Battery, and Rape
As a sex crimes lawyer Utah defendants trust from Pacific Legal Group can explain, the definition of sexual abuse will vary based on the jurisdiction, but this offense is often defined as any kind of non-consensual contact of a sexual nature. Actions such as molestation, improper touching, and forced sexual intercourse may be considered sexual abuse. Sexual battery is any kind of intentional hitting or touching of a sexual nature against a person’s will and entails the touching of someone in a sexual manner when the contact is not wanted or the victim cannot mentally or physically give consent. This offense includes offenses like folding, forced sexual intercourse, and molestation, and may be equivalent to rape in some states.
Child Molestation and Pornography
Child molestation is a sex offense crime that may include a range of indecent conduct involving a child, typically someone under the age of fourteen, however, different jurisdictions have interpretations of what molestation is. Usually, it is considered to be any sexual interaction between child and adult, as it is illegal for an adult to interact with a child in a lewd manner, even if the child initiated or agreed to the conduct. Consent is not a defense that can be used in court for offenses like these, since a child is not able to legally consent to sexual activity. It is illegal to distribute, produce, or possess pornographic material of minors (those under 18 years of age). A person accused of having child pornography may face federal or state charges for their crime.
Internet Sex Crimes
Sex crimes are no exception to computers, and can include luring a minor, child pornography, or committing other offenses of a sexual nature on the internet. Sex crimes committed on the computer tend to be harshly prosecuted and can result in a state or federal prison sentence, fines, sex offender registration, probation, and other penalties. As a Utah sex crimes lawyer knows, being classified as someone who committed a sexual offense can cause the accused to have a damaged reputation, make it harder for them to obtain employment, find a place to live, and even be approved for certain loans.
In most jurisdictions across the nation, it is illegal to engage in prostitution. The one exception to this rule is the state of Nevada, where it is legal in specific counties. But even in these approved areas, there are strict regulations. By definition, prostitution is the act of exchanging money for sexual interactions. Even the attempt of offering money for sexual acts can result in an arrest for prostitution and charges being filed. A person who offers money for sexual acts, a person who offers sexual acts for money, or a person who acts as a middleman for sexual exchanges can be charged with a crime.
Anyone that causes alarm or offense by intentionally exposing their breasts or genitalia in public may be charged with indecent exposure. Indecent exposure may be motivated by the intent to cause stimulation or shock in others, or for personal arousal. This includes exposing oneself while visiting another’s home, private property, or other area depending on the circumstances. An offense of this nature is deemed a sex crime, so the offender will have to register themselves as being convicted of this offense. The laws for indecent exposure do not apply to breastfeeding or where nudity is allowed (such as at places reserved for adult entertainment or nude beaches).
If you were accused of committing any of these sex crimes listed above, or something else, we suggest contacting our Utah lawyer sex crimes team from Pacific Legal Group immediately for counsel.
If You Are Accused
Being accused of a sex crime is no small matter. If one elects to take a plea or is found guilty, the punishments are severe in the majority of states, not just in terms of prison sentencing, but post-sentencing requirements. Not only does the social stigma of being a sex offender follow one around, but the practical issues also associated with such a status can be prohibitive.
For example, in many states, registered sex offenders may not reside within certain geographic areas close to schools or businesses which cater to children, such as daycare centers – this can impact the offender’s ability to find housing at all. Some employers refuse to hire those with sex crime convictions.
If one finds themselves accused of a sex crime they did not commit, the most important suggestion as to conduct is to demand a Utah sex crimes lawyer before saying anything. Sex crime cases are always significant, and it is more likely that a law enforcement official will try to obtain a confession than in other varieties of alleged criminal conduct. A person must be informed of the charges against them, but they may not be informed of small details, and as such, any improvised statement could prove damaging to their statements of innocence. The best chance one has is to remain silent and attempt to prove one’s innocence at trial, with a competent criminal defense lawyer leading the way.
Contact a Utah Criminal Defense Law Firm
Being unjustly accused of any crime can be utterly terrifying. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assuage some of the understandable fear one might feel. Pacific Legal Group stands ready to work with you to ensure the most appropriate possible outcome. Contact our office today to set up an initial consultation with a Utah sex crimes lawyer.
Defending Against Sex Crimes Charges
A sex crimes lawyer Utah clients recommend knows that all criminal charges need to be taken seriously, however, offenses classified as sex crimes can be especially dire. A conviction of a sexual offense, such as child pornography possession or sexual assault, not only can impact your freedom, but the stigma of being a convicted sex offender will stay with you the rest of your life since many of these crimes carry a mandatory requirement of being listed on the sex offender registry for life. Anyone charged with a sexual offense should contact a skilled lawyer who has extensive experience in defending against sex crimes from the Pacific Legal Group immediately.
While these charges are serious ones, it does not automatically mean you will be convicted. A skilled sex crimes lawyer will investigate your case and look for challenges to the prosecutor’s case. The following are some of the most common ways this can be accomplished.
Suppression of Evidence
If the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence, it will be difficult to make their case to the jury “beyond a reasonable doubt.” With this in mind, your Utah sex crimes lawyer knows that you have constitutional rights that law enforcement must adhere to. One of these rights falls under the Fourth Amendment – the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This means that if police collected evidence without obtaining the proper warrants or failed to follow other legal requirements to collect evidence, your lawyer can request the court throw out that evidence. In many cases, if key evidence is suppressed by the judge, the charges end up getting dismissed because of insufficient evidence.
In addition to the proper collection of evidence, there are other requirements the police must follow when investigating a case. One common tactic used by police in certain sex crime arrests is to entrap the defendant. Entrapment means that if it were not for the police act of providing the “avenue” for the defendant to break the law, the defendant would never have committed the act.
In many sex crimes cases, the prosecution hinges much of their case on witness testimony. However, not every witness is a credible one or they may have an ulterior motive. They may lie because they think they are helping out a friend or family member or they may lie in order to get revenge for some perceived grievance they have against the defendant.
Whatever the situation, a skilled sex crimes lawyer can poke holes in a witness’s testimony, revealing weakness, doubts, or outright lies. Exposing those lies often creates enough doubt for the jury when it comes to deliberating the defendant’s guilt.
What does “invoking my right to counsel” mean?
It has happened: you have been arrested for a sex crime and are being interrogated by the police. What do you do? Should you say anything? Do you have to answer the questions asked by the police? How do you ask to speak to your Utah sex crimes lawyer?
Under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution, you have the right to have an attorney present at an interrogation conducted by police. However, many people are not sure how they are supposed to invoke their right to counsel and end up saying the wrong thing, which enables the police to continue the interrogation without your attorney present.
What should I do if I’m arrested?
If you are arrested for a crime of which you have been accused, law enforcement officials in every jurisdiction are required to read you your Miranda Rights. Miranda Rights stem from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and inform the accused of his right to remain silent and to invoke counsel.
It is very important to note that there are specific requirements in invoking your right to counsel. When you choose to invoke counsel, your request must be sufficiently clear so that an officer can understand your request. This means that you must say, “I need to speak to my lawyer,” or “I want to speak to my lawyer.” Statements like, “Maybe I should call an attorney,” or “I think I should speak to my attorney,” may not be treated as sufficiently clear, and your request could fall by the wayside.
What happens after I’ve invoked my Fifth Amendment right?
Once you have clearly asked to speak to your Utah sex crimes lawyer, all interrogation by police must cease. This Fifth Amendment right to counsel is not offense specific, which means that as soon as you have asked to speak to your attorney, the police are no longer allowed to speak to you about any crimes of which you may be suspected until your attorney is present.
It is also important to mention that if a friend or family member calls a lawyer on your behalf without your knowledge, and that lawyer shows up to speak to you, and you have not yet unequivocally asked to speak with a lawyer, the police are not required under the Constitution to tell you that a lawyer has arrived for you on your behalf.
What are the differences between Your Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to counsel?
The Fifth Amendment right to counsel attaches as soon as you request to speak to your attorney when you are initially being interrogated by law enforcement. As soon as you ask to have your attorney present all questions from law enforcement officials must cease until your Utah sex crimes lawyer arrives.
The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is an express constitutional guarantee and attaches when the defendant is formally charged, and not upon arrest. Once an attorney is appointed to a defendant, his Sixth Amendment right applies at all critical stages of prosecution that take place after the filing of formal charges, meaning that your attorney must be present for arraignment, probable cause hearings, and police interrogations.
Unlike the Fifth Amendment, which is not offense specific, the Sixth Amendment is offense specific. This means that the right only applies to crimes where the defendant is formally charged and provides no protection for uncounseled interrogations for other uncharged criminal activities. Therefore, if you are charged with a crime and you have court-appointed counsel, and the police wish to speak with you about another crime, you must invoke your Fifth Amendment right to counsel.
The Differences Between Fifth And Sixth Amendment Right To Counsel Infographic
Contact Our Office Today
If you have been arrested and charged with a sexual offense, do not delay in calling the Pacific Legal Group immediately. The quicker your Utah sex crimes lawyer can begin building a defense against these charges, the better your chances are for a positive outcome. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.