Guide to Finding a Sex Crimes Attorney
Being accused of a serious crime such as those involving sexual assault requires the hiring of an attorney that is well-versed in the United States laws surrounding these types of issues. Sex crimes include rape and sodomy, or forcible sexual assault. They also encompass non-forcible sexual assault, such as that which is perpetrated on a person who is unable to consent, such as with children and youth, or those who are physically or mentally handicapped. Statutory rape is one sex crime allegation faced by some who unknowingly have sexual relations with a person who is under the age of 18.
Other sex crimes include child pornography in its various formats, including viewing or possessing lewd, sexually explicit material, such as internet videos, pictures or websites as well as magazines or books. There can be some grey area with regard to what constitutes child pornography or whether the material was obtained willingly or unintentionally. The long-term impact of being convicted of this crime is quite extensive, including being registered on a state’s sex offender’s list, which is accessible by the public. Allegations of this type of sex crime require the immediate use of services by a qualified attorney.
Depending upon where you live, there may also be laws against fornication, which is sex between unmarried persons, and adultery, that is, sex with anyone other than a person’s spouse. Many states have done away with these archaic laws due to modern arguments regarding the issue of consent and rights to privacy. Although no longer enforced in many states, the act of consensual sodomy may also be included in the category of sex crimes.
What are the repercussions for being convicted?
There are serious repercussions for being convicted of a sex crime. For example, you may be facing the reality of jail time and/or registration as a sexual perpetrator. Simply being convicted of a sex crime felony would likely affect your ability to retain gainful employment. Being registered as a sex offender would impact your ability to find a place to live. Potential landlords typically do a background check to determine your qualifications to be a tenant and would not usually accept such a charge in your criminal background check. They would be more likely to consider the reservation that neighbors would have to living near a convicted sex offender and would refuse to rent housing to such an individual. There is also informal pressure within neighborhoods to oust a perceived criminal from living there. The sentiment that sex offenders cannot be trusted is popular. Therefore, retaining a qualified attorney to defend you is essential to your long-term wellbeing.
How Can I Qualify An Attorney Before Using His Services?
Not all attorneys would be qualified to defend someone who is accused of sex crimes. These types of allegations are complicated and require the careful insight of an attorney who has had previous experience dealing with these allegations. When interviewing a prospective attorney, you should ascertain how many cases he has successfully resolved in his past professional experience. If a prospective attorney has no experience with criminal defense, it would be unlikely that he could successfully help you with your particular problem. Finding a suitable attorney may take some time and more than one consultation.
Don’t be afraid to ask potential attorneys all of the questions you have regarding your case prior to hiring him. Be sure to bring with you all of the relevant information and documentation that would be needed for the attorney to fully represent you. Now is not the time to be embarrassed and withhold relevant information regarding the charges made against you. Be forthcoming with all the facts so that the attorney will be prepared to interact with the law-enforcement professionals who are involved with your case.
What if I cannot afford to hire an attorney?
In the event that you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you will have a criminal defense attorney, known as a public defender, assigned to defend you in your case. These attorneys are hired by the United States government to zealously defend those accused of crimes. You should expect the same quality of services by such an attorney, although his pay is distributed directly by the government.
What if I am still convicted of a sex crime?
Since sex crimes are considered felonies, the implications for your future are extensive. You may be facing significant jail time, if your attorney is unable to help. Your loss of freedom is the ultimate punishment for any crime. Even if jail time is averted, there will still be consequences to consider for this conviction. The existence of the states’ registries for sex offenders serves as a major obstacle in being able to live your life without harassment and discrimination. These registries are often internet-based, so that it is easy and convenient for those in your community to locate your name and photo.
There are many arguments for and against this registry, which are still being debated. Those who are in favor of the registry argue that those who are offenders convicted of sex crimes cannot be rehabilitated to safely re-enter society, and it is fair to the community at large to have access to information about who is living nearby. There is a concern that children and others who may be vulnerable must be protected.
Others who are opposed to the registry concept argue that those who have been convicted of a crime and who have served their time or completed their punishment should not continue to be punished for the same offense. Opponents of the registry also argue that even convicted felons should have a right to their privacy. However, the registries still exist since it is viewed that the safety of the public is paramount to the expectations of privacy of the convicted individual.
Advice for those accused of sex crimes
Request the services of an attorney immediately if you find yourself in any legal circumstances and do not discuss your case with anyone prior to a consultation. This is the best way to protect yourself from any long-term effects of a scenario where you may potentially be identified as a sexual perpetrator. Allegations of sex crimes are very serious and should be treated as such. Securing a qualified attorney is the best defense against such allegations.