Berkeley Sex Crimes Lawyer
Criminal accusations or convictions that are sexual in nature have far-reaching consequences. Not only will could you face fines and time behind bars in prison, but a criminal history of sex crimes may permanently tarnish your reputation and leave your business, social, and familial relationships devastated.
Fortunately, you could combat these adverse outcomes by seeking the advice of a Berkeley sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Our experienced defense attorneys frequently represent people in such matters and dedicate themselves to protecting the rights of the accused and demanding justice.
Sexual Offenses in Berkeley
Sex crimes is an umbrella term for numerous unlawful behaviors related to illegal sexual activities. Rape (defined at California Penal Code §§ 261 – 264) and prostitution offenses may be some of the most common sex crimes that people are charged with. In addition, a long list of other sex-related conduct can land someone into trouble with the law. Other common charges include indecent exposure under Cal. Penal Code § 314, sexual battery under Cal. Penal Code § 243.4, and committing lewd acts in public at Cal. Penal Code § 647(a).
The law establishes separate crimes for indecent behaviors involving children, such as:
- Manufacture, possession, or distribution of child pornography
- Unlawful intercourse with a minor
- Child molestation
- Lewd acts involving minors
- Sexting with a minor
Any of these transgressions can subject the accused to severe punishments and collateral consequences. With the help of a seasoned sex crimes lawyer familiar with the California criminal justice system, those accused may avoid the harshest of penalties.
Misdemeanors Versus Felonies
As identified in Cal. Penal Code § 16, California categorizes criminal activity into felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Sex crimes fall into either the felony or misdemeanor grouping, not infractions. Examples of straight misdemeanor offenses include acts of public lewdness and loitering with the intent of engaging in prostitution. Felony offenses are more serious and include rape and sodomy. In both instances, it is a crime if any party does not consent to the sexual act.
Some sexual offenses are called “wobblers”, which means that the prosecutor has the right to pursue the matter as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The facts of the case, prior criminal record, and other aggravating or mitigating circumstances will factor into what they determine to be the final charge. However, even if the prosecutor decides to bring felony counts, Cal. Penal Code § 17 gives the court the option to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor during sentencing, when granting probation, or if the defendant requests the change after completing probation.
Regardless of the level of the charge, all sex crimes expose defendants to jail time, fines, and the label of a sex offender. In order to avoid or at least minimize the negative impact of these charges, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Berkeley criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled sex crime cases previously.
When Does Someone Have to Register as a Sex Offender?
Many sex crimes convictions require individuals to register with the State as a sex offender under “Megan’s Law”, found at Cal. Penal Code § 290. This list compiles the addresses, criminal convictions, and photos of all registered sex offenders. It is readily available to the public, including prospective employers. Being on this list may significantly impair a person’s prospects for employment, education, housing, and other opportunities to move forward with their life.
Sex crimes lawyers understand the ramifications of convictions and inclusion on the sex offender list. By selecting a knowledgeable, dedicated local attorney familiar with sex-related offenses, defendants may be able to avoid becoming yet another name on the registry.
Seek Representation from a Berkeley Sex Crimes Attorney
Your whole world may be turned upside down if you are the subject of a sex crime investigation, or worse yet, convicted. To put yourself on the best path to a favorable resolution, contact our talented Berkeley sex crimes lawyers. They understand that discretion in these cases is as important as the need to fight the charges vigorously, and will do everything they can to support you during this trying time.