Allegations of sexual misconduct are some of the most serious allegations one can face—and with good reason. Our society tends to place a high weight on sexual crimes and violations, which is useful in protecting people from harm. Though the public sphere may be quick to judge a suspect in a sexual misconduct case, the legal system is still built on the presumption of innocence. This ensures that someone accused of sexual misconduct is not automatically found guilty. An accusation against that person must be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.
What Does ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Mean?
Rather than a specific offense, sexual misconduct is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of crimes of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct can include any of the following charges:
- lewd behavior
- date rape
- spousal rape
- statutory rape with a partner too young to give legal consent
- child sexual abuse
- child molestation
- soliciting a prostitute
- sexual harassment
- rape or sexual assault
- sexual battery or unwanted contact
- indecent exposure
- possession, distribution, or sale of child pornography
Potential Penalties Of A Sexual Misconduct Conviction
Since there are so many different crimes that can fall under the umbrella of sexual misconduct, punishments vary on a wide spectrum. That said, there is often a mandatory sentence of jail or prison time that must be meted out by a judge if you are convicted of a sexual crime. This means that even the most lenient judge will be forced to allot at least a minimum amount of jail time. With such serious consequences on the horizon, it is always a good idea to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you represent yourself in court and avoid a conviction, if possible.
Sexual misconduct charges can be tried as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the specifics of each case. If convicted, you may face some of the following penalties.
- A misdemeanor conviction can result in a maximum of one year in county jail and a fine.
- A felony conviction can result in a minimum of 16 months in the state prison system as well as heftier fines in the $10,000 range.
- In many cases, registration as a sex offender is a condition of conviction. This can be for a limited time or for life, and failure to do so can cause serious consequences.
- If the sexual misconduct involved the use of force or went on for an extended period of time, it is possible to receive a sentence of life in prison.
Basic Defense Advice
Though the presumption of innocence is still the legal norm in a sexual misconduct case, a suspect’s actions can still influence the opinions of law enforcement and the court. It is important to conduct yourself in certain ways when in the presence of the police. Talking to the police is almost always a mistake. If police are questioning you for a sexual misconduct accusation, do not answer their questions. Ask to have a lawyer present. However, do follow all of their instructions and do not resist an arrest. It is often the case that an innocent person will want to talk to the police and argue for their innocence. However, the police are tasked with gathering evidence against a person, and even an innocent person can inadvertently draw suspicion simply by talking without an experienced criminal defense attorney present.
How Can An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
Contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the most important step in defending yourself from a sexual misconduct allegation. Unfortunately, false accusations are not uncommon. Even though you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, the stigma of an accusation can stay with you regardless of a conviction. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you in the following ways:
- They can gather evidence from specialists to backup your side of the story.
- They can use their knowledge to attack flimsy evidence used by the prosecution.
- They can talk with the prosecuting attorney to have the charges dropped for lack of evidence.
- They can ask the judge to dismiss the case because of a lack of evidence.
- They can aggressively defend you in court in order to have a sentence reduced or a charge dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Simmrin Law Group features the work of highly experienced criminal defense attorneys who can protect your rights and ensure that the court remembers you are innocent until proven guilty. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, fill out the form on the right of this page or call (310)-997-4688 to receive a FREE consultation on your case.