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Sex Crime FAQs
Being accused of a crime or facing a criminal charge can be an unnerving experience. Particularly if you are charged with a sex crime there are likely many questions and concerns that arise. You will have questions about your rights and the potential range of outcomes for your case. Every case and every situation is different. It is essential that you consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in the defense of sex crimes to assist in your defense and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. However, these are some answers to some common questions that often arise in these types of cases.
There are a multitude of offenses that may be considered sex crimes under Massachusetts law. These offenses can range from the most serious of charges such as aggravated rape, rape, rape of a child, sex trafficking and other serious offenses, to relatively more minor but still significant charges such as open and gross lewdness, prostitution, indecent exposure and possession of obscene material.
If you are charged with a sex crime, even a relatively minor offense, these charges should be taken very seriously as they can have very significant consequences. You should consult with an attorney experienced in the defense of such crimes immediately so that you can begin developing the best possible defense and working toward the most favorable disposition for such a case.
Statutory rape is defined under M.G.L. c. 265 section 23 as sexual intercourse, or unnatural sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 16. Genuine mistake or ignorance about the age of the minor is not a defense to a charge of statutory rape. Further, even if you yourself are a teenager you can still be convicted of statutory rape if you have sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 16.
The age of consent for participation in sexual activity in Massachusetts is 16 years old.
The penalties will vary greatly depending on what you are charged with and the nature of those charges. For instance, for a conviction of aggravated rape you may face life imprisonment. For indecent assault and battery charges you may face up to five years in state prison for your first offense. While even less serious charges such as open and gross lewdness may carry sentences of up to three years in prison. As such when you are charged with any sex offense you are facing serious consequences including lengthy prison sentences, fees and fines, a criminal records and registration as a sex offender. That is why it is so important that you take these charges seriously and hire an experienced attorney to represent you.
Sex crimes can unfortunately carry with them a high rate or false accusations and wrongful convictions. As such, it is essential to hire an experienced and zealous attorney who will help you determine your best defense against these charges. This may include conducting independent investigation to reveal an accusers illicit motives and false accusations. Challenging evidence through motions to suppress. Obtaining expert witnesses to review the evidence and testify at trial and exposing tainted or fabricated evidence obtained by the Commonwealth and its witnesses.
Once the case is arraigned in district court the charge will appear on your criminal record. How long the case stays on your record and eligibility to have your record sealed will depend on a number of factors including the ultimate disposition of the case. Sex offenses generally are subject to longer waiting periods and certain offenses may be ineligible for sealing.
A conviction for most sex offenses, even those considered less serious in nature, will require registration with the Sex Offender Registry Board. There may be very limited circumstances under which a court could grant relief from registration for certain offenders. Additionally, there may be possible dispositions short of a conviction that could help to avoid the registration requirement. These types of dispositions would vary depending on the charges and the offender’s history and as such it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney about your options when you are facing sex crimes charges.
The duration and conditions of the registration will vary depending on the nature of the offense and the offender’s criminal history. Generally speaking an adult convicted of a single, non-violent sex offense will have to register with the Sex Offender Registry Board for a minimum of 20 years from the date of conviction or date of release from custody or supervision, whichever comes last. For adults convicted of two or more offenses or violent sex offenses you may be required to register for life.
When you are convicted of a sex offense requiring registration your case will be reviewed by the Board and you will be given a hearing to determine your required level of registration. Registration classification is broken down into three levels: Level 1 being the least serious, Level 2, and Level 3 being the most serious. These levels will be determined based on a variety of factors such as the charges, the nature of the offense, the offender’s history and the likelihood of re-offense. The level designation determines what your registration requirements will be.
Who will have access to your record of registration as a sex offender depends on whether you are designated as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 offender. For instance, as a Level 1 offender you must mail in your registration to the board annually but there is no public dissemination of your registration. As a Level 2 offender you must register in person at your local police station and there will be some public dissemination, including internet dissemination for those convicted after July 2013. As a Level 3 offender you will also be required to register in person at the local police station and there will be widespread public and internet dissemination.
If you are convicted of a sex offense requiring registration there is very little opportunity to avoid the registration requirement. However there may be some options for obtaining a favorable disposition that would not be considered a conviction and therefore would not require registration. Additionally, if you have been required to register following a conviction there may be an opportunity to petition the Board for early termination of your registration requirements. An attorney experienced in sex crimes representation can assist you with these matters.
If you are required to register and you fail to do so, you can be charged with the crime of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender pursuant to M.G.L. c. 6 section 178H. You can likewise be charged with this offense for failing to update your address, your place of employment or failing to verify information. If you are convicted of this offense you could face a minimum of 6 months and up to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction or up to 5 years in State prison. You also may face community parole supervision for life.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman Will Aggressively Defend Against Your Sex Crime Charge
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has over twenty years experience defending clients like you against all variety of sex crimes. Stephen Neyman understands the seriousness of your sex crime charge and will begin mounting your defense immediately. After the initial client interview, our legal team and our investigative team will work tirelessly to expose the flaws in the district attorney’s case, conduct independent investigation and prepare a strong defense. We will do whatever is required to prove our client’s innocence. Call The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman today at (617) 263-6800 to schedule your initial consultation.