California Added a New Sex Offense to the Penal Code – How to Defend These and Similar Charges
A criminal conviction is a black mark that can follow a person for the rest of his/her life, especially if the conviction is related to a sex offense. California has a long list of crimes that it designates under this category, and imposes particularly onerous and long-lasting punishments with the thought of making examples of these individuals. Having an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney to argue against charges of this kind is the only realistic way a defendant will escape legal consequences. Making this task a little harder, Governor Brown signed a new law earlier this month that adds another offense to the list of sex crimes a person may face. The law is related to a type of sexual coercion that adults use to intimidate teenagers into complying with sexual demands. A discussion of this new offense, and methods of defending against sex crime charges generally, will follow below.
Extortion is traditionally associated with using force or the threat of force to wrongfully obtain possession of property, usually money. Joining four other states in attempting to regulate conduct on the internet, California passed a new law that includes blackmailing someone with the threat of the publication of explicit images to entice the transfer of more explicit images or sexual acts. This new law is in response to a perceived threat of adults posing as teenagers online in order to acquire explicit images. Note that this new offense is only for adults engaging in this type of activity, and not other minors. This is a felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison, and goes into effect in January.
Defenses to Sex Crimes
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to assert convincing defenses throughout the criminal process, and not just during trial. Both before trial and after a conviction, an attorney has opportunities to affect the ultimate outcome, and deciding when and how to fight charges will depend on the circumstances of each case. In the pretrial phase, a defense attorney can file a motion to have evidence suppressed, which can be fatal to the government’s argument if granted. Further, he/she could also convince the prosecutor the case is too weak to bring to trial or the defendant is innocent, with either situation resulting in a dismissal. Additionally, it may be possible to plea to a lesser charge to avoid jail time or registration as a sex offender. During trial, prosecutors are required to prove certain factors before a jury can convict, and a criminal defense attorney can poke holes in the government’s argument, or bring the veracity of key testimony into doubt. If enough uncertainty is introduced into the prosecutor’s claims, the jury could return a not guilty verdict. Finally, if a conviction is the outcome, a defendant can argue for a more lenient sentence based on the existence of mitigating factors. Some examples include:
- the mistaken belief the conduct was legal;
- no prior or minimal criminal history;
- early acknowledgement of wrongdoing;
- restitution made to the victim; and/or
- prior satisfactory completion of probation or parole.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal conviction could alter the course of your life, so do not enter into the criminal system without an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side. The Los Angeles Manshoory Law Group, APC knows how overwhelming criminal charges can be, and will fight to ensure you receive the best possible result. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us for a free consultation.