Being accused of a sex crime is one of the worst predicaments a person can experience. Few groups are more vilified or harassed as those connected to a sex offense. Often, public opinion will convict these individuals long before a trial even starts, so hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight such charges is essential. Beyond the somewhat removed repercussions of the public’s opinion for such offenses, someone facing sex crime charges is likely to lose friends, at least some family support, and employment. A lot of press was given to the law passed earlier this year that removed the statutes of limitations for rape and child molestation offenses in the wake of the multiple allegations against actor Bill Cosby. However, California also passed several other laws related to sex offenses that are set to go to into effect on January 1, 2017. These changes reflect recognition by lawmakers that the wrong parties are being punished in certain instances, but also show the lawmaker’s response to highly publicized trials that pushed them to further penalize others.
Legislators have learned about the issue of human trafficking over the past few years, and now seem to understand that many of the women and girls involved in prostitution were forced into the work, and rarely have any family or friends able to help them. Consequently, a law was passed earlier this year that exempts minors from criminal charges for prostitution, and instead allows law enforcement to take these children into temporary custody as wards of the State so they can access resources to help them escape the situation. Another related bill passed into law this year eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for repeat prostitution convictions. Previously, second offenses required at least 45 days in county jail, and three or more convictions meant a minimum of 90 days in county jail. Taking away these sentencing guidelines will give judges more flexibility in sentencing so leniency can be show toward worthy defendants.
Finally, while sex workers may see fairer treatment by the justice system, those convicted of certain sexual offenses will no longer be eligible to receive probation in place of prison time as the sentence for the crime. Specifically, the new law prohibits courts from sentencing probation instead of prison time for the following types of offenses: rape, aggravated sexual assault of a child, forcing someone to engage in prostitution, and sodomy. This change in the law arose out of the sentence handed down to Brock Turner of six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman. This move to add more rigidity to the sentencing laws is a departure from recent years that downgraded sentencing guidelines for many crimes, including theft and drug possession. This trend is part of the response to a mandate from the federal government that California reduce its overwhelming prison population that compromised inmate health care. It remains to be seen if this departure is an outlier or a signal of a return to the stringent sentencing guidelines of the past.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with a crime is a scary situation, and calls for representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The stakes for a person’s liberty and future are too great to leave to overworked public defenders. Manshoory Law Group, APC represents clients in a variety of criminal matters throughout Los Angeles and can help get the best possible outcome. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for a free consultation.