Being accused of a crime is harrowing, and a defendant typically feels as if his/her world is crashing down around him/her. When the accused crime is of a sexual nature, it can be even worse, as the consequences of a conviction are more severe than for anyone convicted of any other crime, except homicide. In addition to a prison term, having to register as a sex offender will, in many cases, ruin the accused’s life. In these cases, having an experienced criminal defense attorney, and especially having sex crime defense experience, is crucial. Recently, former professional football player Kellen Winslow was charged with kidnapping and raping two women, and sexually assaulting three other women, in the Encinitas area. As much as sex crimes can be difficult to defend, they are just as difficult for the State to prosecute, and understanding potential complications can reveal avenues of effective defense. A discussion of what is a sex crime in California, and the unique challenges of these trials, will follow below.
What is a Sex Crime in California?
Sex crimes are entrenched in many places within the California Penal Code, from sexual assault to rape to lascivious conduct. Generally, a sex crime can typically be explained as a crime in which the offender commits an act that causes arousal in him/her while at the same time exploiting a part of the body of the victim that would normally be revealed in an intimate relationship, such as the groin or anal area of a man or a woman, and the breast area of a woman.
Sex crimes can range from misdemeanors, such as annoying or molesting a child, to felonies, such as rape or forced oral copulation. Further, the list of sex crimes has expanded over time, partly due to the development of new technology; i.e., hiding a camera in a bathroom. Further, also owing to this expanse, the California Legislature recently enhanced the severity of the penalties for possession of child pornography, as well as for revenge porn.
Challenges with Prosecuting Sex Crimes
Prosecutors typically prefer to only take cases to trial when they have a very good chance of success. As a consequence, there are many factors why a sex crime may never see the inside of a courtroom, including:
● Witnesses. In many sex crimes, there are only two witnesses to the crime – the victim and the defendant. Thus, a trial may likely come down to two conflicting stories. As a result, a skilled defense attorney can mean the difference between an acquittal and a conviction.
● Forensics. In spite of television crime dramas, rape kits and other medical examinations do not always provide the smoking gun evidence of a crime. However, due to these shows, jurors expect such evidence, and absence of such evidence can hurt the strength of the State’s case.
● Delay in reporting. When a sex crime victim does not immediately report the occurrence of the crime, this may indicate the victim fabricated his/her story, a point the defense attorney can highlight.
● Drug use. In cases in which sexual assault victims test positive for narcotics, their credibility is at issue, as they are not fully coherent.
In each of these cases, engaging the services of a criminal defense attorney can produce a defense that lays seeds of doubt, and hopefully result in acquittal.
Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime of a sexual nature, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Los Angeles law firm Manshoory Law Group, APC as soon as possible. Our experience in formulating a strategy to defend you against the charges can truly mean the difference between incarceration and acquittal. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for an initial consultation.