An accusation of any sex crime in Los Angles can significantly affect your life, livelihood, and future. A conviction could also result in serving time and registering as a sex offender. Understanding your rights and the crime facts that the prosecution team must prove before convicting you is vital to fighting the criminal charges. Any seasoned defense lawyer will tell you that they have previously answered the following questions.

It would help if you did not presume the answers as legal advice since only a legal counsel knowledgeable about your specific criminal case can offer that.

What is the Maximum Punishment for Lewd Acts in California?

Violation of California lewd conduct law (PC 647a) is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by:

  • A maximum of one thousand dollars in fine
  • A six-month county jail sentence

Sometimes, the judge might grant summary or misdemeanor probation in place of serving time. Some of the informal probation conditions include staying away from the location, paying fines, an AIDS test, and counseling.

What is the Maximum Punishment for Child Porn in California?

Child porn (PC 311) is a wobbler. The prosecutor can charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the case circumstances.

Misdemeanor PC 311 carries a year in jail and a fine that ranges between one thousand dollars and two thousand and five hundred dollars. On the other hand, a felony is punishable by three (3) years in state prison.

Additionally, a conviction will lead to:

  • Sex offender registration
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Adverse immigration consequences

I was Arrested for Annoying or Molesting a Child Under 18 in California

Per PC 647.6, it is a crime to molest or annoy a child while motivated by an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in the child.

It is a misdemeanor that carries one year and a fine of five thousand dollars. The crime can also be a felony that is punishable by up to three years in state prison. You will also face mandatory sex offender registration.

Since the crime carries severe penalties and consequences, you require a skilled defense lawyer to stand with you throughout the process. Your legal counsel can also raise any of the legal defenses on your behalf:

  • You reasonably thought the victim was of the age of consent
  • The accuser is lying
  • Your conduct wasn’t motivated by sexual interests
  • Your actions weren’t likely to irritate or disturb the child
  • Another person coached the minor and manipulated them into making the allegation

I Was Caught Arranging a Meeting With a Minor for Lewd Purpose in California

PC 288.4(a)(1) prohibits meeting with a child to expose your public area, anus, genitals, or engage in lascivious acts. It is also illegal to arrange a meeting with a person you only assumed to be a child.

If found guilty, you spend a year in jail and pay a maximum fine of five thousand dollars. And if you have a previous sex crime conviction or attended the meeting, you face the following penalties:

  • Four (4) years in prison
  • A fine of $10,000

You should also register as a sex offender.

I was Arrested for Possessing Child Pornography in California

PC 311.11(a) makes it illegal for a person to knowingly possess obscene content depicting a minor simulating or engaging in sexual conduct. Content qualifying as child pornography could include photos, negatives, slides, videotapes, photocopy, computer-generated images, computer hardware, or video laserdisc.

Violation of PC 311.11(a) is a wobbler. The prosecution can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the case facts, the number of images you had, and your criminal record. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you will face a year in jail and pay a fine of up to two thousand and five hundred dollars. A felony carries three years in prison.

Given the heinousness of this sex crime, it is easy to be condemned and mentally convicted before presenting your facts. Fortunately, with the help of a defense lawyer, you can use any of the legal defenses below to fight the charges:

  • You did not possess the material
  • You did not have the explicit material knowingly
  • The material you possessed had lawful purposes like educational, medical, or scientific
  • You are a victim of illegal search and seizure
  • Entrapment

I Was Arrested for Assault With Intent to Commit Forcible Sexual Penetration With a Foreign Object

PC  289 makes it illegal to forcibly penetrate a foreign object into the victim’s anus or vagina without the victim’s consent through a threat of force or force.

It is a felony, punishable by the following potential penalties:

  • Formal probation
  • $10,000 in fine
  • Up to eight years in California state prison

You should also register as a sex offender.

If the victim was a minor at the time of the crime, the above penalties would enhance. You might face:

  • Six, eight, or ten years in state prison if the minor was at least fourteen
  • Eight, ten, or twelve years in prison if the child is below fourteen

What are the Types of Categories of Child Pornography Is There?

Various acts can be criminalized when it comes to child pornography. They include:

  • Downloading images
  • Sharing the content online
  • Uploading images
  • Possessing the material on your computer or smartphone
  • Sending the image files through text messages, email, or another online messaging method
  • Soliciting a minor to engage in creating child pornography
  • Arranging to meet with a minor online and traveling to the agreed-upon location

What Happens If You Are Caught with Child Porn Images in California?

If you’re caught with images that contain or have been used in the production of child pornography, you might face criminal charges. In court, the prosecutor should prove that:

  • You had content containing child pornography
  • You knew the material contained child porn involving children below 18 years of age

Violation of PC 311 is a wobbler. A misdemeanor charge carries a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. A felony is punishable by three-year imprisonment.

What Defenses to Sex Crimes Charges Can I Use in California?

Your criminal defense lawyer should analyze the case and determine the defense strategy that gives the best opportunity to avoid penalties linked to the crime. Common defenses to California sex crimes include the following:

  • You did not use threats, force, or violence
  • You were married to the victim at the time of the alleged incident
  • You are accused of statutory rape, but the victim lied about their age
  • You were falsely accused
  • You do not have a criminal record
  • The sexual conduct was consensual
  • There was no sexual contact that occurred
  • You reasonably believed that the alleged victim consented to the conduct
  • Mistaken identity
  • Mistake of fact
  • Absence of sufficient evidence

Please note that being too intoxicated to know what you were doing isn’t a legal defense, provided the intoxication was voluntary.

What Happens If I am Caught Distributing Child Pornography?

Nowadays, many people are charged with distributing child pornography after allowing another to copy the content through a file-sharing program or sharing electronic material through private networks, text messages, or the internet. A teenager who also shares explicit images of themselves or others can be convicted of child pornography.

You could be prosecuted with either federal or state laws. If charged with federal laws, you may face severe penalties such as thirty years in prison and huge fines.

The maximum penalty for a California felony child pornography conviction is a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and a prison sentence that ranges between sixteen months and eight years. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you spend a year in jail and pay a fine of $2,000. Additionally, you should register as a sex offender for life.

What Happens If I am Caught Downloading Child Pornography?

Due to technological advancements, it is now easier to download sexually explicit content of minors. Prosecutors have become more aggressive in pursuing criminal charges, making it hard for defendants to obtain a fair trial.

California PC 311.3 makes it an offense to knowingly develop, print, exchange, or duplicate child pornography.

The crime is a wobbler. If charged with a misdemeanor, you pay a maximum fine of $2,500 and spend a year in jail. A felony carries three years in prison. Additionally, you’ll be required to register as a sex offender, loss your firearm rights, and face negative immigration consequences.

However, an experienced sex crime defense lawyer can work aggressively to analyze the case circumstances and protect your rights.

What Happens If I am Falsely Accused of Rape?

It is an ugly reality that people misuse rape charges to gain the upper hand, harm another, or seek vengeance. The outcome of the false accusations can be devastating, even if you are ultimately acquitted. Here is what you can do in this case:

  • Take the allegations seriously — First, you need to understand the consequences if you underestimate the legal ramification for your life if you make a wrong decision. If you go into denial, you might fail to act accordingly and find yourself in more trouble. Also, educate yourself about the rape charges, the legal system, and your rights.
  • Hire a defense lawyer immediately — You have a right to legal representation. Your criminal defense attorney will protect you from incriminating yourself, build your defense, negotiate with the prosecutors, and represent you in court.
  • Avoid speaking with the police — If the police question you, do not divulge unnecessary information. While you might be eager to prove your innocence, anything you say can be misunderstood and used against you. Be cooperative and polite but request to talk to your criminal attorney first.
  • Write down the events leading to the allegations.
  • Avoid communicating with the accuser — Attempting to contact the accuser to work out your issues might worsen the matter.
  • Have a list of witnesses — Your list can include those involved with the rape case and people who can vouch for you.

What If I am Charged With Felony Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is not a felony but a misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Up to one thousand dollars in fines
  • Six months in county jail

Please note that these penalties and consequences can be enhanced to a year in jail and fines of two thousand dollars if:

  • The alleged victim was a minor
  • You have at least one previous conviction for violation of PC 647(j)(4)

First-time Sex Conviction What Can I Expect?

A sex offense charge is different from other criminal charges in that it can lead to the stigma that follows you for life even when unproven or unfounded.

California prosecutors take sex crimes seriously, and that is why serving time is a possibility if convicted. You might also face serious financial consequences. Most sex offenses come with huge fines that might add to hundred of dollars.

If convicted of a sex offense, especially involving a child, you might be required to register as a sex offender. The registry could limit housing options, barring you from living near playgrounds, schools, among other public areas.

Finally, a criminal record can affect your life. Any person that conducts a background check can see the criminal history. That could affect the chance of acquiring employment, housing, taking a loan, and school opportunities.

If you are at risk of a conviction, a lot is at stake. Before doing anything, hire a defense lawyer. Your attorney will stand with you throughout the process. They will also take time and help you understand the above consequences.

What Happens If I Forgot to Register as a Sex Offender?

You should not take sex offender registration lightly. As a sex offender, you should register each year within five days of your birthday, every thirty days if you are homeless or transient, and each time you move. Willfully failing to register is a violation of PC 290. The violation is a continuing offense (each time you fail to register, you commit another crime).

PC 290 penalties depend on whether your underlying crime was a felony or a misdemeanor.

If you’re found guilty of a sex offense that is a California misdemeanor, then failing to register is a misdemeanor. Its potential penalties are:

  • Summary probation
  • Fines of one thousand dollars
  • One year in county jail

If you have previous PC 290 convictions or were found guilty of a sex offense which is a felony, then failure to register is a felony. It’s punishable by the following penalties:

  • Up to three years in state prison
  • Ten thousand dollars in fines
  • Formal or felony probation

What If I am Charged With Human Sex Trafficking?

The penalties for human sex trafficking depend on the section of PC 236.1 you allegedly violated. Nevertheless, the offense is a felony.

PC 236.1 (a) Penalties and Punishment

When you deprive somebody else of their freedom intending to acquire forced services or labor, you risk facing the following penalties:

  • Felony probation
  • Maximum fines of five hundred thousand dollars
  • Five, eight, or twelve years in state prison

PC 236.1 (b)

If you deprive another individual of their freedom intending to facilitate the breaking of extortion, child pornography, or pimping/pandering laws, you might face the following penalties:

  • Formal probation
  • Serving eight, fourteen, or twenty years in state prison
  • Maximum fines of $500,000

You should also register for life as a three-tier sec offender per PC 290.

PC 236.1 (c) Penalties

If persuade or cause a child to participate in commercial sexual conduct (PC 236.1 (c)), you will face the penalties below:

  • Maximum fines of $500,000
  • Five, eight, or twelve years in California state prison
  • Felony/formal probation

However, suppose you used fear, force, coercion, violence, deceit, menace, duress, or threats of injuries to cause the alleged victim or somebody else to violate this law. In that case, your potential sentence is enhanced to fifteen years to life.

Also, a conviction results in compulsory lifetime sex offender registration.

Enhanced Incarceration Time for Previous Conviction or Great Bodily Injuries

On top of the prison terms mentioned above, you will face additional and consecutive five, seven, or ten years if the prosecutor proves that you caused the alleged victim great bodily injuries while trying to commit or committing the human trafficking crime.

If you’ve a prior Penal Code section 236.1 conviction, you will face additional and consecutive five years for every previous violation.

Civil Penalties and Additional Fines for Breaking PC 236.1

Under Proposition 35, the court can impose additional fines of $1,000,000. When determining whether to impose the additional fine and the amount, the judge will consider:

  • The severity of the crime
  • The duration and circumstance of the alleged offense
  • The level of suffering the victim went through
  • The amount you acquired from the human trafficking

The alleged victim can also file a civil lawsuit against you for damages linked to the crime. The judge has the discretion to impose huge civil penalties, including thrice the amount of damages the victim proves.

Finally, if sentenced for trafficking involving commercial sexual conduct conducted by a minor, you might face asset forfeiture. The state can seize:

  • Any asset used to facilitate your offense
  • Property obtained with or through the proceeds of your crime

What to Do If I am Being Accused of Date Rape?

Date rape describes non-consensual sexual intercourse between individuals who are/were dating or voluntarily spending time together. Although date rape seems more casual than the typical rape charge, they are the same crime and punished per PC 261.

If you are facing date rape allegations, you must retain a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Protecting your constitutional rights is of great essence. The lawyer will analyze the case facts and develop the most effective legal strategy.

Your lawyer can also use a subpoena to acquire records from the dating website about the accuser’s profile and user history. While some of these details might be inadmissible in court, it can help demonstrate that the flirtatious exchange happened before the sexual occurrence. It can discredit the alleged victim’s claim that they didn’t consent to the sexual conduct.

Moreover, do not speak with the police or the accuser (whether verbally or online). The law enforcers might make secretly-recorded pretext calls aiming to trick you into making self-incriminating statements. The only person you should discuss the occurrence with is your lawyer.

What To Do If I am Being Accused of Rape?

Rape involves an allegation where the accused forced somebody else to engage in anal sex, sexual intercourse, or other sexual conduct involving the slightest penetration without the alleged victim’s consent. It is a serious charge with life-altering consequences and penalties.

If you’ve been accused of rape, you should consult with a defense lawyer straightaway. Additionally, you should:

  • Create a list of all persons whom you believe have details about the accusations, the victim, and the incidence, and then acquire their contact details
  • Collect and preserve all documents and records related to your cases like emails, letters, phone call records, and GPS records that show your whereabouts when the alleged crime happened
  • Collect and preserve physical proof associated with the incident and the victim, such as objects, videos, photos, and clothing
  • Remember to share these materials and details with your lawyer.

Also, you shouldn’t:

  • Contact the alleged victim
  • Speak with the police without your lawyer present
  • Agree to or request testing that isn’t compulsory
  • Offer evidence to the police without first consulting with your attorney, even if you think the proof will prove your innocence.
  • Post anything concerning the crime on social media

Can I Sue Someone that Raped Me?

Yes, you can sue your perpetrator for damages. It isn’t a must that the accused:

  • be found guilty of the rape, or
  • even be charged with the crime.

Provided you suffered damages due to the non-consensual conduct, you can file the suit.

You might be entitled to receive compensatory damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Can I Sue Someone that Molested Me?

On top of pressing a criminal charge, you can also bring a lawsuit against the defendant for damages.  You can sue the defendant regardless of whether they have been found guilty in court or not. If the defendant is convicted, you are more likely to receive compensation. If not, you can still prevail in your civil case because the burden of proof is lower. You should prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the accused is more likely to be guilty. It might bring you a sense of justice that the court cannot deliver.

Find a Los Angeles Sex Crime Defense Lawyer Near Me

Although a sex crime allegation is a severe matter that might have detrimental consequences on your future, career, family, reputation, life, and finances, it is essential to know that you have options. At Sex Crime Criminal Defense Attorney, we are committed to offering aggressively legal representation. That is why we have put the information above to help you understand your charges better. If you have a question that the list above did not address, please contact our Los Angeles offices at 424-835-9799. Our legal team can offer individualized services and guide you through the process.