California criminal prosecutors pursue cases involving sex crimes quite aggressively. Los Angeles residents should be aware that there seems to be several indicators of higher rates of sex crimes in the area recently. A brief internet search can reveal a slew of news stories related to sexual assaults and other sex crimes in the Los Angeles area. Our Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys regularly handle these cases. It’s important to understand what constitutes a sex crime and the potential consequences of a conviction for sex crimes in California.
What Are Sex Crimes?
Sex crimes, in the simplest terms, are criminal offenses involving sexual conduct. A few of the most common examples of sex crimes seen in the Los Angeles area include:
- Sexual assault, which includes the unwanted and unwelcome sexual touching of another person.
- Sexual battery, which can include rape or the forced penetration of another person.
- Indecent exposure, such as exposing one’s genitalia in a public space or in clear view of the public.
- Engaging in consensual sexual activity in a public place or in clear view of the public.
- Public urination.
- Attempting to solicit sexual services for cash or engaging in prostitution.
- Rape, or forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse against their will.
- Date rape, which typically defines having sexual contact with someone without their consent while they are asleep, unconscious, or under the influence of debilitating drugs.
- Statutory rape, which defines sexual conduct between an adult and a minor under the age of consent. In California, the age of consent is 18, and the law does not acknowledge any individual under the age of 18 as having the ability to knowingly consent to sex.
This is not an exhaustive list. Sex crimes can include many different actions and situations. Additionally, the penalties for sex crimes are substantial. California prosecutors tend to seek the maximum possible sentence for sex crime charges. If you face a wrongful accusation of a sex crime in Los Angeles, the social stigma of the accusation can have a dramatic impact on your life even if you are completely innocent of the charges against you. It is essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you are charged with any kind of sex crime in Los Angeles to avoid unjust penalties and preserve your reputation.
LAPD Cites Groups at Risk of Sexual Crimes in Los Angeles
Recent figures released by the Los Angeles Police Department paint a disturbing picture of the sex crime trends in the Los Angeles area. Their report indicates that the number of sexual assault incidents reported by homeless women in Skid Row and other areas of downtown Los Angeles have increased each year for the last three consecutive years. While the LAPD remains fully committed to investigating every sex crime report they receive, the reality is that homeless people may face some of the most serious risks when it comes to sex crime victimization.
Other vulnerable populations when it comes to sex crimes include the elderly, the disabled, and those suffering from mental illnesses. These individuals may not be able to consent to sexual activity and may be unable to fight off an attacker or abuser.
Potential Penalties for Sex Crimes in Los Angeles
Sex crimes generally meet with harsh penalties. An individual convicted of a serious sex crime in Los Angeles will likely face criminal prosecution in addition to civil action from the victim. The penalties can include not only substantial fines, restitution, and incarceration, but also long-term or permanent listing as a sex offender. The sex offender registry is a publicly viewable list of everyone convicted of sex crimes in a given area. If you are convicted of a sex crime in Los Angeles, it could have far-reaching consequences. You may need to remain on this registry for several years or the rest of your life, depending on the severity of your offense.
Registration as a sex offender can complicate your life in many different ways, including making it much harder to find a job or a place to live. You could also face additional restrictions that limit your ability to visit public places like retail stores, swimming pools, and public parks.
Common Problems Handling Sex Crime Cases
While the number of sex crimes in Los Angeles has apparently risen over the last several years, police and other agencies have encountered difficulty pursuing sex crime investigations for several reasons. In some cases, physical evidence is minimal, and all investigators have to go on are the testimonies of the parties involved. In other cases, victims may be unwilling to come forward due to societal pressure or employment concerns. For example, men are generally less likely to come forward as victims of sexual assault than women, and women are generally more likely to encounter sexual assault in the workplace.
If you have been wrongfully accused of any type of sex crime in Los Angeles, you need reliable legal representation to avoid the serious penalties conferred on those convicted of sex crimes. Contact the Law Offices of Stein & Markus today to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your sex crime case.
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