Long Beach Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges of sex crimes in Long Beach, CA, the Law Offices of David Givot an the Legal Guardian stand ready to come to your assistance with a top-tier legal defense team. Attorney David Givot knows how to investigate and expose false allegations of sex crimes and prevent a wrongful conviction.
Megan's Law and the New, Tougher Stance on Sex Crimes
Since the passage of Megan's Law, prosecuting attorneys and presiding judges have taken all sex crimes in California extremely seriously. This law requires that the home address of convicted sex offenders be publicly posted on the Internet for all to see. Other changes since Megan's Law include:
- The District Attorney's Office setting up specialized task forces for the specific purpose of prosecuting sex crimes
- Various law enforcement agencies establishing special units to investigate and prosecute these crimes in a very vigorous manner
- Additional state resources being allocated to these new anti-sex crime units
Besides all of the court-imposed, legal consequences, those convicted of a sex crime are at serious risk of losing their job and their friends due to a stained reputation. If you are presently being investigated for sex crime violations, you should immediately hire an attorney experienced in defending against this class of charges and who will fight tirelessly in your behalf.
Punishments for Sex Crimes
If you or a loved one are facing sex crime charges, there are extreme and lifelong consequences that can follow from a conviction. Some of the most common penalties include:
- Long terms in jail, in state prison, or on probation or parole
- A criminal conviction on your record that never goes away
- Heavy fines
- Victim restitution payments, which are often in large sums
- Mandatory counseling
- Mandatory, lifetime registration as a sex offender with the additional punishments inflicted if you fail to make periodic updates of your information with authorities
Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, and on any past criminal history, a sex crime violation can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Even a misdemeanor conviction, however, will have serious repercussions.
What Are the Most Common Sex Crimes?
In California, a sex crime is defined as any illegal act that is of a sexual nature. Rape is one of the most serious sex crimes, but there are many others that are quite common in California. The most common sex crime allegations include:
- Rape, whether by means of force/violence or coercion
- Marital rape (of a spouse)
- Statutory rape (of a minor)
- Child molestation
- Prostitution and solicitation
- Sexual assault and/or battery
- Lewd conduct
- Indecent exposure
- Pimping or pandering
- Certain Internet pornography crimes
We will go into more detail below in defining some of the most common sex crimes committed in California.
Using force, violence, threats of violence, or any form of fear-tactics or coercion to have sexual intercourse with an unwilling person is rape. If a person is intoxicated, sleeping, or unconscious, and another takes advantage of their inability to resist and has sex with that person, it is also considered rape.
"Date rape" is not a legal term, but it is a common term and an all-too-common occurrence. Typically, the scenario involves a male raping a female while at a social engagement together. The sexual advances were not desired and were resisted, or a "date rape drug" was used to disable the victim. The fact that attendance at the social engagement was voluntary and the perpetrator was an acquaintance does not mitigate the fact that the sexual intercourse was involuntary.
Any act of sexual intercourse by a person older than 18 with a person below the age of 18 is a criminal act. It does not matter if the under-aged person did the sex act with full knowledge and consent or not- it is rape automatically based on the fact that a child has had intercourse with an adolescent. If the victim is a child, defined usually as 14 years and below, it is not statutory rape but is child molestation. It is not necessary for under-aged rape victims to cooperate with prosecutors and agree to press charges for the case to proceed. If the perpetrator held a position of trust with the under-aged victim, such as teacher or priest, the penalties will be enhanced.
Prostitution and Related Offenses (PC 647b)
Prostitution, pandering, pimping, and solicitation for prostitution are punishable as either misdemeanors or felonies in California. Prostitution occurs whenever one person receives any form of payment in exchange for any kind of sexual act. Pimping is defined as soliciting prostitution services or pandering for acts of prostitution on behalf of another.
Lewd Conduct (PC 647a)
Lewd conduct can cover a wide range of specific offenses, most of which concern sexual activities performed in a public place. Some examples of lewd conduct include giving/receiving oral sex in public, public masturbation, and exposing one's genitalia to public view.
There are two main classes of lewd conduct: a) engaging in lewd conduct yourself and b) soliciting another person to engage in lewd public acts.
To prove that the defendant engaged in lewd conduct, the prosecution must show the following:
- The defendant touched his/her own or another person's genitals, buttocks, or female breasts.
- This act was done willfully.
- The act occurred in a public place.
- Another person was present when the act occurred who was or could easily have been offended.
- The defendant knew, or should have known, at the time of committing the lewd act that someone else would likely be offended by it.
- The defendant did the lewd act for the purpose of sexually gratifying or arousing himself or another person or to intentionally annoy or offend others.
To prove solicitation to lewd conduct, the prosecutor must demonstrate the following as facts:
- The defendant willfully requested another person to touch his/her own or another's genitals, buttocks, or female breasts.
- Both parties were in a public place at the time, and the defendant intended the solicited party to commit the act in public.
- A third person was present who was or might easily have been offended.
- The purpose of the sough-after lewd act was to sexually gratify or arouse him/her self or another or to intentionally offend or annoy another.
In California, all acts of lewd conduct are of misdemeanor status. The maximum sentence is one year in state prison. In some instances, the prosecution may also seek to impose lifetime registration as a sex offender on the defendant.
In most lewd conduct cases, undercover police officers targeted suspects in public restrooms or beaches. Oftentimes, the undercover officer was the only other person in the vicinity at the time the lewd act was allegedly committed. The result of this situation will normally be two conflicting statements concerning what happened, one from the officer and the other from the accused individual.
A good defense strategy can often result in a defeat of lewd conduct charges, especially when it is only a word-against-word case with no additional witnesses. Additionally, the officer involved will often have previously been accused of planting evidence and falsifying reports. A good defense attorney will investigate such previous accusations in an attempt to completely discredit the charges brought against the defendant or at least to show them to be overstated.
Laws Associated With Lewd Conduct
There are many specific statutes that relate to lewd conduct charges in the California Penal Code, among them the following:
- PC 288 classifies as a felony any knowingly committed lewd act perpetrated upon a child for the purpose of sexual arousal. Violation of this statute is punishable by a prison term of 3 to 8 years.
- PC 314 concerns misdemeanor level lewd acts. Anyone who willfully exposes his/her genitalia or female breasts in a public place and offends others present is guilty and can be held for a year in state custody.
- PC 289(a)(1) states that it is illegal to use verbal threats or physical force to make another participate in sexual intercourse against his/her will. This crime is punishable by 3 to 8 years in state prison and mandatory, lifetime registration as a sex offender.
- PC 261(a)(1) criminalizes having sexual intercourse with a non-spouse who is unable to give/refuse consent due to a mental or physical disability that the perpetrator was, or should have been, aware of. The penalty for this crime is 3 to 8 years in state prison.
- PC 261.5(c) criminalizes having sexual intercourse with a minor who is three years or more younger than oneself. The charge can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the details of the case. The penalty is up to a year in jail with the possibility of sex-offender registration requirements.
- PC 266(e) classifies as a felony any act of exchanging money or valuable items for sexual services.
- PC 653.22(a) makes it illegal to loiter in a public place for the purpose of committing prostitution. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in state prison.
- PC 653.23(a) makes it illegal to knowingly accept money that was earned via prostitution. This crime is a misdemeanor.
Additional Sex Crimes
Yet further sex crimes outlined in the California Penal Code include the following:
- PC 261(a)(2): Forcible rape.
- PC 261(a)(3): Rape by means of drugging.
- PC 261(a)(4): Rape of one unconscious.
- PC 261(a)(6): Rape by threats of harm.
- PC 262(a)(1): Spousal rape.
- PC 264.1: Forcible rape while acting in concert with another.
- PC 266h(a): Pimping or soliciting a prostitute.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
It is not at all uncommon for innocent individuals to be accused of sex crimes. It is sometimes a matter of being present at a time and place that "makes you look guilty." Other times, false accusation arise out of malice and a desire for revenge. In yet other cases, a "sting operation" rounds up large numbers of people for lewd conduct or prostitution-related crimes without carefully separating the innocent from the guilty. Insufficient evidence and trumped up charges often result in arrests and prosecutions for sex crimes in California, and a mere accusation is far from proof of guilt.
Contact Us Today for Expert Sex Crimes Defense
If you have been charged with a sex crime offense in Long Beach, CA, it is imperative that you seek immediate criminal defense services from expert attorneys experienced in this area of law. If you have been arrested on allegations of any type of sex crime in Long Beach or any part of southern California, we understand the serious situation in which you now find yourself and are prepared to do everything possible to assist you.
David Givot has extensive knowledge of California sex crimes law and is familiar with the best defense strategies to use in the courtroom. His deep experience and longstanding relationships with local law enforcement officers, judges, and other attorneys enables him to obtain the best possible outcome to even the toughest cases.
For further information on sex crime defense and a free and fully confidential legal consultation, feel free to contact David Givot of the Legal Guardian at his Long Beach office by calling toll-free 888-293-0396 anytime day or night.