Being accused and charged with any crime is frightening, to say the least. Going to jail can have devastating effects on your personal and professional life. Charges of rape, statutory rape, child molestation, child pornography, and even misdemeanor indecent exposure are even more catastrophic. Mere accusation has an immediate effect upon your reputation. Conviction is even more severe, leading to lifetime registration as a sexual offender, entry into computer databases as a sexual predator, and very long prison sentences. In today’s computer age, even being arrested for the crime can affect your ability to get a job or a place to live. You must act immediately to protect yourself. Do not wait for charges to be filed. Seek immediate legal advice and hire an experienced attorney.
Choosing an Attorney
This is not the time to skimp on representation. Few attorneys have Mr. Flores’ experience with these cases. As a prosecutor, Mr. Flores handled only these cases day in and day out for four years while in the sexual assault unit. He gave police detectives guidance on how to investigate and gather evidence, went to crime scenes, prepared search warrants, participated in interviews of defendants, refused charges, filed charges, researched the law, and took cases to trial. In short, he knows these cases from the bottom up. He knows why charges should not be filed, what evidence to present to potentially prevent filing, and how to defend against charges if they are filed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I be required to register as a Sex Offender?
A: Registration is required by law for almost every sexual offense, and the list appears to be expanding in every election cycle. Registration is also required if you have been convicted of a qualifying sexual offense in another state and have since moved to California.
Q: How are sex crimes punished?
A: Punishment varies depending upon the crime. Misdemeanor sex crimes are punishable by 6 months - 1 year of jail time, fines, community service, and counseling. Probation is always required usually for a minimum of 3 years if convicted. Felonies are punishable by lengthy prison sentences. In addition to the crime charged, prosecutors may add sentencing enhancements, which could add from 1 year to life in prison. Some felonies are eligible for probation, with common sexual assault terms and conditions of probation. Additionally, convicted sex offenders must register as sex offenders.
Q: Is consent a defense?
A: Consent may be a defense to sex crimes, if the alleged victim is legally capable of consenting to sex under the law. Minors, the mentally impaired, and unconscious people cannot give valid consent. Sexual contact with persons in this group and others could result in any number of sexual assault charges, including statutory rape, or date rape (same as rape under the law).
Q: What is entrapment?
A: Police sometimes pose as minors to arrest persons who are committing or attempting to commit sex crimes. Frequently people claim that they were entrapped by police. Entrapment means that the police induced the defendant to commit a crime he or she did not intend to commit before it was suggested by the police. Entrapment is not a valid defense if the defendant intended to commit the crime and the police simply provided a means to commit the crime. These defenses are typically seen in prostitution, child pornography, and internet sting operations for child molestation. Entrapment is seldom a viable defense but the defense exists for a reason. Please notify your attorney immediately if you believe you were entrapped.
Q: Is it statutory rape if someone lies about his or her age?
A: Statutory rape is a "strict liability" offense, which means that the suspect is responsible regardless of the surrounding circumstances, including mistake about age. In very narrow circumstances, however, this may be a defense to a statutory rape charge. Distinguish this from a “mistaken belief” about a minor’s age. There should be some affirmative misrepresentation by the alleged victim about his or her age. Moreover, the defense must be considered in context of the surrounding circumstances. The question is, would a reasonable person believe the alleged victim was the stated age? The minor lying about age may provide equitable defenses.
Q: Will the community always be notified of the presence of a sex offender?
A: Communities are not always notified of the presence of a sex offender in their neighborhood. Registries are, however, open to public access and anyone may search the state registry on the Internet or at law enforcement offices. This is a very common occurrence and sometimes neighbors actively search for and publicize who are registered. Depending on the offender police may also contact individuals and businesses in a neighborhood to alert them.
Q: Should I hire an attorney?
A: Anyone charged with, accused of, or investigated for, a sex offense should hire an experienced sexual assault lawyer immediately.
See New Orange County and California Laws for 2010
California Laws for 2009
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