Sex crime law is one of the most complex areas of criminal law. The consequences associated with both a charge and a conviction can have lasting impacts on an individual’s livelihood, reputation and liberty
There are few things that can affect your life as much as being accused of a sex crime. Even before you have been convicted, the accusation of a sex crime will motivate a series of unpleasant events, emotions, stresses and worries in your mind and the community at large. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, an individual may be charged with a sex crime when they engage in any sexual act that is considered illegal. Sex crimes include unwanted sexual comments, touching, or gestures to a child or an adult, and any lewd or lascivious act committed upon or with a child. The stakes are high when dealing with any sexual related offense. A criminal conviction may require a prison sentence, as well as a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Please do not hesitate to contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been investigated or arrested for a sex crime. In certain circumstances, early intervention by a lawyer may be hugely beneficial on the outcome of a case.
Rape Committed by Joint Enterprise
Aggravated Rape During the Commission of Other Offenses
Assault With Intent to Commit Rape
Forcible Rape of a Child
Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under Fourteen
Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Aged Fourteen or Older
Rape Resulting in or Committed With Acts Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury
Dissemination or Possession of Obscene Matter
Enticing Away Person for Prostitution or Sexual Intercourse
Inducing a Minor Into Prostitution
Prostitution, Pimping, and Soliciting
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Termination of Obligation to Register as a Sex Offender
Lifetime Community Parole Supervision
Annoying and Accosting a Person of the Opposite Sex
Lewd, Wanton and Lascivious Acts
Open and Gross Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
Human Trafficking and Sexual Servitude
Internet Sex Crimes
If you have been accused of a sex crime, you are likely stressed and confused. To this end, we have prepared the following list of tips to help you protect your legal rights:
Do not talk to the police — at least until you have consulted with a knowledgeable Boston sex crimes attorney. Whatever statements you make now, which might be influenced by the stress of being accused of a crime, can and will impact your case. The police do not have your best interests at heart and are merely trying to booster the case against you. Do not speak with the police unless it is at the recommendation of your defense attorney.
Do not speak to anyone about the charges — it would be wise to take it a step further—do not discuss the sex crime allegations or circumstances surrounding it with anyone besides your defense attorney. Police investigators will interview those close to you in an effort to gather evidence against you. It is best not to make any statements concerning the allegations because it could harm your case.
Immediately retain a skilled criminal defense attorney — as soon as you have been charged with a sex crime, or even when you suspect you may be, it is crucial that you immediately retain the assistance of an experienced sex crimes attorney. Once you have been charged, proceedings against you will move quickly and aggressively. The Commonwealth is notoriously tough on sex crimes. By retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, you are giving yourself the best chance at mounting a successful defense. A criminal defense attorney will immediately set out interviewing those involved in the incident, subpoena crucial evidence, and challenge any violations that occurred to your rights. These steps taken at an early stage of the proceedings can make the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Do not gamble with your future.
Educate yourself and begin preparing your defense — educate yourself on the charge or charges against you and the possible penalties you face. Research potential defense attorneys thoroughly and only go with an experienced local sex crimes attorney. With the assistance of the attorney you select, begin gathering crucial documents and identifying witnesses who may help your defense. Consider what experts might aid your defense, and what psychological testing could assist you. Early preparation is key to your defense.
Realize the seriousness of the charges — all too often, individuals charged with sex crimes might feel that because they are innocent, there is no possibility of conviction; or think that the prosecution has no case, so there is no need to worry. This kind of attitude can result in conviction. The reality is that innocent people are convicted of sex crimes at alarming rates. In fact, one study examining old sexual assault convictions cleared by new DNA evidence found that between 8 and 15% of convicted offenders were actually innocent. Further, you cannot predict the strength of the prosecution’s case. You never know what witnesses may be located last minute or evidence overturned. A sex offense charge is always a serious matter. It should never be taken lightly. Your best defense will always be retaining an experienced, aggressive sex crimes attorney as soon as possible.
There are three main defenses to sex-crimes charges. The appropriate defense, of course, depends on the information that a client provides to his or her lawyer. These defenses are as follows:
The first defense would be to deny that any sexual assault occurred. A lawyer would have to persuade jurors that the alleged victim is simply not credible, and therefore there is a reasonable doubt regarding whether a crime even occurred;
The second defense would be to admit that a sexual assault occurred, but to deny that the defendant did it. Stranger rape or stranger sexual assaults often involve photo-array, show-up or lineup identifications, all of which an experienced criminal defense lawyer may successfully attack. A skillful defense attorney may also cast doubt upon the Commonwealth’s DNA or other scientific or forensic evidence, since there may have been problems with the collection, preservation or handling of trace materials.
The third defense is consent. An alleged victim may call an incident rape or sexual assault after the fact, when in reality it was a consensual sexual act at the time. To create reasonable doubt, you will need an attorney who is a skilled cross-examiner and persuasive oral advocate.
False witness testimony
Inappropriately misleading witness interviews
Mistaken identity or a faulty suspect lineup
Faulty forensic testing methods and conclusions (particularly regarding DNA evidence and rape kits)
Witness, police, or prosecution bias, e.g., racial, socio-economic, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
In Massachusetts, sex offenders may be required to provide certain information to assist law enforcement officials in identifying sex offenders and to reduce opportunities for commission of sex crimes within communities. The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Law requires sex offenders convicted of certain offenses to comply with registration requirements within two days of receiving notification of their duty to register.
Registered sex offenders will be classified as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 offenders depending on their risk of re-offense and degree of dangerousness posed to the public. Some crimes requiring sex offender registration are: indecent assault and battery, rape, assault with intent to commit rape, kidnapping of a child, drugging persons for sexual intercourse, inducing a minor into prostitution, possession of child pornography and sex trafficking.
All persons who live, work or attend post-secondary school in Massachusetts must register if, before August 1, 1981, they were convicted of a qualifying sex offense, adjudicated a delinquent juvenile, youthful offender or sexually dangerous person, or released from incarceration, parole, probation, civil commitment or the Department of Youth Services. Offenders who are planning to move to Massachusetts must register by mail within two days of moving from another jurisdiction. Likewise, those who live in another state but plan to work in Massachusetts must register within two days of beginning employment.
All sex offenders must report their full name, aliases, addresses including secondary residences, work addresses including full-time, part-time and volunteer and the name and address of any post-secondary educational institution they are attending. They must also provide details such as date and place of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color, any scars, marks and tattoos. Levels 2 and Level 3 offenders will also have fingerprints and photographs taken by the local police.
Federal crimes, particularly federal sex crimes, are among the most serious offenses and can result in severe penalties such as lengthy imprisonment terms, fines and sex offender registration. Information regarding offenders who register in Massachusetts may be available to the public – not only to Massachusetts residents – through the National Sex Offender Public Website. A future post will discuss the National Sex Offender Registry and its implications for offenders and the community
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