What Do I Need to Do If I’ve Been Charged With a Sex Crime in Alameda County?
Being charged with a sex crime is incredibly stressful. You’re afraid that your whole life is about to be turned upside down and you could get sent to jail, have to pay hefty fines, be placed on a sex offender registry, and have trouble securing housing and employment for the rest of your life.
Thankfully, you do have options. With the right help, you may be able to avoid going to jail, paying fines, and other life-altering consequences. By taking the correct steps when you’re charged with a sex crime, you’ll have a much better chance of winning your case.
What Is a Sex Crime?
Before figuring out what you need to do about your sex crime charges, you need to understand what exactly a sex crime is and what you’re being charged with.
A sex crime is a crime that involves one person using force or threatening to use force to coerce another person into performing a sex act against their will. It can range from touching someone inappropriately to having intercourse with them without their consent.
Sex crimes include:
- Child sexual abuse
- Possession of and/or distributing child pornography
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual battery
- Attempted sexual assault
- Sex offender registration violations
When you’re charged with a sex crime in Alameda County, the prosecution is going to take action based on California laws.
However, the laws can be confusing. For instance, sexual intercourse without the other party’s consent may be classified as rape, but if the victim is younger than 18 years of age, it becomes statutory rape. If there is less than three years between the accused rapist and victim, then the charges go from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Age also makes a difference when it comes to penetration by a foreign object, oral copulation, or sodomy. If the victim is younger than 18 years of age, then the defendant may go to jail for up to one year, but if the defendant is 21 years of age or older and the victim is younger than 16 years of age, then it’s bumped up to a felony and the defendant may have to serve more jail time.
Consequences for Sex Crimes in Alameda County
When you are charged with committing a sex crime, it may be a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense and usually, you’ll go to jail for less than a year and may have to pay smaller fines or do community service.
A felony is much more serious. You could serve more than a year in prison up to a life sentence, or even be sentenced to the death penalty (California, however, has not used the death penalty in over a decade). It’s possible that you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and go on parole once you get out of prison.
Since there is a whole list of sex crimes and the corresponding consequences, you may not know what you’re facing. For instance, statutory rape is a wobbler offense in California, which means that it could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you meet the age limit and there is less than three years of age between you and the alleged victim, then your maximum punishment would be 364 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, if you are 21 years of age or older and the alleged victim is under 16 years of age, then it could become a felony and you’ll have to go to jail for longer and pay higher fines.
Another wobbler offense is sexual battery, which can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. An example of a misdemeanor offense is inappropriately touching someone’s breasts or buttocks without their permission; an example of a felony offense is when a medical doctor tells a patient to fondle herself and passes it off as treatment. With a misdemeanor, the defendant could have to go to jail for either six months or a year and pay a fine of up to $2,000. With a felony, the defendant could have to go to prison for two, three, or four years and pay a maximum $10,000 fine.
Your prosecutor is supposed to let you know your charges. Then, you can properly defend yourself against them. When you’ve been charged with one of these crimes, or another sexual crime, here are the steps you should take.
Write Down Everything That Happened During Your Arrest
It’s important to note what happened during your arrest and afterwards. If the police did not properly arrest you or read you your Miranda rights, for instance, then this could affect the outcome of your case. Write down the date and time of your arrest and how it occurred, along with what the police officers did when arresting you.
Cooperate With the Police and Prosecutor
Even if you’re angry, scared, or confused, it’s always best to cooperate with the police and prosecutor and be as polite as possible. It’s true that they aren’t on your side, but in order to avoid even more trouble, you need to treat them with respect at all times.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
You can politely answer questions about your name and other basic information, but you don’t have to say anything about your case – and you shouldn’t. At all times, you have the right to remain silent.
Keep in mind that if the police show up with a court order for a search warrant or a test then you will have to comply. However, if there is no court order, then it’s completely voluntary, and you should not comply. For instance, you should never hand over your phone records, computer, or other electronic devices, or give them your written records. If they ask you for the password to your devices, don’t give it to them. You should also not partake in testing where the cops gather genetic evidence. Unless they can prove they have a court order, you shouldn’t do anything.
Look for Proof of Your Innocence
If you have any proof to show that you did not commit the sex crime, then you need to collect it. This could include witness statements from people who saw you somewhere else at the time the alleged crime took place, photographs or videos to show you were not there, and incriminating text messages or other forms of communication from the alleged victim who is accusing you of the crime.
Do Not Contact the Alleged Victim or Witnesses
If the alleged victim, their friend or family member, or a witness gets in touch with you, ignore them. Anything you say could be used against you. For instance, a family member may try to get you to admit to wrongdoing in a text message so that you go to jail. And if you contact the alleged victim, it may seem like you’re harassing them or trying to intimidate them so they won’t speak out against you. It’s best to leave it alone and not maintain any contact. Don’t talk about your case on social media or anywhere in public for that matter either.
Do Not Use the Public Defender
When you’re convicted of a sex crime in Alameda County, you are given the option of using a public defender. While this may seem like a solid plan – after all, who doesn’t want a free lawyer? – it could end up hurting your case. Though public defenders are competent lawyers, they are typically underpaid and overworked. They may have dozens if not hundreds of cases to deal with at once, and they simply don’t have the time to dedicate their all to you. They are simply stretched too thin.
You may be worried about the cost of hiring a sex crimes lawyer, but the truth is that it could cost you a lot more in the long run if you are convicted of these sex crimes. For instance, you could lose up to a year or several years of your life because you’ll be sitting behind bars. You may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines. And not only that, but after you get out of prison, you might have to go on the sex offender registry.
Then, with a criminal record, it’s going to be harder to find a job and secure housing since employers don’t want to hire convicts and landlords are scared to rent to them. You won’t be able to exercise your civil liberty of owning a gun or have access to federal loans if you want to go to college. All of these consequences are going to end up being much more expensive than if you had just hired a lawyer in the first place.
Call a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
With a sex crimes lawyer working on your case, you’ll have a better shot at avoiding jail time and fines, among other penalties. First, your lawyer will help you understand your charges, which is critical. Sex crimes defense attorney Elliot from Silver Law Firm at your side will explain all your charges to you in terms that are easy to understand, as well as tell you about the legal process and what you can expect.
He will help you collect your evidence that could prove your innocence as well as let you know if there was any wrongdoing on behalf of the police. Sex crimes defense attorney Elliot Silver will also help you come up with a defense. For instance, maybe you were somewhere else when the crime occurred, or you can prove that your ex was just trying to take revenge on you. Maybe you can prove the sexual act was consensual, you were drugged and therefore had no idea what was going on, or the alleged victim was actually the perpetrator.
There are so many viable defenses and thankfully, the prosecutor has a big burden: They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are indeed guilty of the sex crime. If their case has any weak spots, then you may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Sex crimes lawyer Elliot Silver will communicate with the prosecutor and the judge, and work with you on either taking a plea deal or going to trial with a jury. Most criminal cases end in a plea deal where you could get certain crimes taken off your conviction, or your jail time and/or fines will be reduced. However, if you choose to go to trial, then he will fight for you all the way.
Working With Sex Crimes Lawyer Elliot Silver
Right now, you’re in a terrible position. You’ve been accused of and charged with a sex crime, and you have no idea what to do. Sex crimes defense attorney Elliot Silver is here to serve you.
As soon as you’re charged with a sex crime in Alameda County, call up Elliot, and he will walk you through your charges and then help you determine a plan of action. You won’t have to worry because he can do as much of the work as possible to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. He will fight for you at every stage to try to ensure the best possible outcome so you can move forward with your life. He will promptly respond to every form of communication, whether you call, email, or text him. You can even contact him right after your arrest so that you can get started sooner rather than later.
Sex crimes defense attorney Elliot Silver has helped countless clients fight their charges. In one case, where his high-profile client was charged with rape, Elliot provided convincing exculpatory evidence to the cops, and his client avoided charges and public embarrassment. In another case, Elliot represented a client who was accused of molesting his family members. The client was facing jail time, so Elliot negotiated five years of probation and credit for time served instead.
If you want to move past this traumatic incident of being charged with a sex crime, make sure you reach out to sex crimes defense attorney Elliot Silver today at (510) 995-0000 or by emailing him at [email protected].