At the Shouse Law Group we know that just being accused of a sex crime is stressful. And a conviction for a sex crime carries serious consequences that can include:
- Time in California state prison or county jail,
- Lifetime registration as a California sex offender, and
- The loss of important civil rights – including gun rights.
Our lawyers include former cops and district attorneys.
We know from experience that the police arrest people based on false accusations, mistaken identity, and even innocent misunderstandings. That's why we fight so hard for our client's rights.
To help you understand how we fight sex crime charges, our California criminal defense lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. What is a “sex crime”?
- 2. What are some common California sex crimes?
- 3. What are the consequences of a sex crime conviction?
- 4. What are some common legal defenses to sex crimes in California?
- 5. Legal strategies for defending sex crimes
You may also wish to review some of our recent California legal victories.
In California, a “sex crime” is any misdemeanor or felony of a sexual nature. It includes everything from forcible rape to grabbing your genitals in public to annoy someone.
Common California sex crimes we defend include (but are not limited to):
- Child sexual abuse,
- Date rape,
- Failure to register as a sex offender,
- Indecent exposure,
- Lewd acts with a child,
- Lewd conduct,
- Oral copulation by force,
- Possession of child pornography,
- Sexual Battery,
- Soliciting a prostitute, and
- Statutory Rape.
In addition to jail or prison time, conviction of a California sex crime can require registration on the California Meagan’s Law website – often for life.
There are additional consequences if the conviction is for felony charges. Consequences of a felony conviction include:
- The obligation to disclose the conviction on employment applications,
- Ban on possessing a firearm, and
- Difficulty or inability to get a California conviction expunged,
Defenses to California sex crime allegations often include (but are not limited to):
- You were the victim of a false accusation;
- No sexual contact occurred;
- The sex was consensual;
- You had an honest and reasonable belief that the accuser consented;
- There is insufficient evidence; or
- Mistaken eyewitness identification / mistaken identity.
Note that being too intoxicated to know what you were doing is NOT a defense to a California sex crime if your intoxication was voluntary.
Our lawyers offer free consultations so that you can discuss possible defenses with an experienced California sex crimes lawyer.
Some criminal defense lawyers wait until formal charges have been filed in sex crimes cases. Not us.
We believe sexual misconduct allegations demand early intervention and independent investigation. This aggressive, proactive approach has given us a proven track record in defending our clients.
Strategies we use to defend against sex crimes charges include (but are not limited to):
California law enforcement officers take sex crime accusations seriously. Often they arrest people first and ask questions later.
But sometimes all it takes to get the police to drop a case is for us to present our client's side of the story.
Example: Our client initiated a conversation with a teenage girl he mistakenly believed was an adult. He was arrested for annoying or molesting a minor under California Penal Code 647.6 PC. But after we presented his side of the story to the police, the detective dropped the case. No charges were ever filed.
Accusers often misinterpret a situation. Or they mistakenly identify the wrong person. Sometimes they even lie.
We work with some of the best private investigators in California. We investigate the crime scene, the accuser and witnesses.
If an accuser or a witness is not credible or has a bias, we will uncover it. Or our investigation may turn up conditions – such as lighting or distance from the crime scene -- that make eyewitness identification unreliable.
Polygraph tests – commonly known as “lie detectors” -- are not usually admissible in court based on California polygraph law.
But private polygraph tests can be a useful tool for fighting a California sex crimes case.
If the test shows that our client is telling the truth we show the results to the prosecutor. Often this leads to the prosecutor dropping the case or reducing the charges.
And if the results are unfavorable to our client, we simply keep them private. The prosecution never even knows the test took place.
Most California sex crimes cases do not go to trial.
In some cases, the accused pleads guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
But with a proactive defense, we can often successfully bring a motion to suppress evidence. Or we can convince the prosecutor that our client is innocent or the case is too weak to take to trial.
Example: The Los Angeles Police Department investigated our client for sexual battery. We conducted an independent investigation and discovered exonerating evidence. We presented the evidence to the LAPD and the Los Angeles District Attorney. Both the D.A. and the detective in charge rejected the case.
Prosecutors will often agree to let defendants in sex crime cases plead guilty to a less serious charge. These California “plea bargains” let both the prosecution and the defense avoid the uncertainty and expense of trial.
In many cases, pleading guilty can let the defendant avoid jail time. Or it can keep the defendant from having to register as a sex offender for life.
Our client was charged in Orange County Superior Court of lewd conduct with a 13 year-old. He faced several years in California state prison as well as lifetime registration as a sex offender.
After presenting favorable evidence to the prosecutor, we were able to work out a plea deal. Under the deal, our client pleaded guilty to statutory rape. In return, he received no prison time and was not required to register as a sex offender.
Television shows would have us believe that prosecutors only go to trial when the accused is guilty.
But this is simply not true.
As former cops and prosecutors, we know the pressure prosecutors are under. Sometimes they are trying to show the community that they are “doing something.”
And sometimes, they just get it wrong.
The San Diego District Attorney charged our client with indecent exposure. The client had a private indecent exposure conviction and was looking at state prison time.
But he maintained his innocence and we believed him. During the week-long trial, the jury was told of his prior conviction. Nevertheless, after just a few hours of deliberation, they returned a “not guilty” verdict.
Defendants found guilty of sex crimes in California have the opportunity to present “mitigating factors” during sentencing.
Mitigation allows the judge to impose a more lenient sentence.
Mitigating factors in sex crime cases can include (but are not limited to):
- You mistakenly believed your conduct was legal,
- You have no prior – or only an insignificant – criminal record,
- You voluntarily acknowledged wrongdoing before arrest or at an early stage of the criminal process,
- You made restitution to the victim, and/or
- Your prior performance on probation or parole was satisfactory.
Accused of a sex crime? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know has been charged with a California sex crime, we invite you to contact for a free consultation in person or by phone.
Our law enforcement background gives us invaluable insight into how a sex crime case is put together. From our first meeting until resolution of your case, we will fight to protect your freedom and reputation.
To schedule your free consultation call us at (855) 396-0370. Or complete the form on this page and one of our caring lawyers will call you at a convenient time.
- See California’s Criminal Justice System: A Primer, California Legislative Analyst's Office (“LAO”), January 17, 2013.