Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney

  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Criminal Defense
  4.  – What Constitutes a Sex Crime in California?

What Constitutes a Sex Crime in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The State of California recognizes sex crimes as incredibly serious offenses. With up to 16 years of prison time and thousands of dollars in fines, securing a lawyer as quickly as possible is important to ensure that your situation is resolved in the most positive way possible.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, contact an experienced attorney. These charges can be incredibly serious and result in very long-lasting consequences. If a person is convicted of a sex crime, it may result in:

  • Registration for life on the California Sex Offender list
  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Losing certain civil liberties, such as gun rights

Because these charges and the potential consequences are quite severe, a significant amount of proof will be required to prove these charges. Being convicted of a sex crime is a serious offense. Knowing your rights under the law and what things would constitute a sex crime in California may help to save you from these future consequences.

What Does California Constitute as a Sex Crime?

The State of California recognizes a sex crime as any felony or misdemeanor that is of a sexual nature. That means quite a few things are covered under the blanket of the term. Some common crimes include:

  • Child Pornography. There are a few different actions that are covered under this umbrella. Duplicating, sending, or transporting child pornography, as well as persuading or hiring a minor to participate in child pornography, are covered under the penal code. It is also illegal to advertise pornographic materials on the internet.
  • Indecent Exposure. Exposing one’s genitals to another party without consent is prohibited. Regardless of whether it is meant to annoy another person, to gain pleasure, or appease an urge that is sexual, it is still a prohibited action and may result in serious penalties.
  • Lewd Conduct. Lewd acts consist of touching another person’s genitals or other illicit body parts without their consent in a public place. This can be either for the purpose of annoyance or sexual pleasure for oneself.
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child. A child is considered an individual under 17 years old. Sexual abuse can mean a variety of sexual acts. These acts can be performed on or by the child.
  • Sexual Battery. California law defines sexual battery as sexual contact with an individual without consent. The crime could be deemed either a misdemeanor or a felony with a penalty of up to 4 years in prison.
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute/Prostitution. This action is prohibited by both state and federal law. Prostitution is described as participating in sexual acts for money, while solicitation is the requesting of such acts for money. Significant evidence would have to be shown to prove this.
  • Rape. This refers to any sexual acts that are non-consensual. This can include penetration, oral, or touching.

These are only a few of the actions that may result in charges. Sex crimes encompass a great many areas.

What Consequences Can Come from a Sex Crime Conviction?

Many of these crimes are considered felonies and can result in serious penalties. Depending on the crime, the penalties are different:

  • Child Pornography. This could result in a misdemeanor or a felony. For a misdemeanor charge, you could see up to one year in jail, or for a felony, up to a three-year prison sentence.
  • Indecent Exposure. For a first-time charge, a $1000 fine and jail time up to 1 year. For a second offense, there’s a potential for prison time.
  • Lewd Conduct. A misdemeanor lewd conduct charge can result in up to 6 months of jail time and a potential fine of up to $1000.
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child. This can result in a penalty of up to 16 years in prison.
  • Sexual Battery. This can result in either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. A misdemeanor charge can see a penalty of up to a one-year jail sentence, depending upon the specific circumstances of the crime, and a fine of up to $3000. A felony charge can see a penalty of up to four years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute/Prostitution. This crime could see a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
  • Rape. This is a very serious crime in the State of California and may result in a prison sentence of up to 8 years, or if the victim is a minor, 13 years in prison.

While jail or prison time and fines are quite serious, some sex crimes may result in additional consequences. Certain offenses can result in a lifetime placement on the Sex Offender Registration in the State of California and the loss of certain freedoms such as owning a gun. This means that when applying for a job, you would have to include it on an application or disclose the charge to a potential employer. You may also not have the ability to get your record expunged.

Defense Against a Sex Crime Charge

All of these charges and consequences may seem daunting, but it’s possible to defend against a sex crime charge. One defense that the State of California will not accept is intoxication. Being too inebriated to understand your actions isn’t an appropriate defense when the intoxication is by choice.

There are other forms of defense. The first is that the accusation is false. If the prosecution is unable to provide evidence to prove that the crime occurred, it could be deemed a false accusation. Another is that the actions of both parties were consensual or that there was a strong assumption and belief that the acts were consensual.

Each of these would be an acceptable defense in the event of a sex crimes charge. Your lawyer may need more or less background about the crime. It is vital that you tell your attorney everything that you can to help them build the best case they can.

Why You Need a Lawyer

The team at Exum Law Offices of Riverside can help you if you’ve been charged with a sex crime. We know your rights and are here for you in your time of need. Contact us today, and let us start building your defense.