The potential penalties for sex crimes tend to be more serious than for similar crimes of a nonsexual nature, from the lowest to the highest level. Sexual crimes are unique in their sentencing structure. This is where people’s lives can be destroyed, even if the case is not the most serious. If you are convicted of a sexual crime, then you have to register under the sexual offender registration act, which is very onerous. You are exposing yourself for twenty years or even a lifetime of constantly being labeled as a sex offender. This is in addition to lengthy prison terms and/or exceedingly harsh terms of probation supervision.
One of the most important issues that arise if somebody is convicted or pleads guilty to a sexual offense is the court will hold a hearing to determine what level the offender’s registration status should be. At the lowest level, the level one, it is twenty years, or it could be more. It is a minimum of twenty years, and the person must register every year. The registration list is not public for a level one offender; somebody would have to specifically ask about that name. If you are adjudicated to level two or three, it is much more onerous or difficult, because everything is open to the public. The police or the government will publish lists of all the people who are on that registry. Anyone can go through that list.
The other most onerous part of being convicted of a sexual offense is being placed on sexual offender probation. It is very different from normal probation. People are monitored closely, and they are very restricted in what they can do. They cannot go into any schools including their own kids’, and you must stay within 1000 feet of all schools. Generally, probation is for ten years, not the normal three to five. You might be restricted as to having any internet service during that entire period. One of the worst parts of a sexual conviction, particularly a lower level one, where you avoid going to jail, or at least avoid a lengthy period, you are under very close supervision by the probation department, and one of the things we work very hard to do is avoid that type of probation.
Why Is It Important To Hire An Experienced Attorney To Handle A Sex Crimes Case?
The answer to that would really be almost the same as to any type of crime. Obviously, number one, you want an attorney who knows the law backwards and forwards, and who has had experience in dealing with these types of cases. It is also important to have a lawyer who practices extensively in the jurisdiction where you are being charged, because different courts, and district attorneys, handle cases very differently.
If I go into a jurisdiction that I do not know very well, I am very likely to make the wrong move, or emphasize the wrong things. It is very important for an attorney to be very familiar with the practices. In my case, I practice in Queens County, and I know how these cases are best handled here. I would advise somebody hire an experienced lawyer in the jurisdiction where you are being charged. That is probably the most important thing.
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