Not only can conviction of a sex crime result in stiff criminal penalties in California, but the mere accusation of a sex offense can, itself, cause substantial stigma. Of course, simply being accused of a sex offense such as sexual assault, child sexual assault, or possession of child pornography, this does automatically mean you are guilty. In many cases, people are wrongfully accused, which is why it is critical to contact a criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. San Bernardino and Riverside County sex offense attorney Gregory H. Comings has experience defending those accused of sex offenses, and he represents each client with professionalism and a no-nonsense approach. If you have been accused of a sex crime in or around San Bernardino, Attorney Comings can help.
Attorney Comings works hard for his clients to mount the strongest defense available under the facts the case. This involves a thorough review of not only the physical and circumstantial evidence, but also competence in the latest case law and legal developments in the field of sex offenses and criminal law in general.
The State of California requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant in a sex crime case is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The specific elements that must be proven by the State vary, depending upon the offense with which the defendant is charged. For example, in a sexual assault case, California Penal Code Section 243.4 requires that the State show 1) a touching 2) of a sexual nature 3) that is unwanted and 4) offensive and 5) done for the purpose of sexual gratification. Sexual assault crimes include a range of offenses, ranging from sexual battery to attempted rape.
A person accused of a sex offense may be able to defeat a charge, or have a charge reduced to a lesser offense, if the State’s evidence on one of the required offenses is weak or if he or she has a defense such as consent (assuming the victim was old enough to effectually give consent and was not lacking in mental capacity). Additionally, the defendant may have a constitutional defense, such as not being advised of his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent before signing a confession or an unreasonable search or seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
It is very important that a defendant in a sex crimes case understand his or her legal rights, as well as the possible punishment for a given offense if convicted. For example, conviction of felony sexual battery can result in up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (even misdemeanor sexual battery can result in up to 6 months in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines). Conviction of a sex offense may also result in a defendant being required to register on the California Sex Offender Registry. Not only is this a life-long embarrassment, it is also an inconvenience that requires the offender to register with the authorities within five days of moving to a new community – or else be risk being charged with a new crime for failing to register.
There is no such thing as too early when it comes to protecting your rights. If you have been charged with a sex crime, contact a San Bernardino and Riverside County sex crime attorney Gregory H. Comings about your sex offense case, call (951) 686-3457 and ask for an appointment. Attorney Comings handles criminal cases throughout the San Bernardino area; this includes not only sex crimes but also drug crimes, domestic violence, violent crimes, and white collar crimes. He will work with you to formulate the most effective defense for your particular situation and will be beside you during each step of the legal process.