How are people convicted of a sex offense punished?
People convicted of a sex crime are dealt with much more harshly than others convicted of a crime that is not a sex offense. Any sex crime against children or involving violence is treated much more severely than a usual sex crime charge. A misdemeanor sex crime usually requires jail time, a fine, and community service; but what separates it from a regular sentence is that the convicted person may also have to go through sex offender treatment specific to sex offenders and probation with many more restrictions than regular probation. A felony sex offense is punished with a long prison term which includes the possibility of life because of Colorado’s Indeterminate Sentencing. The individual must also register as a sex offender and deal with those restrictions possibly for the rest of their lives.
Is consent a defense?
Consent can be a viable defense, however in cases where the individual is labeled as being unable to consent that defense is null and void. If the charge involves a Colorado minor under the age of eighteen then they legally cannot give consent even if they really did. Also, anyone mentally disabled, unconscious, or intoxicated (even if they choose to become so of their own volition) cannot legally give consent to sexual acts with another person.
What is entrapment?
Sometimes, police set up sting operations to catch would-be sex offenders in the act, where they pretend to be underage children online or prostitutes on the street corner. They do this with the intent to attract potential sex offenders and catch them committing a crime. Stings happen often, but just because a person is caught in a sting does not mean they may use entrapment as a defense. The police must lure the subject in such a way that they commit a crime they would normally never have committed if the police had not been there to induce them. If the person was set on committing the crime anyway and just happened to deal with a police officer then entrapment is not an issue. Entrapment as a defense is complicated and dependent on the analysis of our criminal sex crimes lawyers.
Is it statutory rape if someone lies about his or her age?
An age discrepancy is not the best defense strategy in handling statutory rape charges. Even if the juvenile lied about their age and willingly submitted to sex acts, statutory rape is a “strict liability” offense, which means that if it happened to an underage person, it happened. It does not matter what information was given and the adult in the situation must face criminal charges because it is considered rape.
What is the difference between rape and sexual assault?
Rape has been amended to mean sexual assault or sexual abuse and that refers to criminal sex acts with penetration. Rape is generally thought of as a man forcing a woman or child to have sex with him. Sexual abuse and sexual assault are much broader terms that can encompass different types of sex acts and participants.
What is probable cause?
Probable cause means that someone somewhere has sufficient evidence to support a reasonable belief that a sex crime occurred, even though they may not have enough evidence to prove a crime. Probable cause is enough for an arrest or search warrant but not enough to receive a guilty verdict, which must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Who must register as a sex offender?
In Colorado, an adult or juvenile who has been convicted of certain sex offenses such as Enticement of a Child, Internet Luring of a Child, Unlawful Sexual Contact, Aggravated Incest, first and second degree Sexual Assault, and anyone believed to be a sexually violent predator, must register. In many cases they must register the rest of their life. They are added to a list that is made public and includes their current address, full name, description or picture, and what their conviction was regardless of the circumstances behind it.
Will the community always be notified of the presence of a sex offender?
It is very easy to access any information about sex offenders living in a certain area. They are restricted to living a certain distance from a school and in many cases may be removed from their families if they have small children, even if the children were not involved in the crime. The state sex offender registry holds all information and can give location specific details. It includes pictures, current address, and convictions. There is no privacy.
What are the defenses to a sex crime?
Inadequate evidence or evidence that has been contaminated in a sex crime case always is cause for a closer look at the case and most times will yield a valuable defense strategy. Mistaken identity and consent are sometimes used as valid defense strategies as well.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
For sure, yes. Anyone facing sex crime charges should hire an experienced criminal lawyer. Many people waive their rights to remain silent and an attorney and as a result are convicted of charges that are exaggerated beyond what they originally should be. People believe if they are innocent they will never be charged or convicted of a sex crime, but false allegations exist and dealing with experts on the side of the prosecution is the attorney’s job, not yours.