FAQs

Sex crimes involve serious charges, including the possibility of life in prison, and lifetime sex offender status. Sex crimes also carry a strong social stigma. These are some of frequently asked questions by people facing sex crimes charges.

Who reported my internet activity?

Internet service providers (ISPs) must report certain activities to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). If an ISP becomes aware of apparent child pornography, they will report the facts and circumstances to the NCMEC's cyber tip line.

Isn't this entrapment?

Entrapment is one of the defenses available to someone charged with a sex crime; however, it is difficult to prove. For entrapment, the defendant would have to show that the police caused them to commit a crime that they would otherwise not be willing to engage in. If the police merely create the opportunity for crime, that is not enough for entrapment.

Isn't there a statute of limitations?

In 2015, the statute of limitations for child sex abuse was increased dramatically. Now people who were sexually abused as minors can seek criminal charges against the alleged assailants until they are 40-years-old (up from 28-years-old).  Subject to some technical legal exceptions, this means a person who allegedly abused a 5-year-old can still face abuse charges for 45 years.  Considering a statutory of limitations defense is very complicated and requires a detailed analysis of the individual facts of the case.  It is important to consult with an attorney experienced in sex crimes defense for accurate information.

What about free speech?

Freedom of speech is generally protected. However, speech intended to entice or seduce a minor, or someone believed to be a minor, is not protected.

What if the images are virtual children?

Generally speaking, state and federal law require that actual children be depicted in a sexually suggestive manner, or engaged in sexual conduct , in order for the images to be illegal. However, there are notable exceptions to this law when images are deemed to be "virtually indistinguishable" or appear to be depict an identifiable and actual minor.  This is a complicated area in the law and one which requires the expertise of attorneys dedicated to sex crimes defense.

Is it a factual impossibility since it was really a cop?  

Even though the crimes are intended to protect children, many of the laws still make it a crime if the defendant believed that the person was a minor, even if they are actually an adult or undercover cop.

What if she looked 18?

It can be extremely difficult to tell the age of someone without looking at documents which prove their actual age. Some adults appear much younger than they are, while some minors appear much older than their age. A good-faith mistake of age may be a defense to some crimes.

What if it was just role-playing?

Courts have determined that electronic communications, plans to meet with intended victims, and travel to meet the intended victims as proof of intent to prosecute as unlawful sex with minors. Even if the defendant never intended to follow through with the acts, they can still be charged.

What if they are lying to get money?

Unfortunately, some people do lie about a sex crime for money, not caring that they may be ruining someone's entire life. The best way to defend against an allegation of a sex offense is to talk to professional attorneys who deal in sex crime defense. Trying to handle it on your own can make matters worse for you. Lawyers experienced in sex crime defense can investigate your case, including the accuser's background and motivations, to get charges dismissed.

I never touched anyone, how can I be charged?

Even if the defendant never intended to follow through with the acts, or touched a minor, they can still be charged. Essentially, it becomes a crime to communicate with a minor in a certain way.  In fact, touching yourself, while communicating online with a minor may be prosecuted the same as touching the minor in person.

What if they are lying to get custody?

Unfortunately, child custody battles can lead people to do terrible things to each other, including lying about a sex crime to get custody, even if it may mean ruining someone's life. The best way to defend against an allegation of a sex offense is to talk to experienced attorneys who know sex crime defense. Lawyers who specialize in sex crime defense can investigate your case, including the accuser's background and motivations, to get your case thrown out.

Who is charged for federal child pornography?

Most sex crimes involving online activity can be prosecuted as federal cases. This includes child pornography charges, online solicitation or other online sex crimes. However, in some cases involving the internet, federal prosecutors may let state prosecutors handle the case. This could happen when the amount of child pornography is relatively limited, as opposed to a case with thousands of images, which would most likely be a federal charge.

What if I was set up?

Some people are set up, to make it look like they have committed a sex crime, in order to get revenge, in an attempt to get money, or to punish someone. Consulting sex crime defense attorneys can provide you with the best chance to clear your name.

How can I be charged when there is no “evidence”?

Even if there are no other witnesses other than a child victim or accuser, and it is based on the child's word alone, the prosecution considers the words as “evidence” and charges can be brought if the prosecution believes the child is being truthful.

How could someone remember something from so long ago?

Most child molestation charges often involve incidents from years ago. Even 10 to 20 years back. With California's extended statute of limitation, charges can be brought more than 40 years after the alleged event. This can result in poor recollection, misremembering events, transferred memories and other problems.

Who investigates sex crimes?

Many different law enforcement and governmental agencies may become involved in sex crimes cases. Arrest usually involve the police or sheriff's department. However, other state agencies are often involved, including child welfare agencies, Attorney General, and the Department of Education. Additionally, sex crimes investigations can also include federal agencies, such as the FBI, US Postal Service, ICE, Department of Justice, and Interpol.

Who reported statutory rape charges?

Some professionals are required by law to report knowledge or even suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse. This includes doctors, teachers, coaches, clergy, child welfare workers, and others. Although anyone, including family members and ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends can report statutory rape.

How long will a sex crime be on your record?

In most cases, a sex crime conviction will go on a person's permanent criminal record, for the rest of your life. Sex offender registration is also a lifetime requirement. Many people convicted of sex crimes have their information publicly available to anyone.  Certain sex crimes may qualify to be removed from the Internet.  This is why it is essential to consult with an attorney experienced in sex crimes defense to see what options may be available to protect your privacy.

What if the images are virtual children?
 

Generally speaking, state and federal law require that actual children be depicted in a sexually suggestive manner, or engaged in sexual conduct , in order for the images to be illegal. However, there are notable exceptions to this law when images are deemed to be "virtually indistinguishable" or appear to be depict an identifiable and actual minor.  This is a complicated area in the law and one which requires the expertise of attorneys dedicated to sex crimes defense.

Who will be able to find out about a sex crime conviction?

Criminal records are generally public knowledge, and available to anyone who wants to know if someone has a criminal conviction. Additionally, under Megan's Law, sex offender status requires a person to register with the police or school officials, and re-register any time they move. This information is publicly available, including a registrants name, address, and photo.

How can it be rape if she consented?

If the accuser is under 18, consent is not a defense.  Under the law, somebody under the age of 18 is not considered legally able to consent to sexual activity. However, there may be other defenses available such as reasonable belief as to age. When both parties, or one party, is impaired by alcohol or drugs, consent may be difficult to determine.  

Other Questions

Being accused of a sex crime is a frightening and stressful situation. You no doubt have many questions about what you are facing, who will find out about the charges, if you'll go to jail, and more. Call us at the offices of White Goldstein to speak with an attorney who specializes in defending people accused of sex crimes. We offer a free, confidential consultation to address your worries, concerns and questions. We will provide you or your loved one with superior legal representation and the highest level of service. We will thoroughly investigate the charges you or your loved one face and will tirelessly work to have them dismissed.

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Call White Goldstein today at (310) 295-1810 for a free, confidential consultation.

White Goldstein

At White Goldstein, we provide our clients, and their loved ones, with nothing less than excellence in criminal defense. Unlike many criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles, we fight for our clients with compassion and emotion as well as intellect and skill because we genuinely care for our clients and their families

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