Practice Areas

Sex Offenses

  • Sexual Assault

  • Internet Sex Crimes

  • Child Pornography

Sex­u­al assault alle­ga­tions can take almost any form – they can involve strangers, cowork­ers, friends, or even fam­i­ly mem­bers. Alle­ga­tions do not just include forcible assault – they might involve any form of will­ing sex­u­al con­tact – between ther­a­pists and clients, doc­tors and patients, teach­ers and stu­dents, and even between a 17-year-old and their 16- or 15-year-old boyfriend or girl­friend. Some cas­es leade to crim­i­nal charges when one per­son claims that he or she was too intox­i­cat­ed to give con­sent.

Stakes in sex­u­al assault cas­es are extreme­ly high, and peo­ple who are accused face spe­cial chal­lenges. Some­times the tes­ti­mo­ny of an accuser is enough to per­suade a jury to con­vict. Sen­tences can be very harsh; even pro­ba­tion for sex-offend­ers is extreme­ly strict. Sex offend­er reg­is­tra­tion is required for any felony and some­times for mis­de­meanors, too. Even if a sex-offense case is dis­missed, the accu­sa­tion can fol­low an inno­cent per­son for years, and have a dev­as­tat­ing effect in their per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life.

False alle­ga­tions hap­pen. Sex is a sen­si­tive sub­ject, and accusers can be moti­vat­ed to false­ly report sex­u­al abuse by many fac­tors. Defense lawyers must care­ful­ly inves­ti­gate sex­u­al assault to under­stand the pos­si­ble motives for a false alle­ga­tion. This may require spe­cial atten­tion to the per­son­al his­to­ry and men­tal health back­ground of an accuser. Some­times a defen­dant needs to obtain con­fi­den­tial records; the legal pro­ce­dure for obtain­ing these records can be time-con­sum­ing and com­plex. Expe­ri­ence in obtain­ing access to these records can be the dif­fer­ence between a good out­come and a poor one.

There are spe­cial rules of evi­dence that only apply in sex­u­al assault cas­es. These rules are inten­tion­al­ly designed to make it eas­i­er for pros­e­cu­tors to get a con­vic­tion, and to make it dif­fi­cult for defen­dants to obtain and use infor­ma­tion that may be help­ful to their defense. A lawyer must know the rules of evi­dence (and the twists and turns that apply in sex­u­al assault cas­es) extreme­ly well, so that the rules work for both sides – not just for the pros­e­cu­tion.

With a few clicks of a mouse, almost any­one can view ille­gal images of pornog­ra­phy. Sen­tences are espe­cial­ly harsh in child pornog­ra­phy cas­es, and manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tences may apply in both state and fed­er­al courts. Using a com­put­er to solic­it sex from an under­age per­son is also ille­gal – even if noth­ing hap­pens as a result, and even if the “vic­tim” is actu­al­ly a police offi­cer pos­ing as an under­age per­son. Many peo­ple do not real­ize that once a dig­i­tal image is viewed on your com­put­er, the data can remain there for­ev­er, even if you try to delete it. A strong defense requires a thor­ough under­stand­ing of com­put­er foren­sic issues, and some­times a com­put­er expert should be con­sult­ed. Care­ful inves­ti­ga­tion can raise ques­tions about how data was left on a com­put­er. How many dif­fer­ent peo­ple may have access to the same com­put­er? Did any file-shar­ing pro­grams place ille­gal data on your hard dri­ve with­out any­one know­ing?

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