Any offense prosecuted in federal court is not one to be taken lightly. If you are facing California federal sex crime charges, you may be concerned about spending time in prison and having your reputation ruined. Lifetime sex offender registration comes next and this affects everything from where you are allowed to live to where you can work—even if you can own a dog.
If you have been charged with a federal sex crime charge in California, contact Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely at (559) 443-7442. He has spent time fighting for innocent people in the federal court system and knows how to navigate it effectively. Mike will get to know you and your case better than the government does, and he will use this knowledge to deliver superior results. Mike’s rigorous preparation and innovative strategies defending your case can make it possible for charges to be reduced or even dismissed.
Federal Sex Crimes Defined
Most sex crimes are handled in state courts. However, some sex crimes fall under state and federal jurisdiction, meaning that it is up to the prosecutors at both levels to determine in which court you will be prosecuted. The sex crimes outlawed under federal law (specifically in Title 18 of the U.S. Code) are generally those that involve some or all of the following characteristics:
- The conduct occurs across more than one state
- The offender is investigated or arrested by a federal officer
- The offense takes place in the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of the United States
- The offense takes place in a prison run by the federal government
- The crime is committed on the internet, or through the mail
Common Federal Sex Crimes
Offenses that commonly fall under federal jurisdiction and are usually prosecuted in federal court include:
- Possession, distribution, or production of child pornography
- Transmission of child pornography across state lines or over the internet
- Making sexual content with someone who cannot make a well-educated decision
- Human trafficking
- Taking a child across state lines for sexual purposes
- Any sex offense in a federal facility
Penalties for Federal Sex Crimes
Federal sentences are generally within guidelines determined by the United States Sentencing Commission. Almost uniformly these guidelines provide for sentences that exceed even those handed down in California state courts. Sex offender registration is also generally required and may even be a harsher punishment than the prison time that precedes it.
Since the implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the requirements for sex offender registration have become far more intense. Prior to being released from custody, prisoners are informed that they must register themselves in the National Sex Offender Registration and Notification System and update their status whenever their address or circumstances change. Sex offenders must input data such as their residence, school attendance information, and employment status. Depending on the severity of the crime, a person will need to stay registered as a sex offender for different amounts of time:
- Tier I Offenders – 15 years
- Tier II Offenders – 25 years
- Tier III Offenders – lifetime registration
As far as prison sentences go, common federal sex crimes and their penalties are listed below:
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor – Up to 15 years in federal prison and hefty fines
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse – Up to life in federal prison and hefty fines
- Child Pornography – Up to life in federal prison and hefty fines
- Genital Mutilation – Up to 5 years in federal prison and hefty fines
Defense Against a California Federal Sex Crime Charge
With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, many strategies may be available to prove your innocence. A common defense is establishing that you reasonably believed the other person consented to sex. Sometimes there is evidence that the person is making false accusations. It could also be the case that no intercourse took place and that the sexual activity only included foreplay or basic physical contact. In these scenarios, the charges may be reduced to crimes that carry less severe consequences. To speak with a Fresno sex crimes attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today, call (559) 443-7442.