Why You Need a Berkeley, CA Sex Crimes Lawyer
Your freedom is on the line. A sex crimes lawyer is invaluable to your case.
If you hope to dodge a conviction, you need a solid legal defense that will protect your rights and get inadmissible evidence tossed out in your case.
They Prevent You from Self-Incrimination
You have the right to remain silent so resist the urge to defend yourself. That’s your attorney’s job. Seth Morris will fight for your rights and ensure you are not taken advantage of during your greatest time of need.
They Fight to Dismiss Evidence
When evidence is obtained unlawfully, or test results are inaccurate, your sex crimes lawyer will challenge the evidence to have it thrown out of your case
They Protect Your Rights as the Accused
When you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, your attorney will work with you to determine which defense is most likely to result in an acquittal in your case. We can help you clear your name and the scandalous rumors against you.
Morris Law Defends Against All Types of Sex Crimes
Depending on your case, you could be charged with multiple types of sex crimes in California. Seth Morris helps defend against the following offenses:
- Rape – Under California law, a person can be charged with rape if they engage in non-consensual, forcible sexual intercourse through threats, violence, coercion, or duress.
- Sexual battery – California Penal Code § 243.4 defines this as touching another person’s genitals, or other intimate body parts without their consent and with the purpose of abuse, sexual gratification, or arousal.
- Child pornography – California Penal Code § 311 states that child pornography consists of videos, computer files, images, or other data that depict anyone under 18 years old engaged in a sexual act. Individuals could be charged with distribution, production, or possession of child pornography.
- Prostitution – This is defined as the exchange of money or another form of compensation for the performance of a lewd act. California Penal Code § 647b.
- Lewd contact on minor – California Penal Code § 288(a) defines a Lewd Act on a Minor as touching your own intimate parts or those of someone under 14 years old to offend, annoy, or for sexual gratification purposes.
- Statutory rape – Any instance of an adult having sexual intercourse with a minor is considered statutory rape. Penalties vary depending on the alleged victim’s age and the alleged offender’s age.
Local Police Departments & Courthouses
Depending on your situation, you may be taken to the following police departments:
Berkeley Police Department
2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
University of California Police Department, Berkeley
1 Sproul Hall
You may also be required to appear in the following courthouse:
Alameda County Berkeley Courthouse
2120 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Sex Crimes Carry Heavy Penalties
The penalties associated with sex crime convictions in Berkeley, CA are harsh. Sex crimes are known for carrying some of the most severe penalties of all crimes due to the how they are looked at by prosecutors, judges, and society. Sex crime sentencing provides for “full term stacking” meaning that the sentence for every act can be added to the sentence for every act. See California Penal Code § 667.6(c) and (d).
Your Penalties Vary Based on Many Factors
The factors that may influence your sentencing include:
- The age of the alleged victim at the time of the alleged sex crime
- How old you were at the time of the incident
- Whether you have a prior criminal history
- Whether you show signs of remorse
- The alleged victim’s and your mental capacity at the time of the incident
Penalties for Misdemeanor & Felony Sex Crimes
The penalties you face for sex crimes will vary depending on whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony offense. In California, certain crimes are considered “wobblers.” These crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The decision whether to charge a case as a misdemeanor or a felony lies with the District Attorney.
Generally, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime, you could expect to spend up to one year in jail and be ordered to pay fines of up to $2000.
However, if you were found guilty of a felony sex crime, you could spend up to life in prison and be ordered to pay fines as high as $10,000. The details of your case will ultimately determine your potential sentence.
Seth Morris has secured dismissals and no-time deals on cases for those facing life in prison. Let Morris Law review your case and determine the best course of action.
Your Sentence May Result in Additional Requirements
Other criminal penalties you might expect include:
- Community service
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Court-ordered mental health counseling
- Completion of probation requirements
- Restitution paid to victims
Convictions Follow You After a Completed Sentence
While the criminal penalties associated with sex crime convictions are often harsh, the collateral consequences are more likely to have a devastating impact on your life.
Even if you avoid life in prison and complete your jail sentence in a few years, the rest of your life will be affected by your conviction. Some of the collateral fallout you can expect if you are convicted of a sex crime in Berkeley, CA includes:
- Child custody issues
- Your personal and professional reputations destroyed
- Difficulty finding safe or affordable housing as a convicted felon
- Trouble obtaining gainful employment
- Immigration or citizenship issues
- Ineligibility for public benefits
- Disqualification for federal student funding
- Registration as a sex offender
Sex Offender Registration
Under California Penal Code § 290, certain sex crime convictions require sex offender registration. As of January 2021, California uses a three-tiered registration system as follows:
Required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of ten years. Low-level sex offenses such as indecent exposure or sexual battery may be considered Tier one sex crimes.
Required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of twenty years. Mid-level offenders convicted of crimes such as lewdness with a minor may fall into this category.
Required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. These crimes include sex trafficking, rape, and habitual sex crimes.
Sex Offender Registration Requirements
If you are required to register as a sex offender, you will be ordered to do so within five days of moving into an area. You will need to register your information with your local law enforcement agency, get your photo taken for the public sex offender registry, and be sure to remain in compliance with the other sex offender registry requirements, including:
- Staying away from the alleged victim
- Maintaining distance from children
- Choosing a residence that is not near any public parks or schools
- Completing a random drug or alcohol test
- Not using any electronic communication devices, social media, or the internet
Sex Crime Defenses in Berkeley, CA
There are many defense strategies that could secure a not guilty verdict depending on your case, including the following:
This defense strategy does not deny that the crime happened. However, it claims that you were not the one who committed the crime. This is common if the case against you relies on eyewitness testimony or circumstantial evidence and your identified cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The alleged victim may be falsely accusing you of the crime to get revenge or because of some other motive. The defense investigation will focus on the witness’s credibility, propensity to fabricate evidence, and the reliability, accuracy, and trustworthiness of their testimony.
Lack of Sexual Intercourse
To be charged with a sex crime such as rape, it must be proven that sexual intercourse occurred. If your attorney can prove that sexual intercourse didn’t happen, you could dismiss your charges.
The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the sexual acts were not consensual. Your attorney can argue that you had consensual sex by presenting evidence of any text messages, phone calls, or other communication exchanges that support either that the alleged victim had consented, or that you had a reasonable belief that he or she had.
Illegal Search and Seizure
It is your Constitutional right to be protected from an illegal search designed to obtain evidence against you. Your attorney will examine any search to see if it is possible to prove that the evidence against you was obtained unlawfully and your rights were violated. Evidence gathered in violation of your Constitutional rights should be thrown out of court and cannot be used against you.
It is unlawful for law enforcement to entice you into committing a crime you otherwise would not have committed. If your attorney can prove that law enforcement induced a normal law-abiding citizen into committing a crime, your charges could be dismissed.