In California, there are several types of crimes, including infractions, misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are offenses that result in less than 365 days jail time in a local county jail, while felonies are more serious crimes that typically result in a state prison sentence. Compared to felonies, misdemeanors are less serious crimes. There are also crimes that are considered “wobbler offenses,” which means they can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the facts of the case.
So, how are sex crimes classified in California? Will a person who is accused of a sex crime be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony? The answer depends on the circumstances of the case and the type of crime being committed.
Misdemeanor Sex Crimes in California
When you think of the term “sex crime,” you likely think of allegations of forcible rape or serious cases of child molestation. However, not all sex crimes are felonies.
Under California law, possible misdemeanor sex crimes include:
- Annoying or molesting a child (PC 647.6)
- Lewd acts in public (PC 647(a))
- Indecent exposure (PC 314)
- Oral copulation with a minor (PC 288a(b)(2))
- Sexual battery (PC 243.4)
- Solicitation and prostitution crimes (PC 647)
- Soliciting a minor (PC 288.4)
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime, you will likely face no longer than one year in county jail and fines that could total $1,000-$3,000.
Defenses to Misdemeanor Sex Crimes
If you are falsely accused of committing a misdemeanor sex crime, a skilled sex crime attorney may be able to use a valid defense to help you beat the charges. Some common defenses to sex crime charges include:
Consent: The alleged victim actually consented to the act.
Insufficient Evidence: It is advisable to contact an experienced attorney if you are falsely accused of sex offense. To prove you committed a sex crime, the prosecution will rely on evidence that shows you committed the crime. All evidence should be presented to your criminal defense attorney and the judge. Your attorney may be able to point out any evidence that should not be submitted because it violates rules of evidence laws. Lack of evidence might result in reduction of the charges or even the dismissal of the case.
False Allegations: Sometimes, people falsely accuse others for sex offense A valid defense to the charges may be that you simply did not commit the crime and you were not present at the scene of the crime at the time it took place. Ways to show that the allegations are false include by explaining your alibi and establishing a reason why the alleged victim would lie about the allegations.
Call a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Sex crimes, no matter how severe, may lead to permanent distresses, which is why you should contact an attorney if you have been accused of a sex crime.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is always helpful when the defendant does not fully understand the complexity of the case. The legal system is very complicated, so it is advisable that you hire a lawyer to guide you through the process.