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How Can I Defend Against A Sex Offense Allegation In New York?

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Michael Spano - Criminal Defense - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Michael Spano

Located in Syracuse, NYMichael Spano Law

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Being accused of a sex crime can destroy your life. Even false allegations can threaten a person’s reputation, marriage and family, employment, professional licenses, housing and educational opportunities. Consequences can last a lifetime.

That’s why it’s advisable to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your reputation and disprove accusations or develop an aggressive defense strategy that protects your rights. Depending upon the circumstances, success can result in dismissed charges, acquittal or reduced charges and penalties.

Sexual Offenses In New York

Due to the stigma associated with sex crimes, it’s crucial to address charges or police investigations immediately. Prosecutors vigorously try charges for these offenses, which include:

  • Rape
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Child pornography
  • Sexual contact with a minor
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Internet sex crimes
  • Sexual abuse
  • Forcible touching
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation

New York law distinguishes between sex crimes by classifying them as Class A through Class E felonies or Class A and Class B misdemeanors. Convictions for Class A felonies can bring a life sentence, but even a Class B misdemeanor can result in up to three months in jail. Fines range from $500 to $30,000. Being found guilty can also mean that the person may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.

Legal Defense Strategies For Sex Crimes

Each case is different, with its own twists and turns, but there are many valid legal defenses. These include:

  • Innocence, including false allegations
  • Rights violations, such as police coercion
  • Police errors, including unlawful procedures
  • Consent

Consent is not a valid defense in cases where the alleged victim is under 17 years old or is a vulnerable individual.

Equitable Defense Strategies

In some instances, the accused may have committed the offense but doesn’t have a criminal record and has a supportive network of family and friends. They may have a stellar record, which may include military service. The incident may have been so out of character that prosecutors or the court will consider their positive traits and accomplishments and agree to reduce the charges and penalty.

Why You Need Experienced Representation

It is critically important to talk to a knowledgeable attorney as soon as you are aware that you are being targeted in an investigation and before you speak to the police. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees your right to talk to an attorney. Your lawyer can help you:

  • Understand the charges or potential charges
  • Build a case appropriate for the evidence and circumstances
  • Determine whether a plea bargain is in your best interests
  • Understand the possible repercussions of pleading guilty or going to trial
  • Prepare for what’s next if a conviction results

Working with an attorney who has previous experience prosecuting these cases can help build the strongest defense strategy possible. In many cases, it’s the difference that leads to dismissed charges, avoiding trial or receiving probation and staying out of prison. You may also be eligible for programs that can reduce charges and sentences.

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