Federal sex crimes are among the most serious felonies in the US and can result in sex offender registration, time behind bars, and hefty penalties. If you've been accused of a sex crime, such as possessing child pornographic material, hiring a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney is the right approach to safeguard your rights and fight the federal allegations.
You need a lawyer knowledgeable in California law and the US Code because they will be your most important legal ally and the one who can assist you in avoiding a conviction for federal sex crimes. Our reputable attorneys at the Sex Crimes Attorney are dedicated to providing our clients with comprehensive legal assistance and solid representation in federal criminal proceedings. They are knowledgeable California criminal defense lawyers who can inform you about the ins and outs of federal crimes as well as the circumstances under which a sex crime is considered a federal crime.
What are Federal Crimes?
Acts that violate federal laws in the United States are considered federal crimes. Investigations into federal crimes are conducted by federal authorities and are tried in federal court. Across the country, most criminal cases are addressed at the state courts. Nonetheless, there are circumstances in which the federal government can assert its authority over criminal matters. These circumstances include when:
- The state has no jurisdiction.
- The crime cut across state lines.
- The crime is serious and needs to be punished severely because of the circumstances surrounding it.
- The crime took place on government property.
- The crime included other violations.
When a situation like this arises, both state and federal prosecutors can file separate charges against the defendant or pursue separate courses of action.
However, the Fifth Amendment's "double jeopardy" rule safeguards an offender from facing charges for the same crime more than once.
Federal courts are regulated by the United States Constitution as well as Title 18 under the USC. On the other hand, state courts are subject to both state and federal laws. This leads to a number of discrepancies that could affect sex crimes defenses, the court procedure, along with rulings in the form of imprisonment, and fines, among other penalties.
If you are facing charges for this crime, you need to find a skilled sex crime lawyer who is familiar with the differences between state and federal sex crimes.
If the lawsuit is headed to federal court, the lawyer should be eligible to represent federal defendants in such proceedings. Your attorney should be knowledgeable about federal criminal proceedings, the tactics used by federal authorities as well as the United States Attorney's office. They also have to be knowledgeable about the federal sentencing laws and grand jury procedures to build a successful defense that safeguards your legal rights as well as the right to a fair trial.
Federal Sex Crimes
Sexual offenses are often tried in municipal or county courts at the state level. However, if a sexual offense takes place on government property, involves interstate activities, or is particularly serious, it will be classified as a federal sex crime and fall under the purview of federal criminal law.
In the country, federal sex offenses frequently carry the harshest penalties. They often attract lengthy sentences in federal prison, hefty fines, as well as a sex offender registry that has an impact on all facets of an accused's life even after they are released from prison.
The punishments are frequently even harsher if a child is involved in a sex crime. In accordance with federal sentencing standards, a person will receive the most severe punishments if the sex crime entailed violence or led to someone's death.
Although the majority of sexual crimes will be covered by state legislation on a local level, the federal government is in charge of updating the Sexual Offender Registry.
Many sexual offenses are within the scope of state laws, except for the responsibility placed on the federal authorities to ensure that the Sex Offender Register is kept up to date. Many sex offenses are covered under federal law under USC Title 18. The list below includes the common sex crimes that could be subject to federal law.
Rape or aggravated Sexual Abuse
Aggravated sexual violence can fall under one of the following categories:
- Forcing someone to engage in sexual conduct through threats or coercion.
- Sexual contact with a person incapable of making a choice because they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Sex acts with persons who are unable to make their own decisions for varying reasons.
- Sexual activity that involves minors who are under 16.
Sexual Crimes Against Children
The following actions could be considered a federal sex crime involving a child or a minor:
- Producing, distributing, receiving, and possessing nudity or child pornography, including the sexual abuse of a minor through visual representations of sexual activity or nudity in advertisements, magazines, books, videotapes, and magazines.
- Transmission of the aforementioned representations via the web, in interstate settings, or over state boundaries.
- Crossing either federal or state borders to solicit a minor to engage in sexual activity.
- Crossing federal or state lines, or taking a child across such boundaries, with the intention of having intercourse with the child and/or engaging in sexual activity thereafter.
- The act of trafficking or kidnapping a child with the intention of engaging in sexual activity or prostitution.
- Purchasing or selling a child for prostitution or sex.
Crimes involving Abusive Sexual Contact
Crimes involving inappropriate sexual contact include any willful contact or touching of another person's breasts, genitalia, inner thighs, or buttocks when that person lacks the mental capacity to consent to sexual activity (such as a minor) or has no desire to engage in such activity
Although defendants can face prosecution at the state or local level, most do have a federal obligation to keep their information up to date in the Sexual Offender Registry.
Sexual Abuse Resulting in Death
This is any kind of sexual abuse related to the causation of death of the individual being abused.
Human Trafficking or Sexual Slavery
Human trafficking, often known as sexual slavery, generally entails the purchase and sale of an individual with the intent of having them engage in involuntary sex as well as physically or mentally enslaving that person.
Federal Crime Pornography Charges
Federal sexual crimes can also include participating in the trade of shipping, distributing, selling, or transporting pornographic or sexually explicit material over state borders, over the web, through cable or television, to foreign nations, or by indulging any other kind of sexual conduct on government property.
Repeat Sexual Offender Charges
Repeat sexual offender offenses can involve one or more sex crimes listed above after a prior sex crime conviction. The most frequent offenses committed by recurrent sex offenders include aggravated sexual assault (rape), having sexual contact with a child, or human trafficking with the intent of prostitution or sex.
Failing to Report to the Federal Sex Registry
A sexual offender who disregards the requirement to register, refuses to update, or incorrectly changes sex registry details could be subject to hefty fines as well as a maximum of ten years behind bars. According to the SORNA Law, a registered offender who perpetrates a violent offense during this period could face a maximum of 30 years in jail.
Federal Requirements for Sexual Offenders
After the 2006 passage of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act or SORNA, federal sex offender laws have been enhanced and reinforced. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is a federal guideline that aims to improve the tracking and surveillance system for sexual offenders.
All sexual offenders in the United States must register with the National Sex Offender Registration and Notification System and keep their registration information up-to-date by providing details such as their current address, school attendance information, employment, and any other personal details.
State databases are connected to the federal system. Every time there is an update, it is promptly delivered to the relevant authorities. The SORNA Registration Standards are intended to supplement the state and federal regulations and could differ in a number of ways, some of which are listed below.
- Geographical region.
- Tier level for the sexual offense.
- Limitations detailed in a sexual offender's formal notification.
Sexual offenders are informed of their obligation to file and update their information as necessary before their discharge from custody, detention, a mental institution, or probation.
Sexual offenders must agree to keep their registration information up to date for the relevant periods unless otherwise specified in their release or incarceration terms.
- Tier I sexual offenders should keep their registration current for fifteen years.
- Tier II sexual offenders have a 25-year registration requirement.
- Tier III sexual offenders are required to keep their registration up to date indefinitely.
Registration as a sexual offender could also limit your choice of residence and access to public spaces. For instance, you might be prohibited from coming within a certain distance of a park or a school's grounds.
Difference Between Federal Sex Crime and Current Registration Status
Violations of Sex Offender Registration are subject to extremely harsh penalties. Any sex offender who intentionally disregards SORNA's registration requirements do so improperly or fails to update their registration is likely to face federal charges.
It's essential to remember that this Act allows for additional prosecution of sex offenders who have already been found guilty by the State. While traveling internationally, domestically, departing, or entering the country, as well as when staying on federal Indian land, registration details also need to be updated.
A sex offender could face hefty fines and a maximum of ten years behind bars under SORNA if any of the following conditions apply.
- Incorrectly entered registry information.
- Failing to update your status.
- Failing to register.
If a sexual offender falls into one of the categories mentioned above and perpetrates a violent offense, they could face a sentence of thirty years behind bars.
The Sex Offender Registration Record
Sexual offenders must keep their registration details updated the entire time they are registered. This means keeping correct and occasionally comprehensive records to prevent the commission of a federal offense.
The following details should be disclosed in accordance with the National Registry system:
- The name of the sex offender as well as any nicknames or aliases.
- The defendant's social security number.
- The accused's physical address.
- The address and name of his or her employer.
- If you are going to school, including the address and name of the institution.
- The number and description of the vehicle's license plate.
The national state registries are required by law to disclose the following details about a sex offender, which could be readily available to everyone in regional and local communities:
- The sex offender's most recent photograph and physical description.
- The legal description of the perpetrator's offense.
- DNA samples, palm prints, and fingerprints.
- Parole statuses, like supervised release or probation.
- A photocopy of a valid state identification card or driving license.
- Criminal history, including arrest and conviction dates, if appropriate.
- Outstanding warrants of arrest, if any.
- Status of registration.
The following details are passed down from the State Registry to local authorities.
- Every local government jurisdiction in which the sex offender stays, works, and attends school if any This involves local jurisdiction notices of changes to employment, residence, and/or educational status.
- All public housing organizations and schools close to the offender's home, workplace, and school if any.
- Background check companies for all potential employees.
- All volunteer and social service organizations dedicated to protecting minors receiving welfare benefits and other vulnerable individuals.
- Specific jurisdictional requirements, like the right to notify businesses, organizations, and people.
Requirements for Federal Medical Centers
Convicted federal sex offenders can also be compelled to register in a federal medical center's residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R) or Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP). This is a Federal Medical Center that also serves as a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility.
Foreign Travel Restrictions for Federal Sex Offenders
Federal sex offenders may be required to report themselves before traveling abroad, or the state's secretary could revoke their passports.
Who Determines Whether Cases Involving Sex Crimes Are Handled By Local Or Federal Courts?
Like other offenses, sex crimes are investigated by police officers and adjudicated in the state where the offense occurred. Certain sex crimes are regarded as offenses on both the state and federal levels.
A case could start in federal court and subsequently be transferred to state court. Similarly to this, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and the gravity of the offense, a lawsuit that commences in state court could be transferred to federal court. Cases involving sex crimes can also be handled concurrently in federal and state courts. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, this does not amount to double jeopardy, which means getting tried two times for a similar crime.
In situations where laws are conflicting at the state and federal levels, the U.S. Constitution grants federal courts more authority than state courts. Hence, federal courts have the authority to choose which cases to hear. Nonetheless, they do not always decide to investigate and prosecute an offense over which they have authority.
A federal court is more likely to hear cases where an offense involves interstate travel, Internet use, or implicated a minor or young person. In some cases, federal sex crimes are punished alongside other federal offenses like drug trafficking, kidnapping, violating U.S. postal regulations, and threatening to commit terrorism.
State vs. Federal Procedures for Sex Offenses
Investigating and prosecuting a sex offense in Federal courts is more challenging than in State courts. This is understandable given that Federal courts handle more serious offenses with a broader scope. Also, more law enforcement departments and persons could be involved in the settlement of a federal case. This could result in more factors to take into account, more pages of data to investigate and prepare, and more time—and funds to set up a defense strategy.
The DEA and FBI, which are usually involved in federal prosecutions, can and frequently do conduct lengthy investigations, which affects the defense. Federal authorities have more resources and, in certain cases, huge budgets as compared to local law enforcement departments. Aside from that, they often carry out unbiased investigations and pursue offenders more vigorously.
Federal prosecutors normally seek cases they consider to have a good chance of winning, in addition to the fact that they are usually more complex and intense. From the defense's point of view, this would call for a more thorough investigation, a more determined and focused approach, and possibly a higher degree of expertise than what is needed to defend such cases in courts.
What Are Federal Sex Crime Defenses?
Many people accused of federal sex offenses are capable of successfully defending themselves against the allegations with the help of a strong legal team.
Federal sex crime charges are often more complicated and challenging to fight than state-level trials since the prosecution team is very choosy in the kind of cases they seek and are optimistic about their chances of winning.
Developing compelling defenses for sex offense allegations in federal court is usually difficult since it requires substantial planning and investigation. Federal prosecutors should prove each aspect of the offense beyond any reasonable doubt.
An accused person who can show evidence creating reasonable doubt could be successful in one or more of the following defense arguments, among others:
- Consent of the alleged victim to the misconduct.
- The accused was mistakenly identified by the victim.
- The accused's innocence in relation to the charges.
- Federal detectives entrapped the accused.
- The accused's mental incapacity to perpetrate the claimed crime.
- The alleged offense was committed when the defendant was insane.
- Violation of the right to legal counsel.
- Unlawful search and seizure operation.
- Lack of intent or knowledge about the offenses.
- The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
- You voluntarily left the crime scene before it had been executed.
A federal sex offense conviction can have a negative impact on your life. You'll need a knowledgeable federal criminal attorney who understands how to engage in negotiation and conflict resolution with the prosecution.
Can a Court Find You Guilty of a Sex Offense Even If You Never Had Physical Contact With the Alleged Victim?
There are several felony sex crimes for which you may be prosecuted even if you didn't make actual contact with the alleged victim. Here are a few examples:
- Taking part in human trafficking operations.
- Soliciting minors over the internet.
- Possession, distribution, sale, or production of photographs or recordings portraying the sexual abuse of a minor.
Why It's Important To Hire a Federal Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Being found guilty of a federal sex offense like child sexual assault, child pornography, or sex trafficking can have a negative effect on your life, even after you've served your prison term. The federal government has prioritized investigating and punishing sex crimes, particularly those involving minors.
One of the most common mistakes defendants make in sex offenses cases is failing to seek legal counsel until they've been formally charged. Federal sex crime accusations are normally the result of an extensive investigation conducted by the FBI or any other federal agency.
If that's the situation for you, you could discover that the authorities have already gathered a significant amount of proof against you after being detained or charged by a grand jury, making your defense appear to be an overwhelming task.
Getting legal counsel as soon as you're arrested or find that you're the subject of a federal investigation allows your lawyer to have a head start on your legal defense, which could only benefit the case. Various types of sex offenses could result in a federal prosecution, and each requires a different defense strategy.
Find a California Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys Near Me
Federal sex crime allegations are often negatively impacting and can jeopardize your reputation, freedom, quality of life, profession, and future opportunities. If found guilty, you can be subject to hefty cash fines, lengthy prison terms, a criminal record, registration as a sex offender, and other life-altering consequences. Therefore, hiring a competent and highly trained criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is essential for detailed advice and to help you develop a defense strategy when fighting federal sex offense charges.
Our reputable lawyers at Sex Crimes Attorney have dedicated their lives to defending people accused of federal sex offenses against the most severe penalties. As your legal representatives, we will carefully study and look into every fact of the case and plan a solid defense strategy to build a strong case. Call us now at 888-666-8480.