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How Can An Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Help If I’m Charged With A Federal Sex Offense?

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If you or a loved one is charged with a sex crime, it is crucial to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Evidence in these cases can be complicated, and severe penalties can result if you are found guilty.

A conviction or guilty plea can result in a lengthy prison sentence and having to register as a sex offender, possibly for life. Even if someone was falsely accused or found not guilty, just being charged with a sex offense can ruin their lives.

What Is A Federal Sex Offense?

Depending upon the circumstances, sex crimes could violate both state and federal law. Cases are typically filed in federal court if the action crossed state borders or happened in more than one state, involved the internet or the use of cellphones, or if it took place on federal land. Common federal sex offense cases are:

  • Child pornography
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Trafficking, such as selling or buying children
  • Sexual abuse
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Failure to register as a sex offender

A Team Approach To Defending Clients

If charged, you need an aggressive lawyer who will use their expertise, along with that of a certified sex offender counselor, and in many cases, forensic experts who will challenge the evidence against you. A counselor will conduct an evaluation to help determine, among other things, whether mental illness or addiction is involved.

An evaluation can, in many cases, lead to treatment opportunities even before a case is decided, which can shorten prison time and, in some cases, allow offenders to serve their time at facilities that contain sex offender programs and those closer to home. Taking action as quickly as possible after being charged can lead to shorter sentences, and the best treatment options available.

In the case of false allegations over child pornography, a forensic computer expert can help determine that a defendant never actually viewed the images they are accused of possessing. The expert can also detect whether the images were manufactured. For someone to be charged, the images must be of real people and not photoshopped or digitally created.

Penalties For Federal Sex Offenses Can Be Severe

Under federal law, simple possession of pornography can result in probation. However, sharing or distributing illegal pornographic images carries a minimum prison term. Prosecutors can be extremely aggressive in these cases, regardless of who is accused, or the circumstances involved.

Two teenagers sitting in the same car exchanging nude photos via text or email can result in federal possession and distribution charges, invoking the interstate commerce clause because the server is located in a different state. The consequences can be extreme as mandatory minimum sentences include:

  • Five years for distributing or sharing illegal pornographic images
  • 15 years for producing illegal pornography

Prompt Representation Is Vital For Avoiding Detention

Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested is crucial to avoid being detained while your case proceeds through the system. Your attorney can request a detention hearing, usually held within one week of an arrest and try to convince the judge that you should be released while your case is pending.

Your attorney will emphasize your ties to the community, including whether you have a good job and a supportive family, whether you belong to a church or synagogue, and have others testify to your good character. Keeping you out of jail is important, especially if you are a candidate to begin a sex offender treatment program. Taking those steps early can be crucial for reducing your sentence.

Why Experience Matters

Federal sex offenses carry severe penalties, which can include large fines and lengthy prison sentences, including life in prison. More severe sentences are likely in cases where physical contact was involved. Some offenses require a person to register as a sex offender, causing lifelong personal and financial consequences. Evidence is often complicated, involving scientific and technical matters.

An experienced attorney understands how the system works and knows how to negotiate with prosecutors. You need someone who can interpret federal sentencing guidelines and how getting treatment in many cases can shorten prison time. Most of all, if you go to court, you need someone with substantial trial experience who will aggressively fight to clear your name.

A lawyer who is knowledgeable in these cases understands that sex offense charges can ruin a person’s reputation even if they are found not guilty, especially when internet and social media histories exist. An experienced attorney works with forensic companies to protect their client’s image online by burying stories that contain false accusations.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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