An Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Answers the Frequently Asked Questions About a Sex Crime Conviction

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If you are facing a sex crime conviction in Ohio, it is essential to learn more about Ohio sex crime laws and how to build a strong defense. If you stand accused of committing a sex crime, seek out a criminal lawyer with a proven record in court. As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Lake County Ohio, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, has experience with the strategies used by prosecutors to pursue their cases.

At the Bangerter Law Office, we get a lot of questions about sex crimes. Here is a sampling of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

What Could Constitute a Sex Crime Under Ohio Law?

Ohio law categorizes several different criminal charges under the umbrella of sex crimes. Sex crimes can include criminal charges for rape, sexual battery, voyeurism, solicitation or provision of prostitution, public indecency, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and more.

It is essential to build a strong defense against any sex crime accusations involving inappropriate sexual conduct, prostitution, or pornography with a minor.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Sex Crimes: What Is the Difference?

Misdemeanor offenses typically include lesser crimes like public indecency or most cases of voyeurism. However, a court may upgrade a misdemeanor to a felony under certain conditions. In the case of voyeurism, the court will charge you with a felony rather than a misdemeanor if you record, spy, or otherwise observe a minor for your own gratification.

The court may also charge you with a felony for multiple or repeat offenses, which is the case for many crimes, whether sex crimes, driving violations, or trespassing. Work with your criminal lawyer if a court has already convicted you of similar charges in the past.

How Are State and Federal Sex Crime Laws Enforced?

The difference between sex crimes in Ohio and federal sex crimes often depends on the type of crime and the location of the victims. Any criminal offense that requires travel between states becomes a federal crime.

If the state charges you with possession of child pornography and if the victims are in other states or countries, your case would also become a federal case. Federal agents would investigate the possibility of a more extensive distribution network of pornographic materials and sex trafficking of the minors involved.

Additionally, a conviction will bring a much stricter sentence if your case is brought before the federal court system. You should work to build a solid defense with a criminal defense attorney knowledgeable about state and federal sex crime laws.

What Are the Typical Sentences for Sex Crime Convictions?

If a court convicts you of a sex crime, your sentence would depend on the seriousness of the offense, if you had multiple convictions or if this is a repeated offense. Penalties for a first-time misdemeanor offense like public indecency can include less than a year in jail, nominal fines, mandated counseling, community service, and probation.

Serious offenses will result in harsher penalties, including additional jail time, an extended prison sentence, and mandatory registration on the national sex offender registry. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you present your case effectively and avoid a conviction that could be debilitating to your personal and professional life.

Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

If convicted of a sex crime, you may have to register as a sex offender on the national sex offender registry. Any felon convicted of a sex crime must register after serving any jail or prison sentence before rejoining society.

You will also have to adhere to additional restrictions as a registered sex offender. You won’t be able to live within 1,000 feet of any school or daycare facility, and this may include home-based daycare facilities if the home includes posted signage.

If you have been convicted of a sex crime and are required to register with the national sex offender registry, your criminal defense attorney can explain any obligations or restrictions you must follow.

How Can I Build a Defense Against a Sex Crime Accusation?

Criminal sex cases are complicated due to their nature. Robust defense strategies generally include factual innocence, proven consent, and mistaken identity. You may also build your case around lack of or tainted evidence.

If the state charges you with solicitation of prostitution as part of a police operation, you generally should not use the entrapment defense. Entrapment qualifies when a police officer entices you into committing a crime you wouldn’t have committed otherwise. If you were arrested during a prostitution sting, the court usually determines that you were going to solicit prostitution when you were arrested.

If you are charged with a sex crime, you should seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending individuals facing similar charges. Each case is unique and contacting an attorney will help ensure that your case is handled correctly.

Contact Our Team at Bangerter Law Office

Matthew Bangerter is a sex crime defense attorney based in Willoughby, Ohio. With 14 years as a criminal lawyer, including nearly three years as a prosecuting attorney, he takes his profession as a criminal defense attorney seriously and ensures that he is up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies. If you have been convicted of a sex crime, call the Bangerter Law Office at (440) 340-1740 to set up your initial consultation and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking. You can also fill out our contact us form here.


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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


The Bangerter Law Office
4124 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 340-1740