Cleveland Sex Crime Lawyer

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Cleveland Sex Crimes Attorney

Sex-related criminal offenses can carry harsh penalties, and these penalties can vary widely based on the specific details of a case. If you have been charged with any such offense, it is crucial to have trustworthy legal counsel on your side. The right Cleveland sex crimes lawyer can represent your defense, help you avoid conviction if possible, or mitigate your penalties if necessary.

The Fortress Law Group has years of professional experience with criminal defense, and our team is ready to provide the counsel you need for your impending case. We understand that you are likely concerned about the penalties you could face if you are convicted and how you can prove your innocence if you have been wrongfully accused. Whatever your case entails, trust our firm to provide ongoing support through every phase of your proceedings.

How Are Sex Crimes Defined Under Ohio Law

There is an entire section of Ohio law under the Ohio Revised Code that lists specific sex offenses, so anything found in that section is a sex offense. There are many sex crimes that can lead to serious penalties, and these offenses can be tried as misdemeanors or felonies.

Misdemeanor And Felony Sex Crimes

The more serious crimes are considered felonies and include rape, sexual battery, and gross sexual imposition. Generally, the most serious sex crimes involve some type of assault against an unwilling victim. The nature of the offense and the age and condition of the victim are major factors for consideration when it comes to the severity of the penalties the defendant could face if they are convicted.

Then there are crimes on the borderline like unlawful sex with a minor. it could be a felony, or it could be a misdemeanor depending on the age of the minor. These cases can arise in many ways, such as an individual not realizing that a sexual partner is under the age of consent. It is vital for the defendant in this type of case to have defense counsel they can trust to help them explain their side of the situation to the court.

There are also lower level issues like public indecency that are misdemeanors and solicitation is a misdemeanor. Although misdemeanors typically incur less severe penalties than felonies, the penalties you could face if you are convicted of a misdemeanor can still be quite harsh and may include mandatory registration as a sex offender along with fines and jail time.

Generally, if a sex crime involves harm to a victim, it is likely to lead to felony prosecution. Additionally, the defendant’s criminal record can also cause them to face felony charges and/or harsher penalties in sentencing. If the defendant harmed a victim, they are also likely to face a civil claim for damages, and the criminal court may order them to pay restitution to the victim along with their other assigned penalties.

Mental State Of People Charged With A Sex Crime

They are pretty scared, both with the fear, or the threat of prison time and the sex offense registry, as these are serious consequences. It is a very heavy burden for a person to have to register as a sex offender and have the whole community know about it. There is definitely a lot of anxiety for anyone who is charged with a sex crime.

When you choose the Fortress Law Group to represent your defense, you can expect compassionate and respectful treatment from our team and keen attention to detail in building your defense. Trust us to listen to your story, determine your most effective possible defenses, and guide you through the various proceedings ahead of you. Our goal is to help you avoid conviction if at all possible or, at the very least, minimize the penalties assigned to you.

In Sex Crime Cases, Do People Know Each Other, Or Are They Strangers?

The vast majority of sex crimes are with people who know each other, especially with any kind of sexual abuse, like any kind of child abuse or domestic violence situation, it is people who are friends, family, acquaintances, people that you know. It is much rarer for it to be a complete stranger.

What Makes The Case To Be A Federal Or State Level Case?

The cases will become federal cases if there is any kind of interstate activity, interstate travel or involvement in another state. Most cases will be state level. A common case that will come up as a federal case is child pornography because those images are transmitted or downloaded online, interstate, and feds get involved with those very often.

Know Your Rights in a Criminal Case

Every American citizen has two very important rights protected by the US Constitution that come into effect upon arrest for any criminal offense. The Fifth Amendment preserves the right to remain silent and protects against self-incrimination. When you are placed under arrest for any crime, you have no obligation to answer questions or act as a witness against yourself. The Sixth Amendment ensures your right to legal counsel when you are accused of a crime.

Do not make the mistake of attempting to explain your way out of an arrest. Remember that the arresting officers have no incentive to help you and that any statements you make will be recorded in the police report. Taken out of context, certain statements may sound like admissions of guilt and will work against you in various ways. Even if you know you have been wrongfully charged, remain silent until you can speak with a Cleveland sex crimes lawyer.

Remember that the criminal justice system of the United States functions on the premise that the defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. While the nature of a sex offense may not reflect well upon you even before your trial begins, the reality is that you must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and this is a more difficult standard of proof to reach than many people realize.

Your Cleveland sex crimes lawyer can ensure your constitutional rights are respected through all stages of your case, and they will also be invaluable for addressing any procedural errors or due process violations that may occur. Ultimately, hiring an experienced defense attorney is one of the most effective ways to protect your rights in any criminal case.

How Your Defense Attorney Can Help

One of the most difficult aspects of facing prosecution for a sex offense is the social stigma attached to these crimes. Once you have been accused and arrested, your community may turn against you in various ways before you have even had a trial. It’s common for people charged with sex offenses to face ostracism from friends and family, lose their jobs, and even lose their professional licenses, forcing them to find new employment in a new line of work.

Your Cleveland sex crimes lawyer can be your most valuable asset in the difficult proceedings ahead of you. They will explain the legal mechanisms in play so you can understand your case more clearly, examine the evidence the prosecution has prepared against you, and assist you in building an alibi if you have been wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit.

If you did break the law in some way, your situation is not entirely hopeless. A good defense attorney can still help you reach a much better result than you would have been able to secure on your own through the plea bargaining process. While this will not be an option for every defendant, a plea bargain can potentially help a defendant avoid the worst possible penalties that might be included in their sentence.

It’s possible for a prosecutor to offer a plea deal if they are convinced that they have more than enough evidence to secure a conviction but wish to conserve court resources. However, a prosecutor may also offer a plea deal if they are unsure whether they can win at trial, and they may be hoping to secure a plea deal and ensure a conviction due to the defendant’s fear. Your Cleveland sex crimes lawyer can determine whether a plea deal would suit your interests.

What to Do When You’re Facing Sex Crime Charges?

When someone facing a sex crime charge the first thing to do is to call an attorney. The attorney will advise them not to make any statements. They need to protect themselves at that point as much as they can and they need to get legal advice immediately.

What Should Someone Do If They Are Afraid To Get An Attorney For Fear Of Looking Guilty?

First of all, the public perception is not going to change even if they have hired an attorney. When someone is charged for such a crime, there is always going to be a perception if somebody is charged or arrested. They usually say, “They must have done something wrong” even though that is not necessarily the case.

As far as looking guilty to the police or the prosecutor, it does not affect that at all, as it does not make them look guilty. Police and prosecutors know that a person has a right to an attorney and it is not going to cause them any problems or make it any less likely that they get found guilty just because they got an attorney, which is actually one of their basic fundamental rights.

When Someone Is Arrested And Charged With A Sex Crime, Is Their Life Over? Will They Be Thrown In Prison?

As far as worrying about being thrown in prison, if it is a serious case, they could face that. A good attorney will be upfront in telling then what they could be facing. However, there is really a lot of work to do to work through the case to see if that is going to be the actual end result.

A good attorney will try to talk them through it, prepare them and get the best result they can. In most cases, their life is not over but in many cases, there is a sex offender registration and it could make things very difficult for them for the length of their registration.

Mistakes People Make That Can Hurt Their Case

The biggest and really the only big mistake you can make is to not talk to an attorney before you do anything else. If the person decides they want to tell their story as they go into the police station, they submit to an interview or an interrogation without an attorney present, then that will generally hurt their case. So, the biggest mistake is not calling their attorney before they do anything else.

If you have been Facing A Sex Crime Charge, call the law office of Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 340-1740 to start thinking about your sex crime defense.

What Is The Best Way To Defend A Sex Crime Charge?

In this article criminal defense attorney, Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. explains you what is the best way to defend a sex crime charge?

Do Most Sex Crime Cases Typically Go To Trial?

Very few sex crimes or otherwise go to trial. It is about three to five percent of cases that actually end up in trial. Most of them are settled with some sort of agreement if not a dismissal. Then there is some sort of an agreement to reduce a charge or some other sort of plea bargain.

Is Self-Representation Alright Or Even Going With A Public Defender In These Types Of Cases?

Of course, anyone can try to represent themselves but if you are not a trained attorney, you do not know the statutes. You do not know the procedures and the way the courts work. It is unwise at best. In the case of sex offenses, there could be the need for DNA analysis.

If the prosecutor has a DNA profile, then the defense can also have their own DNA on the list. They can take a look at that and make sure that is accurate or find any holes in the case. In the case of child victims, there could be the need to not only hire but understand a forensic psychologist or a forensic psychiatric, someone to interview these children and can make sure that the children are telling the truth.

There are medical records if there is any sort of physical harm that needs to be examined. In these cases, there is a need to have some sort of expert on the case to give an opinion. So, it is very difficult for a person to do an excellent job defending themselves.

Talking about public defenders, public defenders are licensed attorneys like other attorneys. Their disadvantage is that public defenders do not tend to get budgets so they do not have as much staff as they typically need and they have very heavy caseloads. That is really the big advantage of a private attorney that they are managing their caseload properly, so they will be able to devote more time to each individual case.

What Is Considered A Good Outcome In A Sex Crime Case?

Generally, in a sex case, the biggest victory is keeping someone off a registration or maybe having a reduced registration requirement because even with prison on the table, the registry is the most burdensome.

You may hear people saying that they would rather do more time in prison and less time on a sex offender registry because it has that big of an impact on their lives. Any time an attorney can mitigate that or even remove that, that is a pretty big victory in a case.

If you are not sure what is the Best Way To Defense for A Sex Crime Charge, call the law office of Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 340-1740 or visit our office 4124 Erie Street Willoughby, OH 44094 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

What are The Consequences of A Sex Crime?

Here are some consequences of a sex crime:

The Automatic Stigma People Face When Charged With a Sex Crime

Quite a few sex crimes are some of the most socially unacceptable crimes that you can imagine.

Whether you are well known in the community or not, your acquaintances in the community could start having second thoughts about your reputation. Anytime the word “sex crime” comes up, there is some fear involved and there is definitely a stigma even just being charged with a crime.

What are the Consequences of Sex Crimes With a Conviction and What are the Long Term Effects on Someone’s Life?

As with any serious penalty or any serious felony, there can be substantial prison time. First degree felonies have three to ten years, you can get additional time on top of that for more charges, more counts, serious specifications, making the crime more serious. They can also face significant fines and registration as a sex offender, which could be as long as for the rest of your life.

Can Any Type Of Sex Crime Or Sex Conviction Ever Be Expunged Or Sealed?

No, not in Ohio. Sex offenses are specifically excluded by the expungement statute from being sealed, so those are on your record for life as well.

If Someone Is Found Innocent Or If Charges Are Dropped, Can The Person Return To Normal Life? Are There Any Long Term Consequences?

If someone is found innocent, they can get that sealed. If you are found innocent, not found guilty or not convicted for whatever reason, then that arrest and that dismissal can be sealed.

That is the first place a good attorney would start because that will prevent that arrest even from coming up in any background checks and raising any red flags with potential employers. Beyond that, there is nothing keeping anybody from getting employment, from living anywhere specific. The only thing that they would have to deal with is any community memory.

If somebody remembers that they were charged with something that is just something they have to try to work through on their own. Some people will move to a different community and for some people it will just die down eventually when it is not in the media, nobody will remember it as long as it was not a very serious case and then the person can start to move on.

If you need information regarding the Consequences Of A Sex Crime, call the law office of Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 340-1740 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

What Are The Possible Defenses That Can Be Used In Sex Crimes?

Let’s look at What are the possible defenses that can be used in sex crimes?

What Sex Crimes Defense is Right for My Case?

Depending on the case, there are certain elements that every crime contains. The prosecution has to prove every element of the case. If they cannot prove something, if they cannot prove identification, prove age, any number of things that could vary from case to case, it could be things that an attorney could defend against. In this article i will tell you in detail that what are the possible defenses that can be used in sex crimes?

Everybody is presumed innocent and the prosecutor has to prove every piece of every crime that they allege and they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is an alibi in any case, that can certainly be a defense. If there is DNA evidence that swings in your favor, then that is certainly a defense. If there is potentially another perpetrator, there can be any number of defenses, there can be as many different kinds of defenses as there are cases.

What Happens When The Accuser Decides Not To Press Charges? Are The Charges Automatically Dropped?

Yes, it does happen. It happens in sex offense cases and it also happens in domestic violence cases. Typically, they are not dropped. There are a lot of cases where an alleged victim will recant. They will either say that it did not happen they made it up for whatever reason or they did not make it up but now they do not want to pursue the case.

They may not want the person to suffer. They say maybe they blew it out of proportion, there could be any number of reasons but once the case is in the hands of the police and the prosecutor, it is no longer the alleged victim’s choice, it is up to the prosecutor and the police whether or not to pursue it.

In most cases they do because in some cases, the victim might be threatened or coerced or in some other way convinced to say that they want to drop the charges. These are cases that are not as serious. Obviously, a violent rape, even if an accuser would come back and say that they do not want to press charges. It is highly unlikely that those are going to be dropped in fact, it is pretty much impossible that those will be dropped.

However, in a minor case, such as indecent exposure and the victim says, “Well, let it go.” The prosecutor can certainly take that into account and offer some sort of reduction or plea agreement.

How Often Are Drugs And Alcohol Involved In Sex Crime Cases?

In Ohio, voluntary intoxication is not a defense for the crime, so if you get drunk and commit a crime, then you are still on the hook for the crime. It goes for DUI, violent crimes and it goes for sex crimes as well. It does not help if the defense says that a person had gotten high or drunk and committed a crime.

On the flip side, in rape or sexual battery cases, if the alleged victim is impaired, then that is one possible foundation to support a charge against the defendant because the victim was intoxicated.

Burden Of Proof for the Prosecution in These Cases

As in any criminal case, the prosecutor has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A judge would say that it is the same kind of certainty that a person would need in the most important of their affairs. They have to be as sure as they would if they were going to choose somebody to marry or invest their nest egg or any other major decision in your life because it will have a major impact on the defendant.

If you need information regarding creating a sex crimes defense, call the law office of Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at  (440) 340-1740 or visit our office 4124 Erie Street Willoughby, OH 44094 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

FAQs By Someone Convicted Of A Sex Crime

Let’s look at FAQs by someone convicted of a sex crime:

Are Sex Crimes Bondable Offenses?

Yes, they are. The court will set a bond so the person can get out of jail. As with any case, the judge has to look at the risk that they will skip town and not show up to court and the risk of any danger to the public. A more serious or a very high profile crime will have a much higher bond, whereas a less serious crime will have a lower bond.

This is called a personal bond where a person will have to put money up to be released.

How Public Is Someone’s Arrest And Prosecution Going To Be When It Comes To A Sex Crime?

It depends on the seriousness of the crime. If it is something very minor, it is unlikely that any local papers would care but it will be public that the person was charged. Most courts have an online database or an online docket that anyone can search.

If it is a more serious case or if it happens in a smaller community so it is bigger news and there could be some media attention. There are some cities that do prostitution stings where they will put an ad out posing as a prostitute and then arrest all the guys that come to the motel or wherever they have set up. Then there are some communities that will post the names of everybody arrested in the newspaper. So, it is very possible that it could be public.

What Happens In Cases Where The Accuser May Allege That This Happened When They Were A Child?

These cases are difficult to prove for the prosecution without any evidence, so they are pretty difficult and the longer it goes, the more difficult it is. If those cases go to trial, it really becomes a question of who the jury believes more. Do they believe the accuser who remembers this from many years ago or not?

If there is physical evidence, that certainly helps the prosecutor but that does not mean the case is easy. In Cleveland, there is a backlog of raped kids that were never processed. Some of them have been twenty years old now and their crime lab is just starting to process them and in some cases, they pick up hits from the DNA database and they charge these people with a crime that was committed over twenty years ago.

The legislature also increased the statute of limitations. It was twenty years and now that some of these defendants are getting dismissed because their crimes were committed more than twenty years ago, which is a long time. The legislature actually added another five years on to the statute of limitations just so the court would have more time to process these old rape kids.

FAQs About The Sex Offender Registry

Some FAQs about the sex offender registry:

What Is The National Sex Offender Registry? Does Someone Have To Be Registered For Their Entire Life If Convicted Of A Sex Crime?

It varies. There are three levels of sex offense registration. Tier one is for the least serious crimes, tier two is the most serious crimes. The tier three registration is for life, so the person ought to register for the rest of their life.

Who Can View The National Sex Offender Registry?

There are national and state level databases, and the information gets sent everywhere. Anyone can view it, you can go online and just search for sex offenders in your area and their website will pop up a little map of your neighborhood and put little red dots everywhere that a sex offender lives near you.

Does The National Sex Offender Registry Actually List The Crime Someone Was Convicted Of?

Yes. It will list their name, it will list their crime, and it will list the date. It will not give details of the crime itself, for example, if a person is charged with indecent exposure or public indecency.

There have been some cases where a person was drinking after a party and urinating in a park and got charged with public indecency. You also have what people would think of as a stereotypical flasher in the park, public indecency, and the registry does not make any differentiation between the two.

Are Juveniles Required To Register On The National Sex Offender Registry?

Depending on the crime, they can be. There are three levels as well for juveniles. There are tier one, two and three. There are some exceptions. For juveniles young enough, it is not necessarily mandatory or if they are very young, then they would not even be allowed to be registered if they are below a certain age. There is also a provision where a juvenile can either get reregistered as a reduced level or deregistered completely.

Juveniles have the opportunity to be removed if certain conditions are met and after a certain period of time, they can apply to be reclassified or declassified?

Can An Adult Ever Possibly Be Removed From The National Sex Offender Registry?

No, adults are stuck with it.

If you need more information about what the National Sex Offender Registry is, call the law office of Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at  (440) 340-1740 or visit our office 4124 Erie Street Willoughby, OH 44094 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.


Q: What Is the Romeo and Juliet Law?

A: There is no separate Romeo and Juliet statute in the state, but there is a Romeo and Juliet provision included in the state’s law concerning statutory rape. Statutory rape can include any sexual conduct between a legal adult and one party below the age of consent, but the Romeo and Juliet provision reduces the penalty if there is a smaller age difference between the two parties.

Q: What Is the Age of Consent?

Q: How Long Does Sex Offender Status Last?

Q: When Should I Contact a Cleveland Sex Crimes Lawyer?

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Cleveland Sex Crimes Lawyer?

The Fortress Law Group has the experience and resources you want on your side when building your defense against any type of sex crime allegation in Cleveland. If you have more Questions About Sex Crimes, call the law office of Sex Crime Defense Attorney Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 472-1630 or visit our office 4124 Erie Street Willoughby, OH 44094 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.