Willoughby Sex Crime Lawyer

Home /  Willoughby Sex Crime Lawyer

Testimonials

Sex Offense Attorney in Willoughby

A sex offense charge is among the most serious crimes. Not only is your freedom at stake, but so is your reputation and your ability to support a family. Given the gravity of the charges, this is a more important time than ever to have a legal advocate review your case and help you build a defense. You have rights, and you need a dedicated professional to look out for your interests.

Sex crimes can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Various factors determine what the charge will be.

The team at Fortress Law Group will advise you on what to do next. We will give you an honest overview of what you face, but we will fight vigorously to help you get the best outcome.

Types of Sex Crimes in Ohio

In Ohio, as in other states in the country, the consequences of a sex crime conviction can be severe. Misdemeanor charges include public indecency or unlawful sex with a minor (depending on the minor’s age). Felony charges include:

At Fortress Law Group, we defend good people accused of bad things. Contact us today for a case evaluation to review your case and options.

Sex Offender Registration in Ohio

As with other serious crimes, the penalties for sex crimes can vary depending on the age of the victim and whether the accused person has any prior offenses. First, if you are charged with a sex crime, you could face a negative stigma in the community in which you live. It will likely damage how people view and interact with you.

In Ohio, sex crimes come in three tiers. Tier I offenses are for minor sexual crimes. The more serious offenses are in Tier II and Tier III. A first-degree felony falls under Tier III. A conviction can carry several years of prison time. If you have additional counts, and if there were other circumstances surrounding your charge, you could face even more prison time. In addition, there are heavy fines for sex crimes. Plus, you will have to register as a sex offender, a requirement that could last for the rest of your life.

The sex offender registration requirement for Tier I convictions is to register once a year, for 15 years. In Tier II, the offender must register every 180 days, for 25 years. Tier III offenders must register every 90 days, for life.

Defense Strategies For Sex Crime Charges In Ohio

Remember that everyone at trial is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Fortress Law Group will take the most effective, sensible approach to defending our clients. First, we will explore whether you had an alibi during the alleged incident or incidents. We will also consider whether any DNA evidence suggests that you are not guilty of the charges.

At Fortress Law Group, our legal team has a strong background in forensic evidence and molecular genetics. Forensic evidence can make a significant difference in your case, and this is a strength you want on your side.

In some sex crime charges, there may be other alleged perpetrators involved besides you, or perhaps someone else should have been charged instead of you. Schedule a case evaluation today, so we can help you determine the best options for your situation.

FAQs About Sex Crimes

Now let’s explore a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions regarding individuals facing a sex offense:

What Is the First Thing A Person Should Do If They Are Charged with A Sex Crime?

When confronted with a sex crime charge, the absolute first move is to grab that phone and dial up an attorney without delay. They’ll be the guiding beacon in these stormy waters, and the right attorney will immediately advise you to abstain from making any statements. It’s a crucial time to safeguard yourself to the fullest and seek immediate legal counsel. Remember, swift action and wise guidance are the keys to weathering this storm.

Does Hiring an Attorney for a Sex Crime Accusation Make You Look Guilty?

Let’s dive into the intricacies of public opinion when it comes to individuals charged with sex crimes. Here’s the deal: Seeking the services of a skilled attorney may not automatically transform the public’s perception. Unfortunately, the prevailing sentiment tends to be that if someone is charged or arrested, there must be some wrongdoing involved. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that this perception doesn’t necessarily align with reality. Now, let’s address the concern of appearing guilty in the eyes of law enforcement and prosecutors. Incorporating the support of an attorney does not inherently cast a shadow of guilt upon the accused. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are fully aware of an individual’s constitutional right to legal representation. It’s a fundamental pillar of our justice system. So, fear not! Seeking the assistance of an attorney doesn’t hinder the likelihood of a fair trial or increase the chances of a conviction. It’s all part of the process, ensuring that defendants exercise their rights and navigate the legal landscape with a steady hand.

Is Your Life Over If You Are Charged with A Sex Crime?

In serious cases, the possibility of facing time behind bars is indeed a real one. A competent attorney will provide honest guidance, informing you of the potential outcomes you may confront. However, it’s important to recognize that there is a comprehensive process to navigate before reaching a final verdict.
A skilled attorney will diligently assist you, offering guidance and preparing you for the journey ahead, striving to achieve the best possible result. While it may feel overwhelming, it’s vital to understand that life continues beyond the legal battle. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential impact of sex offender registration, as it can significantly complicate matters throughout the duration of the registration period. Rest assured that a capable attorney will stand by your side, working tirelessly to navigate the challenges you may face and seek the most favorable resolution possible.

What Is the Mental State of a Person Facing a Sex Crime?

Individuals facing charges of a sex crime experience significant fear and apprehension due to the potential consequences, including imprisonment and being listed on the sex offender registry. These outcomes carry substantial weight and create a considerable burden for the person involved. The requirement to register as a sex offender and the subsequent public awareness within the community contribute to a heightened sense of anxiety for anyone accused of a sex offense.

What Level of Publicity Can One Expect for An Arrest and Prosecution Involving a Sex Crime?

The degree of publicity depends on the gravity of the offense. If it is a minor incident, local newspapers are unlikely to take notice, although it will be publicly known that charges have been filed. Most courts maintain online databases or dockets accessible to anyone. In more serious cases, especially within smaller communities, the incident may attract media attention and become newsworthy. Some cities conduct prostitution stings, where law enforcement advertises as prostitutes and subsequently arrests individuals who respond and arrive at designated locations. Furthermore, certain communities publish the names of all arrested individuals in newspapers. Hence, it is highly plausible for the incident to become public knowledge.

What Level of Publicity Can One Expect for An Arrest and Prosecution Involving a Sex Crime?

The degree of publicity depends on the gravity of the offense. If it is a minor incident, local newspapers are unlikely to take notice, although it will be publicly known that charges have been filed. Most courts maintain online databases or dockets accessible to anyone. In more serious cases, especially within smaller communities, the incident may attract media attention and become newsworthy. Some cities conduct prostitution stings, where law enforcement advertises as prostitutes and subsequently arrests individuals who respond and arrive at designated locations. Furthermore, certain communities publish the names of all arrested individuals in newspapers. Hence, it is highly plausible for the incident to become public knowledge.

What is the Biggest Mistake Someone Can Make While Facing a Sex Crime?

Listen up, because this is the golden rule: Under no circumstances should you proceed without consulting an attorney first. It’s a colossal blunder—one that can jeopardize your entire case. Picture this: You walk into the police station, eager to spill your side of the story, and engage in an interview or interrogation without the presence of legal counsel. Regrettably, such a choice is likely to have unfavorable consequences for your defense. If law enforcement has enough evidence to charge you, you will never be able to talk them out of it; alternatively, if they do not have sufficient evidence to bring charges against you, an interview could likely worsen the situation and provide grounds for an indictment. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough that the most significant misstep lies in failing to reach out to your attorney before proceeding with anything else.

Is There Typically a Prior Relationship Between the Individuals Involved in A Sex Crime or Are They Usually Strangers?

In the majority of sex crime cases, the parties involved usually have a preexisting relationship. Particularly in instances of sexual abuse, such as child abuse or domestic violence, the perpetrator tends to be someone known to the victim. These individuals are often friends, family members, acquaintances, or individuals with whom the victim has some level of familiarity. It is relatively uncommon for the offender to be a complete stranger.

If The Accuser Decides Not to Press Charges, Will the Case Be Dropped?

There are many victims who decide not to pursue charges in sex offense cases. We often see this with domestic violence cases as well. While charges are typically not automatically dropped when an accuser decides not to press charges, there are instances where the alleged victim may recant their statement. There are various reasons behind these recantations. Some individuals may claim that the incident never took place, while others admit to fabricating the story. Alternatively, they may genuinely choose not to pursue the case any further, often out of concern for the accused or the realization that the situation may have been blown out of proportion. However, it’s important to understand that once the case is in the hands of the police and the prosecutor, the decision to proceed or not rests with them, not solely with the alleged victim. In many cases, charges are still pursued because there are instances where the alleged victim may have been coerced, threatened, or influenced to withdraw their accusations. These situations often involve less severe offenses. It’s worth noting that in cases of violent rape, even if an accuser expresses a desire not to press charges, it is highly unlikely that the charges will be dropped—virtually impossible, in fact. However, in less severe cases like indecent exposure, if the victim indicates a willingness to move on from the incident, the prosecutor may take their wishes into consideration. As a result, there is a possibility of charges being reduced or the opportunity to engage in plea negotiations. It is important to note that the final decision rests with the prosecutor, who will assess the circumstances and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Are Drugs and Alcohol Often a Significant Factor in Sex Crime Cases?

Drugs and alcohol can indeed play a significant role in sex crime cases. The impairment caused by substance use can contribute to situations where consent may be unclear or invalidated. In some instances, individuals may engage in sexual activities without fully comprehending the implications due to their impaired judgment. On the other hand, it’s important to understand that voluntary intoxication does not serve as a defense for committing a crime in Ohio. So, if someone becomes intoxicated and ends up engaging in criminal behavior, they are still held accountable for their actions. This principle applies to various offenses, including DUI, violent crimes, and even sex crimes. Merely stating that a person was under the influence or impaired will not alleviate their responsibility for the crime committed.

What Occurs in Cases Where the Accuser Claims the Offense Happened During Their Childhood?

Prosecuting such cases becomes challenging in the absence of evidence, making it progressively difficult over time. When these cases proceed to trial, the jury must decide whom to believe. They must evaluate the credibility of the accuser, who recounts events from many years ago. While physical evidence can be beneficial to the prosecutor, it does not guarantee an easy case. In Cleveland, there exists a backlog of unresolved cases involving child rape, some of which are now twenty years old. The crime lab is only recently beginning to process these cases, and in certain instances, matches are found in the DNA database, leading to charges for crimes committed over two decades ago. Additionally, the legislature has extended the statute of limitations to allow for more time to process these older cases. Initially set at twenty years, it has been expanded by an additional five years. Consequently, some defendants have had their charges dismissed due to the expiration of the previous statute of limitations, which is a significant period. The legislature’s extension aims to provide the courts with adequate time to handle these delayed cases of child rape.

Are Sex Crimes Eligible for Bail?

Certainly. The court establishes a bond amount to facilitate the release of the person from jail. Like any other case, the judge considers the risk of the individual fleeing and not appearing in court, as well as the potential danger to the public. A more severe or high-profile offense typically results in a higher bond, whereas a less serious offense may have a lower bond. This type of bond is referred to as a personal bond, requiring the individual to provide a monetary sum for their release.

What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Sex Crimes?

Crimes of a more severe nature are classified as felonies and encompass offenses such as rape, sexual battery, and gross sexual imposition. In addition, there are offenses that fall into a gray area, such as unlawful sex with a minor, which can be categorized as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the age of the minor involved. Furthermore, there are lower-level infractions such as public indecency and solicitation, which are classified as misdemeanor charges.

Can Sex Crimes Become Federal Cases?

If there is any form of interstate activity, such as interstate travel or involvement in another state, sex crime cases can potentially become federal cases. However, the majority of cases typically fall under the jurisdiction of state law. It is worth noting that certain types of cases, like those involving child pornography, have a higher likelihood of being pursued at the federal level. This is due to the nature of the offense, as the transmission or downloading of such explicit images often occurs online across state lines, prompting federal authorities to frequently intervene in these instances.

Do Most Sex Crime Cases Go to Trial?

The courtroom showdowns we often envision in sex crime cases are quite rare. In fact, only a small fraction, approximately three to five percent, of these cases make their way to trial. The majority of them are resolved through negotiated agreements or, in some instances, dismissed altogether. This often involves skillful maneuvering to secure a charge reduction or a mutually beneficial plea bargain. It’s essential to recognize that legal resolutions are commonly reached outside the courtroom, as both sides strive for a fair and efficient resolution to the case at hand.

What Happens If a Person Is Found Innocent or The Charges Are Dropped? Can They Return to Normal Life or Are There Long-Term Consequences?

Once an individual is found innocent or if the charges against them are dropped, it is indeed a significant relief. If you’re found innocent, you have a shot at sealing that victory. When you’re found not guilty, or the charges against you are dismissed for any reason, that arrest and dismissal can be sealed away from public record. A savvy attorney would make sealing that record a top priority. Why? Well, it ensures that arrest won’t appear during background checks, saving you from potential red flags when pursuing employment opportunities. Beyond that, there are no restrictions on where you can work or reside. The only challenge might be dealing with lingering memories within the community. Now, let’s get real. If someone recalls your past brush with the law, it’s a personal journey to navigate. Some folks choose to relocate to a fresh community, while others simply wait for the dust to settle once it’s no longer making headlines. As long as it wasn’t a high-profile case, time will eventually work its magic, fading the memory away, and granting you the freedom to move forward with your life.

What Is Considered a Good Outcome in Sex Crime Cases?

If there is any form of interstate activity, such as interstate travel or involvement in another state, sex crime cases can potentially become federal cases. However, the majority of cases typically fall under the jurisdiction of state law. It is worth noting that certain types of cases, like those involving child pornography, have a higher likelihood of being pursued at the federal level. This is due to the nature of the offense, as the transmission or downloading of such explicit images often occurs online across state lines, prompting federal authorities to frequently intervene in these instances.

Can Sex Crime Convictions Be Expunged or Sealed?

Sex offense convictions cannot be expunged in Ohio. The expungement statute specifically excludes sex offenses from being eligible for sealing, meaning they remain on your record indefinitely. If you have been convicted of a sex offense, contact Fortress Law Group for an initial consultation at (440) 595-4085. You can also visit our office at 4124 Erie Street, Willoughby, OH 44094, to obtain the information and legal guidance you seek.