Los Angeles Sex Crimes – Frequently Asked Questions

Sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses charged in the Los Angeles area and those convicted can face lengthy prison sentences, registration on the sex offender registry and lifelong collateral consequences. As a result, people who are under investigation for a sex crime or who have been charged with this type of offense often have many questions. The following are some commonly asked questions regarding sex crimes.

Q: "What is the Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes in California?"

Under Penal Code § 801.1, certain felony sex offenses must be charged by the victim's 40th birthday if the victim was a minor under the age of 18 when the offense occurred or within ten years for offenses in which the victim is an adult who is 18 or over. This a significantly longer statute of limitations when compared to most other felonies, which typically must be filed within three or four years.

Even if the statute of limitations has expired, there may be exceptions that extend it for sex offenses. For example, under Penal Code § 803(f)(1), if the victim was a minor at the time of the offense and is now over 40, there may be an exception if the charge is filed within one year of reporting the offense and there is independent, corroborating evidence. The independent evidence must be something other than the opinion of a mental health professional and usually involves the use of a pretext call, in which the suspect acknowledges that inappropriate conduct occurred in the past.

In addition, there is a DNA Exception Rule in Penal Code § 803(g), which states that the District Attorney can file charges within one year of the discovery of DNA evidence that links the suspect to a rape or sexual assault.

Q: "If convicted of a Sex Crime, Do I have to Register as a Sex Offender?"

Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 384, anyone convicted of a sex offense that required registration under Penal Code § 290 was required to register as a sex offender for life. Now, a person convicted of a sex offense requiring 290 registration may register for a period of 10, 20 or life, depending on the conviction.

Tier 1 registrants are required to register for a period of ten years. Tier 1 includes all misdemeanor sex offenses, including sexual battery pursuant to Penal Code § 243.4 and annoying or molesting a child under Penal Code § 647.6. This also includes certain felony offenses, including oral copulation or sodomy where there is no force or violence.

Tier 2 registration requires a 20-year registration period and includes offenses such as lewd acts with a minor under 14 pursuant to Penal Code § 288 and contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony in violation of Penal Code § 288.3.

Lifetime registration is required for Tier 3 convictions, which include offenses such as possession of child pornography under Penal Code § 311.11 and most rape offenses under Penal Code § 261.

Some sex crimes do not require registration, such as statutory rape in violation of Penal Code § 261.5.

Anyone who was originally sentenced to lifetime registration can petition to have their registration period terminated if their offense was a Tier 1 or Tier 2 crime.

If you have been named as a suspect in a sex crime or are currently facing sex crimes charges, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively fight these types of allegations.

For more information about sex crimes, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Michael Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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