If you are facing New York sex crime charges, you are facing consequences that are both immediate and long-lasting. The stigma of a sex crime charge will attach itself to you from the minute you are arrested, tarnishing your reputation and causing upheaval in your career and family. If you are convicted, incarceration and registration as a sex offender will likely follow, making your ordeal even more catastrophic. In the face of these threats to your future, and with prosecutors determined to put you behind bars, you need an experienced and tenacious Albany sex crimes attorney on your side who will fight to protect your rights, your freedom and your good name.
At the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC, we understand what’s at stake for individuals facing Albany sex crimes charges. We also understand that effectively defending against such charges requires skill, tenacity and an appreciation of the unique issues and challenges involved in sex crime cases. We are relentless in our efforts to defend our clients and have over 15 years of experience delivering positive results for those charged with crimes in and around Albany and throughout New York.
In addition to the severe penalties involved, sex crime allegations and charges present unique challenges for those accused of such offenses. In many instances, sex crime allegations involve a “he said, she said” situation. There are generally no witnesses to the alleged crime and no evidence or injuries to support the accuser’s statements. While these allegations may ultimately prove to be false, they can still be devastating and long-lasting.
Additionally, your accuser may have different motivations for falsely accusing you of sexual assault, rape or another sex crime offense. Perhaps he or she wants to scare you into doing things or is seeking revenge for something that has taken place between the two of you in the past. In some situations, individuals have been known to accuse an innocent person of a sex crime to gain leverage in other court proceedings, such as matters involving divorce, child custody and spousal support. Regardless of what your accuser’s underlying motivations may be, the end result is a criminal prosecution that puts your entire life on the line.
Many sexual offenses fall in the category of “strict liability crimes,” which means that the prosecution does not have to prove that you intentionally broke the law. Unlike other criminal offenses, individuals can be punished for a strict liability offense even if they had no knowledge that their acts were criminal in nature.
For instance, in cases involving statutory rape, a person can be found guilty of rape even if he or she believed that their sexual partner was of legal age to consent to sex. This means that if you engage in consensual sex with a 15-year-old who has told you that he or she is 18 years old, you can still be convicted of statutory rape because having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old is a strict liability crime. Although you may have made an honest mistake believing that you were sleeping with an adult, this does not matter in the eyes of the law.
A core issue in almost all sex crime prosecutions is the issue of consent. The lack of consent to sexual contact is a required element that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in most cases. This includes unwanted sexual contact with someone who has explicitly or implicitly denied their consent, but also someone who is legally incapable of giving consent.
Individuals who are legally incapable of giving consent to sexual contact include:
If you are convicted of a sex offense in Albany or elsewhere in New York, you will serve time behind bars. This could be years or decades of your life spent in prison. But once you have served your sentence, your ordeal is far from over. In many ways, the sentence for a New York sex crime conviction is never-ending, as you will have to register as a sex offender under the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).
The label of “registered sex offender” is one that will follow you around for decades and possibly the rest of your life. Sex offender registration can limit where you can work, live and travel, and your conviction and sex offender status may be viewable by anyone with access to the internet.
The likelihood of such consequences adds even more incentive to fight the charges with everything you have, which should include having a skilled Albany sex crimes attorney on your side.
New York law requires a person convicted of a “sex offense” to register as a sex offender with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. This include individuals who plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. New York law lists almost 50 separate criminal offenses that require registration upon conviction.
Some of the most common Albany sex crimes that result in mandatory sex offender registration include:
Additionally, individuals currently residing in New York state who were convicted in another jurisdiction must register under SORA if they were convicted of an offense equivalent to a New York State registerable sex offense, they were convicted of a felony requiring registration in the conviction jurisdiction, or they were convicted of certain sex offenses under federal law.
Under SORA, sex offenders are divided into three different levels – Level 1 (low risk of re-offense), Level 2 (medium risk of re-offense) and Level 3 (high risk of re-offense).
When an offender is set to finish his or her term of incarceration and released into the community, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders will evaluate the offender’s case and make a risk level recommendation to the court. The court will then hold a risk level hearing and assign a level to the offender prior to release. This is a critical issue, as the risk level will determine how harsh the restrictions on your life will be.
At the SORA hearing, the court may also designate the offender as either a sexual predator, a sexually-violent offender or a predicate sex offender. Along with the risk level, this designation determines the duration of the registration:
As burdensome as sex offender registration obligations can be, violating those obligations can make the situation even worse. A first conviction for failing to perform any registration obligation is punishable as a Class E felony; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class D felony. These can send you back to prison.
If you are facing sex crime allegations or charges in Albany or elsewhere in the state, the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC can help. James E. Tyner is a leading Albany sex crimes attorney representing individuals throughout Albany and surrounding areas in New York. He provides attentive service and aggressive defense to clients facing all types sex crime charges, including cases involving:
Sex crimes often involve a “he said, she said” situation, and in most cases, there are no witnesses or evidence to support the statements of the accuser. Even if the allegations prove to be false, they can still destroy your reputation and your future. With so much on the line, you need to seek the advice of an experienced Albany sex crimes attorney who can thoroughly investigate the allegations, challenge the evidence and witnesses relied on by prosecutors, and work to uncover the truth in your case.
In Albany and throughout the state of New York, you can be charged with statutory rape for having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 even if the sex was consensual. Statutory rape is considered a strict liability offense, which means that the government does not have to prove that you intentionally broke the law. Even if your partner lied to you and told you that she was 19 when she was really 16, you can be convicted of violating the law for having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 17.
As you probably know, you have the right to remain silent, as well as the right to an attorney. You should exercise both of those rights.
The first thing you should do is consult with an attorney immediately. You should never speak to law enforcement without your legal counsel being present. An “innocent” conversation with the police can quickly go bad and what you say can be used against you later on in court. A skilled Albany sex crimes lawyer can protect your rights and properly advise you on how to respond to the police’s questions.
Most people who are accused of internet pornography or another type of internet sex crime have never been in trouble with the law before. The best thing you can do is speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Even if your online activities have been completely legal, someone else may have used your computer or your IP address to download child pornography. You should never say or admit anything to law enforcement until you have consulted with your attorney. Additionally, you should never give the police your consent to search your computer or home unless your lawyer has advised you to do so.
Regardless of the New York sex crimes charges you may be facing, the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC will advise you of all of your options, stand by your side throughout your case, and work tirelessly to build the strongest defense possible. Contact our firm today by calling 866-642-3897 or contacting us online to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help you during this difficult time.