If you were accused of committing a sexual offense, you may be overwhelmed. There are numerous consequences related to sex crimes above and beyond the legal penalties, so it is important to consult an experienced Omaha sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
If the court convicts you of a sex crime, the government may put you on the sex offender registry for life. Being listed on this registry tags you with a negative reputation that can follow you even if you move to a different state. Further, the social stigma attached to these allegations can threaten your personal and business standing in your community regardless of the outcome of the case.
It is vitally important to enlist the services of an aggressive Omaha sex crime lawyer who can help you fight for your freedom. Having a dedicated defense attorney who is familiar with these types of allegations and court proceedings can be invaluable. At Berry Law, we have defended many clients accused of sexual misconduct, and we understand the complicated and emotionally difficult battle our clients face.
Which Behaviors are Considered Sex Crimes?
Many of the different behaviors classified as sex crimes fall into the category of sexual assault in Omaha. Some of these offenses include:
- Statutory rape
- Child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault of a child
- Solicitation of a minor
- Indecent exposure
Any of these actions can result in serious consequences and may require a person to be registered as a sex offender upon conviction. The specific charges and penalties will depend mainly on the facts of the case.
What Are the Degrees of Sexual Offenses in Omaha?
There are three levels of sexual assault charges in Nebraska: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. The type of offense you are charged with, and the corresponding penalties, will depend on the circumstances surrounding the alleged act.
First-Degree Sexual Assault
The most serious offenses fall under first-degree sexual assault. This refers to any sexual penetration of a person without their consent. In this scenario, there may be an explicit or implied lack of consent.
This offense also applies when the alleged offender is 19 or older, and the accuser is between 12 and 15 years old. First-degree sexual assault is a Class II felony punishable by one to 50 years in prison.
Second-Degree Sexual Offenses
This level of offense also involves unwanted sexual contact. For a charge to fall into this category, it must have resulted in a serious bodily injury. As a Class IIA felony, a second-degree conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Third-Degree Sexual Offenses
When there is sexual contact of a person without his or her consent that does not result in a serious bodily injury, it is referred to as third-degree sexual assault. This is a Class I misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Collateral Consequences for a Sex Crime Conviction
In addition to jail time or fines, there are other consequences that can stem from a sex crime conviction in Omaha. These are known as collateral consequences. The most common collateral consequences include:
The Loss of Constitutional Rights
If convicted of a felony sex crime, you could lose a number of your constitutional rights. These rights might include the right to vote or to own a firearm.
Employers have the right to discriminate based on a person’s criminal history. It is not unusual for employers to refuse to hire someone who has a prior criminal conviction for a sex offense. This is especially true in fields such as childcare and education.
Registering as a Sex Offender
Registering as a sex offender is something that could follow you for the rest of your life. There are numerous offenses under state law that require registration with the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry, including all forms of sexual assault. The amount of time a person must remain on this registry depends on the nature of the offense.
If you are convicted for an offense that is punishable with no more than a year in jail, your name must remain on the registry for 15 years. The registration requirement jumps to 25 years for non-violent felony sex crime convictions. Finally, more serious cases can lead to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement. Given these unfortunate consequences of a conviction, it is always best to hire a sexual crimes lawyer to represent you in your sex crime case.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
What Sophisticated Defenses Are Available for Sex Crime Accusations?
You should never sit and wait for your charges to blow over. The prosecutor is already building a case to convict you. You should have an equally dedicated defense lawyer on your side building your defense case as well. Take the time to call the Berry Law team of sex crime attorneys for help. Our lawyers can assess your sex crime case and get to work immediately to protect your future.
When we accept a case, we start by doing our own independent investigation, interviewing witnesses, and combing through the details to find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. In sex crime cases, there is usually more than one side to the story. Some accusations are even based on false allegations. It is our job to get to the bottom of a case and to work toward the most favorable outcome possible.
Depending on the unique circumstances that surround your case, some common defense strategies might include:
One of the most common defenses in a variety of sex crime cases is consent. The lack of consent during a sexual encounter is a key element of most sex crimes. By establishing that consent existed at the time the sexual contact occurred, it could be possible to defeat a sex crime charge at trial.
This defense is one of the strongest options in a number of sex crime cases, including sexual assault. However, consent is not a valid defense in every case, for example, when the accuser is a minor.
Though false allegations are rare, they are a reality in some sex crime cases. These claims could happen for any number of reasons, but a thorough investigation could help disprove them. For example, a skilled sex crimes lawyer could prove a sex offense did not occur as alleged by establishing the defendant was not present when the incident was claimed to have occurred.
An accusing witness in a sex crime case can make a mistake. In some cases, the accuser could have been intoxicated or otherwise unable to fully assess the events. In other situations, the alleged perpetrator could have been unrecognizable. In either scenario, it is possible that the reporting witness could reach the wrong conclusion and accuse an innocent person.
This defense is especially common when the police push a witness to their preferred suspect. Establishing the defense of mistaken identity often focuses on establishing an alibi and highlighting discrepancies between the defendant’s appearance and the way the accusing witness initially described their attacker.
Just like witnesses, the police can also make errors during an investigation. These could be honest mistakes or calculated acts designed to secure a conviction through unlawful means.
Fortunately, there are protections written into the United States Constitution that prohibit things like unlawful searches or seizures. It might be possible to exclude evidence obtained through illegal means from the trial. The lack of crucial evidence may be enough to have the case dismissed entirely.
What is The Age of Consent in Omaha?
One of the most common sex crimes in Omaha is statutory rape. This offense involves sexual conduct with a person who is too young to give consent according to the law. The “age of consent” is the age at which a person is considered legally competent to consent to sexual contact with another person.
Age of consent laws are complex. In general, the age of consent in Nebraska is 17. That said, the state has adopted what is known as a “Romeo and Juliet” law that allows for consensual sexual conduct between teenagers of a similar age. With the Romeo and Juliet law, a minor that is at least 16 years old may have a sexual relationship with someone who is no more than two years older than them. For example, a 16-year-old could have a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old without the older partner facing statutory rape charges.
There are exceptions to Romeo and Juliet laws. Specifically, these laws do not apply in cases where the older person is in some kind of position of authority over the minor. The most common example would be a relationship between a teacher and a student. In this situation, the age of consent in Omaha is 18.
Because of the risks associated with misunderstanding the age of consent, the best way to avoid legal complications is by discussing the matter with a sex crimes lawyer near you.
To Learn More, Speak with an Omaha Sex Crimes Attorney Today
If you are facing sexual assault accusations, an Omaha sex crimes lawyer could help build a strong defense against any possible charges. A sex crime conviction can have long-lasting effects on your reputation and freedom, so it is critical to begin fighting these charges and defending yourself as soon as possible.
Reach out to the diligent sex crime attorneys at Berry Law. They can help you understand your options and create a defense strategy to give you the best chance of an optimal outcome. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.