If you were accused of committing a sexual offense, you may be overwhelmed. There are numerous consequences related to sex crimes outside of the legal penalties, so it is important to consult an experienced 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, which may follow you even if you move states. Further, the social stigma attached to these allegations can threaten your standing in your community regardless of the outcome of the case.
It may be important to enlist the services of an aggressive Omaha sex crimes 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 may be invaluable. At Berry Law, we have defended many clients accused of sexual misconduct, and we understand the difficult battle our clients face.
Behaviors 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. The specific 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.
The most serious offenses fall under first-degree sexual assault. This refers to any sexual penetration of a person without his or her 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. First-degree sexual assault is a Class II felony punishable by one to 50 years in prison.
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, this is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
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:
Loss of Constitutional Rights
If convicted of a felony sex crime, you could lose a number of their constitutional rights. These 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 required to 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, you must remain on the registry for 15 years. The required registration period is 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 lawyer to represent you in your sex crime case.
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 working to convict you. You should have an equally dedicated defense lawyer on your side building up your case as well. Take the time to call our team for help. Our lawyers can assess your sex crime case and get to work immediately to protect your future.
When we take a case, we start by doing our own independent investigations, 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 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. Some common defense strategies 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 making the case 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, such as when the reporting witness 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, we could prove a sex offense did not occur as alleged by establishing you were not present when the incident was said to have occurred.
The accusing witness in a sex crime case can make mistakes. In some cases, the reporting witness could be intoxicated or otherwise unable to fully take in the events. In others, the alleged perpetrator could have been unrecognizable. In either situation, it is possible that the reporting witness could come to the wrong conclusion and accuse an innocent person.
This defense is especially common when the police push a witness to their preferred suspect. Making the case of mistaken identity often focuses on establishing an alibi and highlighting discrepancies between the defendant’s appearance and the way the reporting witness initially described his or her 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 could be possible to exclude any evidence obtained through illegal means from the trial. This may be enough to have the case dismissed entirely.
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 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 an local attorney familiar with sex crime cases.
Speak with an Omaha Sex Crimes Attorney Today
An Omaha sex crimes lawyer could help build a strong defense against any possible charges. A conviction can have long-lasting effects on a person’s reputation and freedom, so it is critical to begin fighting them as soon as possible.
Reach out to the diligent 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 to schedule a confidential consultation.