The consequences of a sexual assault conviction can be quite devastating. Those who are convicted of sexual assault charges may face a number of consequences ranging from jail or prison time to mandatory registration as a sex offender. Typically, a judge will determine the penalties for someone convicted of sexual assault, after a jury finds the defendant guilty.
Judges rely on a number of factors to determine how a defendant must be sentenced. They will look at criminal statutes to determine a range of punishments for sexual assault. This could involve a minimum and maximum jail or prison term, and fines or other penalties.
In a sexual assault case, judges will also consider what are known as “aggravating” and “mitigating” factors when they determine the precise sentence for a sexual assault conviction. Aggravating factors are those elements of the crime or the defendant’s criminal history, which call for a harsher punishment. Mitigating factors are those that make a case for a lighter sentence.
It is important to note that each state has different laws when it comes to sexual assault sentencing and penalties. In addition, if you are convicted of a federal crime, the sentencing schedule might be different. Under California law, a sexual assault conviction could result in up to 48 months in prison and a possible $10,000 fine. The judge will determine the appropriate prison sentence and fine depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
In addition to prison time and monetary fines, one of the most devastating consequences of a sexual assault conviction is the requirement to register as a sex offender for life. California legislators voted in 2017 to reduce the length of time required for sex offender registration. This means a number of registrants statewide won’t be tracked or publicly identified.
However, if you make it to the registry, even for a shorter period of time, it could significantly affect your ability to get a job or even housing. You will be required to report your whereabouts to law enforcement officials and since the sex offender registry is public record, those who have done time for sexual assault have even faced protests from neighbors leading them to be evicted from their homes.
Sentencing in federal sexual assault cases takes into account a number of factors including the defendant’s criminal history and his or her admission of guilt or taking responsibility for the crime. Those convicted of a federal sexual assault crime could get up to 20 years in federal prison and face fines. In addition, federal law requires those convicted of sexual assault must compensate victims for expenses related to the crime such as attorney’s fees, medical expenses or therapy costs.
It is evident that a sexual assault conviction could result in penalties that can prove life-changing. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Orange County sexual assault defense lawyer who will advocate for your rights and help build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges.