Sex crimes are on the rise like never before. On a national basis, every 68 seconds another American is sexually assaulted, and every nine minutes that victim is a child. Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence. Understanding what a sex crime is, the legal ramifications involved, and next steps to take after being accused of a sex crime can help a person navigate the legal process. 

What is a Sex Crime?

Sex crimes refer to a category of crime that arises when violence occurs during a sexual act, when there is a lack of consent by one party to the sexual act, or when the victim is legally incapable of consenting to the sexual act. There are different degrees of sex crimes that come with punishments which range in severity. 

Additionally, there is a smaller subset of sex crimes that relate to the general public. If a sexual act is inappropriately committed in a public space, it will fall under the umbrella of a sex crime. Examples such as prostitution or sexual misconduct that may affect a bystander are examples of this type. 

Common Types of Sex Crimes

There are a number of different types of sex crimes that a person may be the victim of. Understanding these different types will help a person better understand the crime they are being charged with:

  • Rape: Every state carries its own definition of rape, but it is most commonly defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse. Rape can come in different forms, but regardless of the type this is one of the worst sex crimes a person can commit, coming with a heavy sentence. 
  • Sexual Abuse: The definition of sexual abuse can vary drastically from state-to-state, but it refers to any form of non-consensual contract that is of a sexual nature. This could include groping, molestation, and more. 
  • Sexual Battery: Battery itself is defined as any form of physical contact that is illegal, with sexual battery referring to unlawful physical contact that contains a sexual component. 
  • Indecent Exposure: This sex crime occurs when a person exposes themselves in public, whether intentionally putting themselves on display or not.
  • Child Pornography: The distribution, possessions, or any form of production of child pornography is illegal. Depending on the severity of the crime, a person may be charged on the federal or state level. 
  • Sex Crimes Over the Internet: With the rise of the Internet, new types of sex crimes such as soliciting prostitutes through the Internet, or enticing a minor to meet, and more have emerged. 
  • Prostitution: In most of the US, it is illegal to exchange sexual acts for money, with this crime having a variety of different punishments. 

Who Are the Most Common Victims of Sex Crimes?

Young women are the demographic most at risk for becoming a victim of a sex crime. In fact, 82% of female victims are juveniles and 90% of adult victims of rape are reported female. Women aged 18-24, specifically college students, are also three times as likely to live through sexual violence as compared to other women. 

Legal Consequences for Being Convicted of a Sex Crime

Being convicted of a sex crime is an extremely serious situation, which is why finding a sex crime defense attorney to prove your innocence and clear your name is so important. The legal ramifications of a sex crime conviction vary depending on the type of crime committed. 

Most instances of lewd conduct will come with a misdemeanor charge and a fine. Serious crimes such as child pornography will usually come with a felony charge that can have up to six years in a state prison associated with it. 

Actions to Take When Accused of Committing a Sex Crime

If you have been charged with a sex crime, take the following steps to help ensure you can clear your name as soon as possible:

  • Reach out to your lawyer as soon as possible
  • Say nothing without your lawyer present
  • Do not give any DNA or samples until your lawyer arrives
  • Do not destroy any potential evidence to the case
  • Start thinking of who can come to your defense as a witness or alibi

Avoid having your reputation tarnished from a false accusation by finding legal counsel who can assist you with your defense.

Mount a legal defense to reduce your charges

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime you may be facing felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the nature of the accusation. These charges can come with long-lasting implications. Trust a legal defense team that specializes in sex crimes to prove your innocence in court so that you don’t face severe fines or penalties.