Frequently Asked Questions About Federal Sex Crimes
The penalties for sexual offenses can be very severe. Except for murder and drug trafficking, sex crimes against minors are the only kind of criminal offense where life imprisonment is a possible sentence. Even for less severe sex crimes, a conviction changes your life for the foreseeable future, because your name will appear on the sex offender registry for many years. If you are being accused of any crime, including a sex offense, you have the right to due process and to representation by a lawyer. Therefore, if you are being charged in federal court of a sex offense that allegedly occurred in Texas, contact a Texas sex crime attorney.
What Is the Difference Between Federal and State Sex Crimes?
The courts of Texas usually try misdemeanor sex offenses at the state level. Examples of misdemeanor sex offenses include indecent exposure (such as public nudity) or offering sexual favors in exchange for money. The more serious sex crimes are usually tried in federal court; this includes sex crimes where the victim is under the age of 16. Any sex crime where the victim is below the age of 12 is a federal crime. Additionally, if the defendant physically crossed state lines to commit the crime, the case goes to federal occur; this rule can also apply if a defendant in Texas communicated online with a victim in another state.
Who Can See Your Information on the Sex Offender Registry?
Regardless of whether the court that handed down the sentence was a state court or a federal court, people convicted of felony sex crimes must register as sex offenders. If the conviction includes prison time, you must register as soon as you are released from prison; for the most serious offenses, your name must appear on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life. Anyone can search the sex offender database. Some police departments maintain public websites with the names, and in some cases also the pictures, of registered sex offenders within the police department’s jurisdiction.
Can the Court Declare You a Sex Offender If You Never Made Physical Contact With the Victim?
There are some felony sex offenses of which you can be convicted even if you never make physical contact with the victim. These are some examples:
- Participating in a human trafficking operation
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Possession, production, distribution, or sale of images or videos depicting the sexual abuse of minors
Do You Have to Pay Restitution for Sex Crimes?
Restitution is not just for theft crimes. Courts can order people convicted of violent crimes and sex offenses to pay restitution to victims, too. Pursuant to the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018, if you are convicted of possession of child exploitative images, the court can order you to pay restitution to the victims depicted in the images.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Sex Crime Charges
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges in federal court for a sex-related offense. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.
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