Q: Do I really need a Lawyer?
A: If you are charged with a crime it is extremely important that you speak to a lawyer. People often think their criminal problems will go away by themselves. Without proper counsel people often make incriminating statements to the police. To protect your rights and your freedom you should call an experienced defense attorney at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP, at (877) 781-1570.
Understanding your rights is the first step in protecting them. People often cooperate with police for fear of appearing guilty, but they may also make incriminating statements to people working with the police. These deceptive tactics used by police may be used against you.
Q. Should I provide the police with a statement if I have been contacted by a police agency about a possible sex crime investigation?
A. Not without first speaking to an attorney. If you are considered to be a possible criminal suspect, you should never provide a statement to the police without having a lawyer present. Even if the police detective tells you they just want to chat, and are not requesting a formal statement. They may try to convince you that talking to them will help you and remaining silent will hurt you but this is not true. The police can say anything, even lie to you in order to get a statement.
Q: What will happen if a crime of sex is filed against me?
Once the District Attorney’s Office has filed charges, the first step is the arraignment. At the arraignment we will receive a copy of the complaint and the discovery packet with the police report and relevant evidence such as witness statements, photos, and physical evidence. We will then review the reports and continue our own investigation. If there are any motions to file we will draft and file those with the court. At the next hearing, we will discuss the merits of your case with a deputy district attorney and present additional or new evidence.
A misdemeanor charge is often dismissed or negotiated for a favorable plea by our attorneys before going to court.
A felony charge can be dismissed, reduced to a misdemeanor, or negotiated for a favorable plea prior to trial. If the case continues a preliminary hearing will be set. In the preliminary hearing the prosecution presents a summarized version of their case to a judge in an attempt to have the accused held over to answer at trial for the alleged crimes. The rules of evidence are more relaxed at a preliminary hearing than at trial as well as the standard used to determine whether someone should be held to answer.
The result of the preliminary hearing can be one of three things: (1) Not held to answer where there isn’t enough evidence and the case is dismissed (2) Reduction of charges against you down to a misdemeanor (3) Held to answer where we move to superior court and to trial.
Q: What are possible punishments for violating a sex crime law?
Punishments for sex crimes vary by type of crime and whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction can be punished by up to 1 year in county jail, fines, mandatory counseling, AIDS testing, community service, and probation. A felony sex crime conviction can result in a sentence of probation with up to 1 year of county jail, or various state prison sentences. Some sex crimes are considered strike offenses and a third strike can result in a state prison sentence of 25 years to life. A conviction for some sex crimes may also result in lifetime registration as a sex offender or sexual predator. The punishment can also be affected by other factors such as prior criminal history or whether you are in violation of a previous probation or parole.
Q: What is sex offender registration?
The state of California requires violent and dangerous sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies where they are placed on a list. In 1996 with the passing of “Megan's Law” law enforcement agencies are now required to notify and provide warning to local communities about dangerous sex offenders in the area. A person required to register must do so yearly for the rest of their lives. Their name will be available to the public and they must report their location to law enforcement every time they move. Not all sex crimes require registration, but many do.
Q: Can a sex crime conviction be removed from my record?
Yes. Depending on the type of sex crime, it may be possible to get it expunged which results in your conviction being dismissed and/or having your guilty plea set aside. If you are a registered sex offender, you may be able to get out of the requirement with the help of our attorneys. If you have successfully completed the terms of your probation or parole and wish to know if you are eligible to get off the sex offender lists, contact us at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP, at (877) 781-1570.