Some of the most serious charges one may face whether it be a misdemeanor or felony deal with claims of sexual assault including rape, date rape and statutory rape. Most of these charges are very serious. Even if an experienced criminal defense attorney can obtain a favorable plea negotiation which includes no and/or a small amount of jail time, most defendants desire to have the charges dismissed to avoid having to register as a sex offender. Whether your criminal defense lawyer has to deal with a criminal case in Los Angeles or other parts of California, most prosecutors insist on having a defendant register as a sex offender as part of a plea negotiation dealing with charges of sexual assault.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle in successfully defending felony or misdemeanor sexual assault cases is protecting yourself from the Penal Code section 290 requirement of lifetime registration as a sex offender. Regardless of jail or prison time, people soon realize that having to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives is a stigma that will negatively effect you and your family’s lives forever.
As an example, in a recent misdemeanor case our office handled, a person with no prior record who was accused of violating Penal Code section 243.4(e)(1), a misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail but if convicted also requires a lifetime registration requirement under Penal Code section 290. The offer from the prosecution at the beginning of the case was 1 year in jail and a requirement that our client register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. After vigorously defending the case, the prosecution agreed to dismiss the sex offenses charges and the requirement that our client register as a sex offender. In addition, our client received summary probation and no jail time and pleaded guilty to a lesser simple misdemeanor charge with no life affecting ramifications.
When a person is accused of a sex offense, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony, there are many options and defenses a defendant can use to avoid the extremely harsh outcome of being required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. An experienced criminal defense attorney can utilize many options to alter the outcome of a very serious charge to benefit their client by not only avoiding jail or prison time but also avoiding the lifetime registration requirement.