In Utah, being convicted of a sex offense will have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, and having to register as a sex offender. Further, your reputation and personal relationships can be irreparably harmed. As a registered sex offender, you may find it extremely difficult to get hired for jobs, or even find a place to live. You will also be subject to strict requirements, and if you fail to comply, you can be charged with additional crimes.
Defendants charged with sex crimes receive very little sympathy from courts, law enforcement, or the general public. Many defendants feel as if they are convicted before ever setting foot in court. However, every defendant, no matter their charges, is considered innocent until proven guilty. Cases involving sex crimes can be very emotionally charged, but judges and juries must consider the evidence and make decisions with a clear and impartial mind.
If you or one of your family members was arrested for a sex crime in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it is critically important that you are represented by an experienced and aggressive sex crimes attorney. To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC right away at (801) 758-2287.
What to Do if You Were Charged with a Sex Offense in Salt Lake City
After you or a loved one has been arrested for a sex crime, it is imperative that you contact a highly experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. During this stressful and difficult time, you need dedicated legal support from a compassionate attorney who will vigorously protect your rights while guiding you through Utah’s criminal justice system. Defense attorney Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience working on complex and challenging criminal cases, and has represented thousands of defendants who were faced with misdemeanor and felony charges in Utah.
Our respected law firm will immediately get to work building a comprehensive defense strategy, challenging evidence and testimony in an effort to have the charges against you reduced or dropped, all the while preparing your case for trial. These cases are always complicated, and resolution often requires that the case be tried to a jury. Darwin has successfully defended clients and gained favorable verdicts in many trials relates to charges of a sexual nature.
Our Salt Lake City sex crimes defense attorneys regularly represent defendants who have been charged with various sex crimes under the Utah Code, including but not limited to:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault – Utah Code § 76-5-405
- Exploiting Prostitution – Utah Code § 76-10-1305
- Forcible Sexual Abuse – Utah Code § 76-5-404
- Lewdness – Utah Code § 76-9-702
- Object Rape – Utah Code § 76-5-402.2
- Patronizing a Prostitute – Utah Code § 76-10-1303
- Possession of Child Pornography (Sexual Exploitation of a Minor) – Utah Code § 76-5b-201
- Prostitution – Utah Code § 76-10-1302
- Rape – Utah Code § 76-5-402
- Rape of a Child – Utah Code § 76-5-402.1
- Sexual Abuse of a Child – Utah Code § 76-5-404.1
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor – Utah Code § 76-5-401.1
- Sodomy – Utah Code § 76-5-403
- Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor – Utah Code § 76-5-401
Sentencing Guidelines for Felony or Misdemeanor Sex Offenses in Utah
Prosecutors are extremely aggressive when it comes to sex crimes, particularly in cases where the victim was a minor or child at the time of the alleged offense. If you are convicted, you will face devastating consequences – not only those which are ordered by the court, but also the collateral consequences of becoming a registered sex offender. While a jail or prison sentence may eventually end, the repercussions of sex offender status can affect you, your career, and your family for the rest of your life. Our Salt Lake City sex crimes defense lawyers will help you fight your charges.
The penalties you face if convicted depend heavily upon the nature and severity of the crime, and in turn, the way the crime is categorized. In Utah, crimes are divided into six groups: three types of misdemeanors (Class C, Class B, Class A) and three types of felonies (third degree, second degree, first degree). Utah criminal penalties for these offenses may include:
Misdemeanor Sex Offenses
- Class C – Up to 3 months in jail and $750 fine
- Class B – Up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine
- Class A – Up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 fine
Felony Sex Offenses
- Third Degree – Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fine
- Second Degree – Up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 fine
- First Degree – Up to life in prison and $10,000 fine
Utah Sex Offender Classifications Explained
Defendants convicted of certain sex offenses will be classified as sex offenders and listed under the Utah sex offender registry. The registry is publicly available, and friends, neighbors, and employers all may access the list. The amount of time you must spend on the registry will depend on the nature of your offenses. Some offenses may place you on the registry for the duration of your sentence plus 10 or 20 years. More serious offenses will place you on the registry for life.
The sex offender registry is intended to be used as a tool to notify the public of potentially dangerous sexual predators. The notification requirements will be different depending on what kind of crime you were convicted of. A less serious sex offense may require you to register as a sex offender in your county. However, your neighbors or employer are not necessarily automatically notified of your sex offender status. More serious offenses not only require you to register, but require automatic notice to be delivered to neighbors and employers.
According to Utah Code § 77-41-112, it may be possible to petition to remove yourself from the sex offender registry. However, the criteria for removal will vary based on the offense or offenses for which you were convicted. Some offenses require that at least 5 years pass after the end of your sentence before you can petition for removal from the registry. Other more serious offenses require at least 10 years to have passed. Some of the most serious offenses require at least 20 years to pass since the date of the end of your sentence before you can petition for removal.
If you are facing criminal charges that may end up with you on the sex offender registry, contact our Salt Lake City sex crime defense attorneys for help.
Long-Lasting Effects of Being Convicted of a Sexual Crime
The consequences for a conviction of a sex crime may last long after your trial. In many cases, the consequences last long after the end of your formal sentence. Many defendants convicted of sex crimes are required to register as part of the Utah sex offender registry. They may also encounter trouble wherever background checks are required. Our Salt Lake City sex crimes defense lawyers can help if you have been charged with a sex offense.
Sex Offender Registration
Defendants convicted of a sex crime may be classified as sex offenders and made to register as such under the Utah sex offender registry. The registry keeps track of all sex offenders, including those currently incarcerated, those on probation or parole, and those whose sentences have ended but must still register.
Being part of the registry makes it very difficult for defendants to move around. If you ever change your address, you must notify the county where you live within a certain time period. Failure to notify the county of a new address may be met with penalties. Not only is moving from county to county difficult, but moving from state to state is very hard as you must register under a new state’s sex offender registry.
Defendants often have to register as sex offenders for many years. Your registration requirements may cover the time of your sentence and the time after your sentence is complete. For example, if you were sentenced to 10 years in prison, you must still register as a sex offender even after those 10 years are over. How long you must register depends on the nature of your offense.
Failing Background Checks
Any time a registered sex offender is subjected to a background check, their conviction will be a huge obstacle. Background checks are common for many job opportunities or housing opportunities. Even if your conviction were many years ago, your sex offender status would show up in a background check. Defendants convicted of background checks find it very hard to get jobs and find places to live.
Background checks are not only necessary for new jobs or renting a new apartment. Background checks may be necessary anywhere a person needs some sort of security clearance. These kinds of background checks are common for people who work in government or other highly secured industries, like the corrections system. Your status as a sex offender will undoubtedly be revealed in a background check, and you could be denied the security clearance necessary for your job.
Appealing a Conviction for a Sexual Offense in Utah
The best defense for an alleged sexual crime will depend on the nature of the crime. Some offenses are considered crimes because of the age of the victim. Other sex offenses involve the use of force or coercion against an unwilling victim. Our Salt Lake City sex crimes defense attorneys can help you determine the best defense to challenge the charges in your case.
Where the charges for a sex crime are based on a lack of consent, you could defend yourself by arguing that you did have consent. However, unless you have some sort of proof or documentation of the alleged victim’s consent, proving consent can be difficult. It may be necessary to find witnesses who can corroborate your story and testify that you and the alleged victim had a consensual sexual encounter.
Other offenses, often those revolving around the alleged victim’s age, can be harder to defend against. Many of these offenses are statutory or involve strict liability. This means that the defendant did not have to have the intent to commit a crime to be found guilty. For example, if the victim was only 14 when they had consensual sex with the defendant, the defendant cannot argue that they honestly believed the victim was 18 at the time of the encounter. A lack of knowledge is not a defense in statutory offenses.
Our Salt Lake City Sexual Crimes Defense Lawyers Can Help
Defending yourself against charges of a sexual nature can be very complicated due to the emotional testimony and physical evidence involved. The law offices of Overson Law, PLLC can step in to protect your rights, your freedom, and your reputation. Call our Salt Lake City sex crimes defense lawyers right away at (801) 758-2287. We are available for free legal consultations.