Being accused of any crime is a stressful experience, but allegations of a sexual nature are among the most painful and socially isolating charges anyone can ever have to confront. Emotions can run high where these sorts of accusations are involved, and defendants sometimes find even their friends and family can be quick to jump to conclusions. If you were arrested for a sex offense, you may be feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and alone; but you don’t have to face the justice system without support.
During this difficult and potentially life-altering time, everything you value is on the line: your reputation, your career, your personal relationships, and even your most cherished and basic of freedoms. Utah is notorious for imposing some of the toughest and lengthiest sex crime sentences in the country, and if you are convicted and placed on a registry, your daily activities will be heavily restricted for years or even a lifetime.
Trust Our West Jordan Sex Crime Attorneys
You deserve the help of a compassionate criminal defense attorney with experience handling the charges you’re facing now. To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today.
When you’ve been charged with a sex crime, you need a dedicated attorney who is both compassionate to clients and aggressive in the courtroom. Darwin Overson has been recognized as one of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and has more than 15 years of experience defending both juveniles and adults against a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony charges including but not limited to:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Human Trafficking
- Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
- Soliciting a Prostitute
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct
Criminal Penalties for Sex Crimes in West Jordan
As mentioned earlier, Utah imposes some of the country’s toughest sex offender sentences. What sorts of penalties could you be facing if you are convicted?
- Aggravated Sexual Assault – Under 76-5-405, aggravated sexual assault can be charged if, during the course of rape, the defendant allegedly causes injury, makes threats, uses or threatens to use a weapon, or is aided by additional people. This charge is always a first degree felony which may be punished with life in prison, though the mandatory minimum sentence can range from three to 15 years.
- Rape – Rape is defined in 76-5-402, which states, “A person commits rape when the actor has sexual intercourse with another person without the victim’s consent. This section applies whether or not the actor is married to the victim.”
This offense is one of the most serious allegations a person can face in Utah, graded as a first degree felony in many instances. A conviction can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years, while the maximum sentence can mean life in prison without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, depending on factors like the age of the victim and whether the defendant has a record of prior offenses, the minimum sentence could be even longer: six years, 10 years, or even 15 years.
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor – Under 76-5-401.1, a minor is anyone who was at least 14 years old, but younger than 16 years old, at the time the alleged offense took place. You can be charged with this crime if you are at least seven years older than the minor, or if you were in a “position of special trust.” Under 76-5-404.1, all of the following are people in a position of special trust:
- Religious Leaders
- Scout Leaders
Sexual abuse of a minor can be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor, which can lead to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines, or as a third degree felony, which can lead to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old can trigger the same penalties under 76-5-401.2.
You should also know that being unaware of someone’s age is not a valid excuse under Utah law. Pursuant to 76-5b-302, “It is not a defense to an offense described in this chapter that the accused did not know the age of the victim.”
Will I Have to Join the Utah Sex Offender Registry?
Under 77-41-106, numerous sex crime convictions, including kidnapping, can result in mandatory placement on a public and searchable registry of sex offenders. Depending on the offense, this placement may expire after 10 years — or it may be for life. There are three major consequences of registry placement:
- Your sensitive personal information will be available to anyone, including your address, license plate number, and what you were convicted of.
- You will have to abide by a long list of restrictions which influence where you can go, who you can contact, and what you can possess. You will also have to submit to random polygraph tests and check in with your parole officer.
- You will have to live with the intensely negative social stigma of being a registered sex offender.
Where serious criminal charges are involved, time is of the essence. To arrange for a free and private case evaluation with an experienced West Jordan sex crimes lawyer, call Darwin Overson right away at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online. Our lines are staffed around the clock, seven days a week, so call as soon as you can to start discussing your options.