Citizens are subject to both state and federal laws. When a person commits a crime that violates state statutes, they will be prosecuted by the local government. However, if a person violates rules established by the U.S. Government, they will be tried in federal court. In some cases, a person could face both federal and state charges.
California has various laws that prohibit certain conduct of a sexual nature, which include rape, sexual assault, and child pornography, among others. The federal government also has statutes against sex crimes that criminalize things such as exploitation of minors, possession or distribution of child pornography, solicitation of a minor, and aggravated sexual abuse.
From a State to a Federal Offense
Whether a sex crime is handled at the state or federal level depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Typically, local attorneys will take on the matter, but it can later be elevated to a federal crime, at which point the U.S. Government will handle it. Usually, this happens when the severity of the act is such that it violates federal laws. Additionally, if a sex offense crossed state lines, involved using the internet, or was committed against a minor, it will most likely be charged as a federal offense.
A sex offense could also be prosecuted at both levels, which isn’t a violation of “double jeopardy” protection because different governments are pursuing the matter.
Federal Prosecution of Sex Crimes
The federal government employs various resources when prosecuting sex offenses. Agencies, such as the FBI, will conduct a lengthy and thorough investigation of the crime before bringing charges against an individual. An alleged offender may not even know they are suspected of violating a law until the government comes knocking at their door.
Potential Conviction Penalties
The punishments for a federal sex crime conviction vary and are based on the type of offense committed. Regardless of the kind, if a person is found guilty, they will spend time in federal prison and will be subject to steep fines. On top of that, they must register with the national sex offender registry. This requirement can have huge ramifications on a person’s life, as it could limit where they can live, work, and go within the community.
Choose Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP for Legal Counsel – Your Initial Consultation Is Free
If you’re facing sex crimes allegations, the stakes are too high to leave your case up to chance or in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. For the legal representation you need, reach out to our lawyers as soon as possible. Together, we have over 50 years of experience and know how to provide an aggressive defense to challenge accusations. We will skillfully guide you through the process and work toward minimizing possible conviction penalties.
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