Looking for a Columbia sex crimes lawyer is a difficult and stressful activity. We understand the confusion, fear, and anger that you are feeling if you have been accused of a crime like rape, attempted rape, solicitation of a minor, or possession of child pornography. While you may be getting the impression from police and prosecutors that your best chance is to plead guilty and hope for a light sentence, nothing could be farther from the truth. In a consultation with a sex crimes lawyer in Columbia, you can find out what options are available and how your attorney can work to oppose your charges.
Columbia—A Unique Community
Anyone who has visited or lived in Columbia, Maryland, knows firsthand just how special the area is. Carefully planned from the ground up to give families an ideal environment, the town’s beautiful neighborhoods and pleasant village centers attract people who work in Baltimore and Washington, DC, but also desire a small-town feel. In fact, Columbia regularly ranks among the top ten most desirable cities in which to live.
The absence of nightclubs and the high-income status of Columbia contribute to a very low crime rate. Complaints of theft and violent crime are rare, and residents seldom fear sexual assault or rape by strangers in their neighborhoods. Those dramatic, high-profile crimes are certainly not the only ones included under the category of sex crimes, however.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in Columbia, MD
However minor you may think your charges are, a Columbia sex crimes lawyer can tell you that every arrest and accusation should be taken very seriously. Pleading guilty to a charge of sexual assault just to avoid having your personal life displayed in the courtroom and to save money will result in more consequences than you expect. Here are just a few of the penalties you risk if convicted of sexual assault, a relatively common charge:
- A year in jail
- Fines of up to $1,000 for just a misdemeanor offense
- A minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if the alleged victim is under age 13
- Registration on the state’s public Sexual Offender Registry
- Extreme difficulty getting hired, approved for loans, or accepted at a college
What Crimes Are Included?
A variety of activities fall under the category “sex crime” in the state of Maryland. A conversation with a sex crimes lawyer in Columbia is your best chance to understand where your accusations fit into the law, what the possible penalties are, and how you can fight the charges. Here are some examples of sex crime accusations:
- Attempted rape: Even if no rape occurred, a conviction on attempted rape is possible without a good defense.
- Possession or manufacture of child pornography: Maryland protects its children with a very strict policy on child pornography, and someone convicted of producing it could spend up to 10 years in prison and pay $25,000 for a first offense.
- Human trafficking/abduction of a minor. These accusations are very serious but sometimes arise from misunderstandings of a situation that a police officer or witness observes.
Additional complications may apply in your case if you are a teacher or an employee at a prison. The age of the alleged victim is an important point as well. These and many other complexities can easily derail your chances of success unless a Columbia sex crimes lawyer is handling the details of your case.
Fighting to Win Your Case
There are many tools that your attorney can use to oppose your charges. Often, a relationship that has gone downhill leads to claims of sexual abuse by one of the individuals. The court only sees what is presented to it, but your defense lawyer can show the history behind the claims. Often, when a prosecutor sees that a good defense is under construction, he drops the case if there is little substance behind it.
The issue of consent comes up very frequently in sex crime cases. Your Columbia sex crimes lawyer may be able to prove that you had permission, or had reason to assume you had permission, for whatever actions you may have taken. If this is the case, you should not be convicted of a sex crime.
There are many other strategies available to your attorney that may keep you out of jail and off the Sexual Offenders Registry. Call us today, and we will set up an appointment for a free consultation.