Nashville Sex Offense Attorneys
As frightening as the immediate consequences of a conviction for any sexual offense are, another cause for serious concern is that a conviction will directly affect the way you are able to live the rest of your life. Since you will have to register as a sex offender if you are convicted, the outcome of this case is likely to affect your employment opportunities, living arrangements, and conceivably even your personal relationships.
Horst Law understands just how overwhelming all of this can be. His firm has the experience and resources you will need to defend your rights and protect your future, in and out of court. So, as difficult as all of this probably is right now, it is important to remember that you have not been convicted of anything yet. More importantly, you will still be able to defend yourself and your reputation in court with the help of an experienced attorney. For more information, see 10 Tips (Maybe Eleven) for Defending Against False Child Sex Abuse Allegations.
Defending sexual assault cases is perhaps the most difficult type of case to defend—primarily because of the emotion involved. People, most importantly jurors, do not want to believe that an individual would lie about a sexual offense.
Statutory rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual whom cannot provide consent within parameters that are set by state law. That being said, this charge may be used under either of the following circumstances: an individual is at least 13 years old but less than 15 when engaging in intercourse with a partner who is at least four years but still less than 10 years older; or an individual is at least 15 but less than 18 years old while engaging with a partner who is more than five but less than 10 years older. Statutory rape charges will be prosecuted as Class E felonies, which carry mandatory minimum sentences of a single year.
This offense may alternately be charged as mitigated statutory rape or aggravated statutory rape, depending on the circumstances of the allegations. That being said, mitigated statutory rape will be the charge if it is believed that an individual whom is at least 15 but younger than 18 engaged in intercourse with another individual who is at least four years but less than five years older than the alleged victim. Aggravated statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse that occurs between an individual whom is at least 13 but younger than 18 and another individual who is at least 10 years older. While mitigated statutory rape is a Class E felony, its aggravated form is prosecuted as a Class D felony, which carries a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.
It is illegal for anyone over the age of 18 to intentionally communicate with anyone under the age of 18—whether through electronic, written, oral, or any other means of communication—in an effort to induce the minor to perform or engage in any sexual activity prohibited by state law. It should be noted that this offense can and will be prosecuted even if the alleged victim was a police officer posing as a minor so long as the alleged offender thought he or she was speaking with a minor.
The punishment for this offense is variable; however, the solicitation of a minor will always be charged as one classification lower than the offense that was allegedly solicited from the minor. For instance, if the accusation is that an adult solicited a crime that would have been a Class C felony on its own, the offense would be prosecuted as a Class D felony. Accordingly, it is possible for a Class E felony to drop down to a Class A misdemeanor.
Defined as unlawful sexual contact, sexual battery describes sexual contact with any other person through coercion or force; without the consent of the alleged victim, including instances in which consent is not possible to obtain; or through any act of fraud. In order to allege that coercion was used by the defendant in the commission of sexual battery, the district attorney will need to claim that the defendant threatened violence, force, extortion, or kidnapping. As a Class E felony, this charge is punishable with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of a single year.
Sexual battery can be elevated to an aggravated form if it is alleged that the defendant committed the offense while using a weapon as a means of force or coercion, causing bodily harm, engaging in the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim is less than 13 years old. Aggravated sexual battery is prosecuted as a Class B felony, and it carries a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in prison. In order for the base offense to be elevated to its aggravated form when another person is present, it will also be necessary to prove that the defendant either should have been aware that the victim was not capable of providing consent or that force/coercion was used.
This offense is used to prosecute individuals that police allege possess any depiction involving minors whom are engaged in actual sexual activity or any simulated sexual activity considered to be inherently offensive. Defendants can be charged with a separate count of this offense for each individual visual representation of such an activity. However, if an individual is alleged to posses at least 50 or more depictions, the offense will be charged as a single elevated charge. If more than 100 depictions are involved, the charge will be further elevated. Depending on the circumstances of the charge, this offense may be prosecuted as a Class D, Class C, or even Class B felony.
The base charge of sexual exploitation of a minor may be elevated to an aggravated and even an especially aggravated form of the offense. The aggravated form will be used if the defendant is believed to have sold, promoted, transported, distributed, exchanged, or purchased any material described by the base claim—even the alleged intent to do so may result in aggravated charges. Aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor will be charged as either a Class A or Class B felony, depending on the number of depictions alleged in the case.
The most serious form of this offense is what is termed especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor—a single count of which constitutes a Class B felony. This charge may be used when the police suspect that the defendant has directly contributed to either the performance of the acts defined in the base charge or the production of such material. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an individual might be charged multiple times and could conceivably be punished with consecutive sentences.
Defined as unlawful sexual penetration of another person, it must be shown that this offense was committed by force or coercion; without the consent of the victim, including instances in which it would be impossible to obtain consent; or through any act of fraud. This offense is prosecuted as a Class B felony. Like other offenses, there is an aggravated form of this offense that will be used if the offense was committed by force or coercion with the use of a weapon, if bodily harm was caused to the victim, or if the offense was committed with the help of another person. The aggravated form of this offense is a Class A felony, which carries mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, so it’s important to find a defense attorney immediately if you’re facing a rape accusation.
When the victim of rape is more than three but less than 13 years of age, the individual believed to have committed the assault will be charged with this offense. Though this offense is a Class A felony, state law mandates that the minimum prison sentence for a conviction on these charges to be 25 years, rather than the 15 stipulated under the sentencing guidelines for Class A felonies. In addition, anyone convicted of this crime may be subject to enhanced requirements for probation or parole. The aggravated form of this charge applies to offenses committed against a child aged three years or less. Though the aggravated form is a Class A felony, the offense is categorized in such a way that the minimum prison sentence will be 40 years if the defendant is convicted.
The state defines indecent exposure as the intentional exposure of a person’s genitalia or butt to another person or exposing unwilling bystanders to any manner of sexual contact occurring between two or more participants. However, in order for this law to come into effect, the alleged incident must have occurred in a public place, the private property of a non-participant, or must have been easily visible from a private premises. Furthermore, the prosecution will need to demonstrate that a suspect could have reasonably expected that one of the above actions would be seen by another person, and that these actions would either offend any reasonable person or were for the sole purpose of gratifying the defendant’s sexual appetite.
State law further prohibits individuals from enticing, inviting, or otherwise fraudulently causing another person’s child to enter their property for any purpose of sexual gratification or arousal, specifically for the alleged purpose of exposing themselves or engaging in sexual contact with that child.
Indecent exposure charges are typically be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, but may be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant is at least 18 years of age and the victim is younger than 13 years of age. The offense may be further elevated to a Class E felony if the requirements for a Class A misdemeanor are met and the defendant already has at least two prior convictions for indecent exposure.
Criminal Sexual Conduct
Though there are three degrees of criminal sexual conduct in the state code—each of which has a specific legal definition—more similarities exist between the three than differences. Essentially, the first and second degree offenses differ on a critical point: whether or not sexual penetration is thought to have occurred against a protected group during the alleged offense. Criminal sexual contact in the first degree alleges that sexual penetration occurred, whereas the second degree of the same offense alleges that sexual contact occurred. However, while third degree criminal sexual contact may involve sexual penetration, it only specifies that certain age parameters must be allegedly broken for the offense to be charged against the defendant. As thoroughly complex as the particulars of this law may be, we can help you understand the specifics and what we can do to defend your rights and future.
Married individuals may be charged with spousal rape if they engage in sexual penetration that is unlawful because it is alleged that the defendant was armed with a weapon, caused serious bodily harm, or the couple has been separated and at least one partner has filed for either divorce or separate maintenance. This offense may be elevated to an aggravated form if the defendant is alleged to have engaged in behavior was particularly vile, cruel, or otherwise inhumane and either caused serious bodily harm or was armed with a weapon. While the base offense will be prosecuted as a Class C felony, the aggravated form is a Class B felony. These accusations are often paired with domestic violence allegations and can be damaging to the accused’s reputation.
Just about every act of unwanted sexual contact between married couples will be considered to be spousal sexual battery; the single exception being acts of unwanted sexual penetration, which will be charged as spousal rape. If the person accused of engaging in spousal sexual battery caused bodily harm, used a weapon in the commission of the offense, or was assisted by another person, this charge may be elevated to aggravate spousal sexual battery. Whereas spousal sexual battery is considered to be a Class E felony—which carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of a single year—aggravated spousal sexual battery is a Class B felony—which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in prison.
If there wasn’t more of a reason to fight the offenses against you, a charge levied against you of any sexual nature will inevitably lead to tight restrictions on your life. From housing to where you can simply exist in the world, restrictions against registered sex offenders can cause them to be effectively banished from the more populated parts of their hometowns. These restrictions aren’t only focused on keeping a convicted offender within certain physical boxes, however. They’re also required to report to certain officers about their personal lives, which is highly invasive. Added to the public display of your past conviction, you may feel like there is no one in your town that doesn’t know your own business.
Consult with a Sexual Offense Attorney in Nashville, Tennessee
Though this is likely to be a difficult and overwhelming time for you, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney immediately. You will only have this one opportunity to defend your rights and protect your future, and you will need to make the most of that opportunity. Horst Law can help you develop a comprehensive legal strategy that can be used to challenge each and every aspect of the case that has been brought against you. If the police have contacted you, or if you have been arrested for an alleged sex crime, you should not speak about your case without having your attorney present. To speak confidentially with an attorney about your case, please call our offices at (615) 403-2971 today.