Sex Offense Attorney in Mobile, AL
Facing charges for any type of crime can be embarrassing, stressful, and could have negative repercussions for your future. But facing a sex offense charge is especially stigmatized, and merely being charged with the crime, let alone being convicted, could damage your relationships and reputation.
At the law offices of Darley Law, our Alabama criminal defense lawyers have experience representing those facing sex offense charges in Mobile and surrounding areas. If you’ve been charged with a sex offense, reach out to our law firm today to learn more about how we can help you.
Sex Offenses in Alabama
The state of Alabama recognizes multiple criminal sex offenses. These offenses include:
- Rape in the first degree. First-degree rape occurs when one party has sexual intercourse with another and the intercourse is a result of forcible compulsion, the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated (and is therefore incapable of consent), or the offender is at least 16 years of age and the victim is 11 or younger.
- Rape in the second degree. Second-degree rape is sexual intercourse where the offender is at least 16 years old and the victim is between 12 and 16 years if the victim is at least two years younger than the offender, or if the victim is incapable of consent due to being “mentally defective.” This means that the person suffers from a condition that renders them incapable of understanding the act of sex.
- Sexual torture. Sexual torture is defined by Alabama code as penetration with an object with the intent to sexually torture or sexually abuse via forcible compulsion, as a result of the victim being unable to consent, or where the offender is at least 16 and the victim is under age 12.
- Sexual abuse in the first degree. Sexual abuse is a less serious charge than rape, and it refers to subjecting another person to sexual contact, not actual intercourse, when the other person does not have the ability to consent or via force.
- Sexual abuse in the second degree. Similar to first-degree sexual abuse, if an offender subjects another person to sexual contact and the victim is unable to consent by reason other than being under 16 years of age or if the victim is between 12 and 16 years of age and the offender is over 19 years of age, second-degree sexual abuse has occurred.
- Sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is kind of a “catch-all” for sex crimes. Sexual misconduct is committed when one person has intercourse with another without their consent, but the circumstances of the intercourse do not constitute rape, or when the intercourse occurs as a result of fraud or artifice.
- Sodomy in the first degree. Occurs when “deviate sexual intercourse” is the result of forcible compulsion, inability to consent due to physical or mental handicap, or when the offender is at least 16 and the victim is under age 12.
- Sodomy in the second degree. Second-degree sodomy is deviate sexual intercourse that occurs when the person is incapable of consent because of their mental defectiveness (statutory language), or when the victim is less than 12 and the offender less than 16.
As a note, Alabama no longer recognizes the crime of statutory rape. Instead, statutory rape is addressed in the definitions for rape and sodomy, both first- and second-degree versions of the crimes.
Penalties for Sex Offenses in Alabama
The first thing that you should know if you are charged with a sex offense in Alabama is that a charge is not a conviction. However, if you are convicted, you may face serious penalties. The penalties for sex offenses vary depending on the severity of the crime committed. For example, first-degree rape and sodomy charges are Class A felonies, which means that the potential penalties can include prison time of up to 99 years, designation as a sexual predator, a fine of $60,000, and even life imprisonment without parole if the offender was an adult over the age of 20 and the victim was a young child under the age of seven.
Second-degree sexual abuse, on the other hand, is a Class A misdemeanor, which means that the potential penalties are much less severe. Penalties for Class A misdemeanor crimes include an incarceration period of up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.
Defending Yourself Against Sexual Offense Charges
A conviction of a sexual offense in our state could affect your life long-term, resulting in jail time, prison time, large fines, a black mark on your reputation and a criminal record that could impede your ability to find housing, secure work, volunteer, or even live in a neighborhood near a school. No matter the circumstances surrounding your case, you maintain the right to defend yourself against the charges that you’re facing, and have the right to competent legal counsel per the United States Constitution.
Defending yourself against sexual assault charges will require gathering multiple forms of evidence; however, remember that the burden is on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, not on you to prove your innocence. Potential defenses might include that you did not engage in sexual conduct/intercourse with the victim, that the victim consented, that you did not know the victim’s age/the victim misrepresented their age, or that the victim seemed to be physically/mentally capable of consenting.
If defending yourself and securing a verdict of innocent does not seem possible, reaching a plea bargain with the prosecution may be more doable. Our lawyers can negotiate on your behalf and will work hard to protect your best interests and secure the most favorable result possible.
Call Our Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you are facing criminal charges for a sexual offense in Alabama, working with a lawyer could improve the outcome of your case. At the office of Darley Law, our experienced criminal defense lawyers can start working on your case today. Please send us a confidential message or call our law office at (251) 441-7772 today.