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Sex Crime & Sexual Assault FAQ
When is sexual conduct considered criminal sexual conduct?
When it comes to sex crimes, the lack of consent is the crucial component of such a charge.
In general, sexual conduct becomes criminal when sexual touch is not consented to, either because the offender forces another person to be sexual against his or her will, or because the other person is considered incapable of consent (the individual is a child) or to have a diminished mental capacity to give consent. Those who are deemed incapable of consent include minors under the age of fourteen or fifteen, regardless of their mental abilities.
In addition, sex with the following people is criminal if they do not have the capacity to knowingly consent:
- a developmentally disabled person
- someone who is mentally ill
- a person who is incapacitated – drugged, drunk, or unconscious – or otherwise physically helpless
What do I do if I have been arrested for a sexual assault charge in Denver?
It really is vital that you contact a sexual assault criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Sexual assault cases are specialty cases and are the most difficult criminal matters around. The potential penalties are tremendous and include the possibility of sex offender registration, prison, treatment, and lifetime supervision. With so much on the line, now is not the time to go to an amateur.
Also, make sure you don’t talk to anyone about the case, even family and friends. Police can interview the closest people around you and ask them what you told them.
Also make sure you don’t talk with the police or Child Protective Services.
What do I need to know about my sexual offense charge?
Most Colorado residents don’t realize that even after they’ve already posted their bond, the District Attorney may still attempt to add some or all of the following terms and conditions to the charge.
The Court can impose “reasonable terms” associated with your bond, which include:
- No contact with the victim or victim’s family (even if it’s your own)
- You cannot return to your house
- Your probation officer can come to your home or place of work at any time, unannounced
- Your probation officer can come to your home and search it at any time, unannounced
- You cannot see your own children
- You may be subject to an alcohol sensor (you cannot consume alcohol while you are out on bond)
- You may be ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet until case is concluded
- You may be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol at your expense
- You may be ordered to quit your job
- You may not possess a weapon while your case is pending
And if you are convicted of a sexual offense charge, you may be subject to registration as a sex offender. These reasons and more highlight why it’s so vital to get a sex crime defense lawyer on your side if you’re being accused of or investigated for a sex crime.
How can I get ahead of a potential sexual crime charge?
Even if you haven’t been arrested yet, contacting an attorney can be extremely beneficial.
If you hear that the police are investigating an allegation, you can be proactive in getting information about the charges by getting an attorney. For some of my clients, getting “out in front” of the case can result in dismissals.
In many cases, getting an attorney early means that you and your defense team can start getting evidence of innocence before the evidence gets lost. Remember, people destroy text messages, documents, and other evidence quickly. Memories fade and eyewitnesses can move. That video tape recording from a gas station gets erased within days. You need to act fast in order to locate and preserve evidence. This means the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict.
Should I communicate with the police during a sex crimes charge?
No. Not without your lawyer present. It’s important to remember that the police are not your friends.
In nearly every sex assault case involving children, the police try to interview the suspect. These interviews are routinely recorded, either by hidden camera or by another recording device. Even telephone calls can be recorded. So if that police officer or detective calls you to discuss the case and allegations, you need to assume that the call is being recorded.
How will this affect my future?
Any of these charges could affect your future in major ways. Your reputation could be ruined, you could lose parental rights, you may lose unsupervised access to your child, and your criminal record may be blemished.
Sexual Assault on a Child
What is Child Molestation in Colorado?
In Colorado, child molestation includes inappropriate touching of a child’s genitals, buttocks or breasts.
What to do if I am arrested for sex assault on a child?
If you are arrested for a sexual assault on a child, make sure you contact a sexual assault criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Do not speak to the police; exercise your 5th Amendment right to silence. And when you do talk to police, make sure your lawyer is by your side.
What is Colorado's civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases?
Colorado Rev. Stat. § 13-80-103.7 provides that plaintiffs must file claims within six years of reaching the age of majority or within six years of the removal of a disability as defined by the statute.
Who are mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect?
In Colorado, it’s against the law to witness child abuse or neglect and not report it. This means that certain individuals have a legal duty to report any abuse they may suspect or be witness to.
Colorado Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304 sets forth a long list of professionals required to report suspected child abuse or neglect (including sexual abuse) to authorities.
The list includes medical and mental health care professionals, therapists, public or private school officials and employees, social workers, commercial film and photo professors, clergy members, recognized leaders of religious organizations, and juvenile parole and probation officers.
If you’re a witness to child abuse or neglect, you must file a report immediately. Failure to report is a misdemeanor.
Can a teenager be considered a sex offender, or guilty of statutory rape?
There is something called the “Romeo and Juliet” exception which helps to prevent teenagers from getting charged with serious criminal charges (like statutory rape) when they engage in consensual sex with others close to their own age.
In Colorado, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor 14 or younger who has sex with a defendant who is three or fewer years older than the minor.
There is also an exception in Colorado for a 15 or 16 year old minor who has sex with someone who is nine or fewer years older than the minor.
What sex offenses require registration?
There are a variety of sex offense which require registration. These include:
- Sexual Assault
- Unlawful sexual contact
- Sexual assault on a child
- Sexual Exploitation of a child
- Enticement of a child
- Aggravated incest
- Indecent exposure
- Internet sexual exploitation of a child
- Internet luring of a child
What are the requirements for sex offense registration?
Depending on the defendant’s sex offense, the person must register either quarterly or annually, as well as each time the defendant moves or changes information.
The person must provide a list of all the names used (i.e. aliases), the address of residences, any names used on social networking or computer chat sites, and motor-vehicle information.
For people moving here from another state, the law gives you five days to register or re-register if they move here from another state.
Moreover, there is a five day grace period of register if you are released from jail or prison, or move from one residence in Colorado to another residence.
If you move out of Colorado, you have five days within which to de-register from your local precinct.
What can I be charged with for failure to register as a sex offender?
Failure to register as a sex offender can be considered either a felony or misdemeanor sex offense.
- If the preliminary offense that a defendant was convicted of was a felony, the new failure to register as a sex offender charge can be a Class 6 or Class 5 felony.
- If the preliminary offense that a defendant was convicted of was a misdemeanor, the new failure to register as a sex offender charge will be a misdemeanor.
When can I stop registering as a sex offender?
If you are trying to deregister as a sex offender, your case will depend on the charge for which you were convicted.
Certain felony charges require lifetime registration, which means that you may never be able to deregister.
Felony convictions can carry with them 10-year or 20-year requirements to register as a sex offender.
How will a second offense affect my deregistering as a sex offender?
The time periods stated above assume that the client has not been convicted of another sex offense charge.
If an individual receives a second (or subsequent) sex offense charge while still registering for an earlier sex offense, he cannot be removed from the sex offender registration.
I applied to deregister as a sex offender, am I in the clear?
Even if you have applied to stop registering as a sex offender, you must continue to do so until a court order specifically discontinues your requirement. Simply filing the paperwork is not enough.
*Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.