If you have been accused and arrested for a sex offense, hiring a qualified Columbia sex crimes lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take for your case. A criminal defense attorney is well-versed in the applicable court procedures and laws and could provide an aggressive defense to seek the most desirable outcome.
Missouri law outlines many types of sex offenses, and the penalties associated with each crime vary widely. For example, should an act allegedly be committed against someone who is mentally incapacitated or allegedly committed against a minor, the following consequences could be enhanced by the state attorney.
When someone faces a sex crime charge, he or she should get in touch with a Columbia attorney right away to discuss a defense.
In the state of Missouri, rape charges are categorized as first- or second-degree offenses while statutory rape charges are codified differently.
Per Missouri Revised Statutes § 566.030, first-degree rape is when an individual has sexual relations with someone who is debilitated, unable to consent to sexual relations, or suffers from a psychological disability that makes them unable to consent to sex. More so, a person who allegedly drugs and incapacitates someone so that he or she is powerless to agree to or resist sexual relations can also face charges for rape in the first degree.
The punishment for someone convicted of rape or convicted of an attempt to rape another could range from five years to life incarceration. If the alleged victim was 11 or younger, the actor could face a maximum sentence of lifetime incarceration without the possibility of parole.
Second-degree rape is a Class D felony, occurring when someone intentionally has sexual relations with another individual against their will. In Missouri, Class D felonies are punishable by up to seven years in jail, and a financial penalty of no more than $10,000.
A Columbia attorney could also help someone facing first or second-degree sexual abuse charges. Sexual abuse in the first-degree is a Class C felony in Missouri. It occurs when one person sexually touches someone who is indisposed, is physically or mentally unable to agree to the act, or by force.
If convicted of first-degree sexual abuse, a person faces a minimum jail sentence of three years, plus fines. However, the court could send the offender to jail for up to 10 years.
Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and fines. When someone intentionally forces another individual to engage in sexual touching against his or her will, that person can face second-degree sexual abuse charges.
A person commits first-degree child molestation, a Class A felony, if he or she sexually touches a minor 13 years old or younger, and while doing so, harms the minor or uses deadly force. If a person touches someone under 14 sexually and has been convicted of a similar offense before, that person can also face first-degree child molestation charges.
The maximum punishment for first-degree child molestation is incarceration for life. If the child was 11 or younger, the court could sentence the actor to lifetime incarceration without parole.
Second-degree child molestation occurs when an individual engages in sexual touching with a minor who is 11 years old or younger. The crime is a Class B felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail. A person can also be charged with second-degree child molestation if he or she sexually touches a minor 16 years old or younger, and aggravating factors are present, such as the use of deadly force or injury inflicted on the child.
Missouri law also recognizes first- and second-degree statutory rape. First-degree statutory rape is when a person has sex with someone younger than 14 years of age, while second-degree statutory rape involves sex between a legal adult who is at least 21years old and a minor 16 years old or younger. First-degree statutory rape is a felony and carries a maximum jail sentence of lifetime incarceration, while a second-degree charge is a Class D felony.
In addition to the severe criminal penalties assessed for convicted sex offenders, a conviction for many sex crimes will require the individual to register as a sex offender with the state of Missouri. A wide range of devastating ramifications can accompany a sex offender status, including the inability to obtain certain types of employment, loss of custodial rights, and even limitations on where the person can live. A failure to register as a sex offender can further complicate matters and mean additional charges and penalties.
A Columbia sex crimes lawyer could help fight for your rights and freedoms if you have been charged with a sex offense. While the future is uncertain, you could obtain some manner of control with the help and experience of a legal professional. Call now to arrange your confidential case consultation.