When a person is faced with criminal accusations of a sexual nature, the consequences can be serious, and the potential prison sentence if found guilty is just the beginning. Those convicted of sex crimes can find the road to rebuilding their life more difficult. And the loss of reputation among one’s neighbors, friends, and even family, can begin even before the trial. What a defendant needs most is to have a smart Little Rock sex crimes lawyer—one who understands how to handle a criminal defense, and who further understands that being charged with a crime certainly doesn’t mean one is guilty.
The Law Office of Omar F. Greene has deep experience in the criminal justice system of Arkansas generally, and with sex crime charges specifically. Call today at (501) 600-0451 or contact us online for help.
The Penalties for Sex Crimes in Arkansas
The potential sentence for a guilty verdict will depend on the specific crime involved. Sex crimes cover a wide range of possible offenses. Rape—forcing another person to perform intercourse or other deviant activity—is the most serious charge. A conviction on rape can result in life imprisonment. Rape is also a crime where, if the victim dies, a prosecutor may also bring 1st-degree murder charges, even if the death was not intended by the defendant. In the state of Arkansas, murder connected to a rape can result in the death penalty.
Sexual assault charges can be brought when the defendant is alleged to have used a position of authority to leverage a sexual act by someone else. These charges can be brought in the 1st-degree if the victim was a minor. Moreover, whether the victim consented to the act is not a viable defense.
The sentence for a sexual assault conviction depends on whether it is in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree. A 1st-degree conviction can result in a 30-year prison term. The maximum sentence for 3rd-degree sexual assault is 10 years behind bars.
There are situations where the available evidence weighs heavily against the defendant, and a Little Rock sex crimes attorney may advise a guilty plea. The extreme difference in sentences mean that prosecutors have some flexibility to plea bargain. Is it better to plead guilty to a lower charge and accept a shorter prison stay, or should a defendant risk a trial on more serious charges? Those are questions unique to the circumstances of each case and an experienced lawyer, who has seen more than their share of similar situations unfold in court, can offer good counsel.
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Arkansas law requires those convicted of sex crimes to register. The Sex Offender Registry can impact a person’s ability to get housing and to find employment after their release from prison. Furthermore, depending on the gravity of the crime and the age of the defendant at conviction, neighbors may also be able to access this information. The task of rebuilding one’s life and reputation becomes more difficult. It takes 15 years for a person convicted on sex crime charges to even be able to apply for removal from the registry.
The consequences are serious, but there is hope. A smart and strategic lawyer can find ways of challenging the prosecution. Call the Law Office of Omar F. Greene at (501) 600-0451 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.
Defenses Against Sex Crimes
The number of legal defense strategies are as numerous as there are sex crimes cases, with each one having its own unique dynamic. But some of the most common approaches can include the following…
- Consideration of DNA evidence: Was a defendant’s DNA even at the scene of the alleged crime? If it was, would there be another viable reason for the defendant to have been there.
- Consent was involved: In cases involving two people over the age of 18, the defense might be there was willing consent. It’s important to point out that the prosecution bears the burden of proving consent was not present. The defense lawyer need not prove there was consent. The challenge of proving a negative, as the prosecution is constitutionally obligated to do, is not easy. A good Little Rock sex crimes lawyer may be able to find ways to challenge the prosecution’s claim.
- Is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? If the jury has any reasonable doubts about the defendant’s guilt, then they are legally bound to vote for acquittal. A juror might be 70-75 percent sure that the defendant is guilty, but if the defense attorney has raised that level of doubt, then “not guilty” is the appropriate verdict. Jurors are reminded of this at the outset of a trial by the judge. An experienced lawyer then uses the entire trial to deliver reminders of that truth and raise real legal objections to create reasonable doubt.
Respected Lawyer for Hard Cases
In the aftermath of a sex crime, a defendant may be turned on by people in their lives, including those they may have trusted the most. They need someone to believe in them, and to believe in the basic concept that people are innocent until proven guilty. They need someone who is willing to fight for them, and understands exactly how to do it.
That’s what we offer at the Law Office of Omar F. Greene. We’re not here to judge you. We’re here to advocate for you. And we’ll do it in a way that’s vigorous and strategic.
Call today at (501) 600-0451 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
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