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Sex Crimes

Experienced Albany Sex Crimes Attorney

The Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction Can Last a Lifetime But We Can Help

If you are facing New York sex crime charges, you are facing consequences that are both immediate and long-lasting. The stigma of a sex crime charge will attach itself to you from the minute you are arrested, tarnishing your reputation and causing upheaval in your career and family. If you are convicted, incarceration and registration as a sex offender will likely follow, making your ordeal even more catastrophic. In the face of these threats to your future, and with prosecutors determined to put you behind bars, you need an experienced and tenacious Albany sex crimes attorney on your side who will fight to protect your rights, your freedom and your good name.

At the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC, we understand what’s at stake for individuals facing sex crimes charges. We also understand that effectively defending against such charges requires skill, tenacity and an appreciation of the unique issues and challenges involved in sex crime cases. We are relentless in our efforts to defend our clients and have over 15 years of experience delivering positive results for those charged with crimes in and around Albany and throughout New York.

Few Witnesses and Many Motivations Behind Sex Crime Allegations

In addition to the severe penalties involved, sex crime allegations and charges present unique challenges for those accused of such offenses. In many instances, sex crime allegations involve a “he said, she said” situation. There are generally no witnesses to the alleged crime and no evidence or injuries to support the accuser’s statements. While these allegations may ultimately prove to be false, they can still be devastating and long-lasting.

Additionally, your accuser may have different motivations for falsely accusing you of sexual assault, rape or another sex crime offense. Perhaps he or she wants to scare you into doing things or is seeking revenge for something that has taken place between the two of you in the past. In some situations, individuals have been known to accuse an innocent person of a sex crime to gain leverage in other court proceedings, such as matters involving divorce, child custody and spousal support.  Regardless of what your accuser’s underlying motivations may be, the end result is a criminal prosecution that puts your entire life on the line.

Strict Liability for Many Sex Crimes

Many sexual offenses fall in the category of “strict liability crimes,” which means that the prosecution does not have to prove that you intentionally broke the law. Unlike other criminal offenses, individuals can be punished for a strict liability offense even if they had no knowledge that their acts were criminal in nature.

For instance, in cases involving statutory rape, a person can be found guilty of rape even if he or she believed that their sexual partner was of legal age to consent to sex. This means that if you engage in consensual sex with a 15-year-old who has told you that he or she is 18 years old, you can still be convicted of statutory rape because having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old is a strict liability crime. Although you may have made an honest mistake believing that you were sleeping with an adult, this does not matter in the eyes of the law.

The Issue of Consent

A core issue in almost all sex crime prosecutions is the issue of consent. The lack of consent to sexual contact is a required element that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in most cases. This includes unwanted sexual contact with someone who has explicitly or implicitly denied their consent, but also someone who is legally incapable of giving consent.

Individuals who are legally incapable of giving consent to sexual contact include:

  • A person under the age of 17;
  • Someone who is “mentally disabled,” meaning that the person suffers from a mental disease or defect which renders him or her incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct;
  • Someone who is “mentally incapacitated,” meaning that the person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent, or to any other act committed upon him without his consent, or;
  • Someone who is “physically helpless,” such as a person who is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Sex Offender Registration

If you are convicted of a sex offense in Albany or elsewhere in New York, you will serve time behind bars. This could be years or decades of your life spent in prison. But once you have served your sentence, your ordeal is far from over. In many ways, the sentence for a New York sex crime conviction is never-ending, as you will have to register as a sex offender under the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

The label of “registered sex offender” is one that will follow you around for decades and possibly the rest of your life. Sex offender registration can limit where you can work, live and travel, and your conviction and sex offender status may be viewable by anyone with access to the internet.

The likelihood of such consequences adds even more incentive to fight the charges with everything you have, which should include having a skilled Albany sex crimes attorney on your side.

Contact an Albany Sex Crimes Attorney to Find Out What Crimes Require Registration as a Sex Offender

New York law requires a person convicted of a “sex offense” to register as a sex offender with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. This include individuals who plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. New York law lists almost 50 separate criminal offenses that require registration upon conviction.

Some of the most common sex crimes that result in mandatory sex offender registration include:

  • Luring a child
  • Child Pornography
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Falsely Accused of Rape
  • Criminal sexual acts
  • Sodomy
  • Forcible touching
  • Sexual abuse
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child
  • Facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance
  • Predatory sexual assault
  • Patronizing a prostitute
  • Promoting or compelling prostitution
  • Sex trafficking
  • Incest

Additionally, individuals currently residing in New York state who were convicted in another jurisdiction must register under SORA if they were convicted of an offense equivalent to a New York State registerable sex offense, they were convicted of a felony requiring registration in the conviction jurisdiction, or they were convicted of certain sex offenses under federal law.

Sex Offender Registration Levels

Under SORA, sex offenders are divided into three different levels – Level 1 (low risk of re-offense), Level 2 (medium risk of re-offense) and Level 3 (high risk of re-offense).

When an offender is set to finish his or her term of incarceration and released into the community, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders will evaluate the offender’s case and make a risk level recommendation to the court. The court will then hold a risk level hearing and assign a level to the offender prior to release. This is a critical issue, as the risk level will determine how harsh the restrictions on your life will be.

At the SORA hearing, the court may also designate the offender as either a sexual predator, a sexually-violent offender or a predicate sex offender. Along with the risk level, this designation determines the duration of the registration:

  • Level 1 sex offenders must register for 20 years unless they have been given one of the above designations;
  • Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders must register for life and are listed on the public directory;
  • If the sex offender has been designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender, lifetime registration is required regardless of risk level.

As burdensome as sex offender registration obligations can be, violating those obligations can make the situation even worse. A first conviction for failing to perform any registration obligation is punishable as a Class E felony; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class D felony. These can send you back to prison.

Experienced and Effective Defense Against All New York Sex Crime Charges

If you are facing sex crime allegations or charges in Albany or elsewhere in the state, the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC can help. James E. Tyner is a leading sex crimes attorney representing individuals throughout Albany and surrounding areas in New York. He provides attentive service and aggressive defense to clients facing all types sex crime charges, including cases involving: 

Albany Sex Crime FAQs

What should I do if I have been falsely accused of a sex crime?

Sex crimes often involve a “he said, she said” situation, and in most cases, there are no witnesses or evidence to support the statements of the accuser. Even if the allegations prove to be false, they can still destroy your reputation and your future. With so much on the line, you need to seek the advice of an experienced Albany sex crimes attorney who can thoroughly investigate the allegations, challenge the evidence and witnesses relied on by prosecutors, and work to uncover the truth in your case.

What is statutory rape?

In Albany and throughout the state of New York, you can be charged with statutory rape for having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 even if the sex was consensual. Statutory rape is considered a strict liability offense, which means that the government does not have to prove that you intentionally broke the law.  Even if your partner lied to you and told you that she was 19 when she was really 16, you can be convicted of violating the law for having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 17.

If the police want to talk to me about a sex crime, what should I do?

As you probably know, you have the right to remain silent, as well as the right to an attorney. You should exercise both of those rights.

The first thing you should do is consult with an attorney immediately. You should never speak to law enforcement without your legal counsel being present. An “innocent” conversation with the police can quickly go bad and what you say can be used against you later on in court. A skilled Albany sex crimes lawyer can protect your rights and properly advise you on how to respond to the police’s questions.

I have been accused of an internet sex crime. What should I do?

Most people who are accused of internet pornography or another type of internet sex crime have never been in trouble with the law before. The best thing you can do is speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Even if your online activities have been completely legal, someone else may have used your computer or your IP address to download child pornography. You should never say or admit anything to law enforcement until you have consulted with your attorney.  Additionally, you should never give the police your consent to search your computer or home unless your lawyer has advised you to do so.

What is a sexual predator?

The term “sexual predator” refers to an individual who makes attempts to engage in sexual contact with another person or in a habitual or “predatory” manner. Although many states make a clear distinction between sexual predators are sexual offenders, the terms are often used interchangeably. In New York, a sexual predator is defined as any person who has been convicted of a violent sexual offense and who suffers from a mental disorder that renders them more likely than others to engage in predatory sexual conduct or to commit a violent sexual offense.

How are the different tiers for sex offenses in New York?

In New York, sex offenses are categorized into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 sexual offenses include any sex offense convictions or attempt to commit an offense that is not listed as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 sex crime. They also include sexual offenses against minors, such as false imprisonment, voyeurism, and possession of child pornography.
  • Tier 2 sexual offenses include felony sex crimes and crimes committed repeat sex offenders that have been previously convicted. Tier 2 sex crimes involve sex crimes against minors (conviction or conspiracy to commit a crime), such as involving minors in prostitution, solicitation, enticing a minor to engage in sexual acts, non-forcible sexual acts with older minors (ages 16-17), direct or indirect sexual contact with a minor (13 years of age or older), and the production and/or distribution of child pornography. Tier 2 offenses are punishable by at least a year in prison.
  • Tier 3 sexual offenses are similar to Tier 2 offenses. These involve prior convictions for Tier 2 sex crimes as well as an attempt to commit such an offense. Examples include kidnapping (by a non-parent), sexual acts committed by force or threat, sexual acts committed on a person who is incapacitated, as well as direct or indirect sexual contact with a minor 12 years of age or younger. Tier 3 offenses are punishable by more than one year in prison.

Who is required to register as a sex offender?

According to state law, any person who was imprisoned, on probation, or on parole for a sexual crime as of January 21, 1996 must register as a sex offender. This includes juveniles who are convicted of a sex crime. In some cases, offenders who were convicted in another jurisdiction and who have moved to New York may be required to register with the state if the offense is one that requires registration in NY. If so, the offender must register within 10 days of establishing residence in New York.

How long do sex offenders have to register?

The time required for sex offender registration depends on the type of sexual crime that was committed. The minimum time for registry for Tier 1 sex offenders is 15 years, 25 years for Tier 2 sex offenders, and Tier 3 sex offenders are required to register for life.

At what point do sex offenders have to register?

Individuals convicted of a sex offense must register either upon being released from custody (if the offender is required to go to prison for the crime) or at the time of sentencing (if the offender will not be incarcerated).

What are the penalties for failing to register as a sex offender?

Failing to register as a sexual offender is considered a federal offense and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. There are numerous reasons for failing to register, and many times, they are unintentional. An attorney with experience representing persons convicted of sex crimes can assist in these types of matters and will offer evidence to demonstrate that offender did not knowingly intend on failing to register.  

Can the time required to register as a sex offender be reduced?

Yes, under certain circumstances, certain sex offenders may have their registration period reduced. For example, a Tier 1 sex offender who has maintained a clean record for 10 years may have their registration period reduced by five years.

I am a minor and wish to report a sex crime, will my parents be notified?

Depending on the type of sex crime, law enforcement officials may be required to notify a minor’s parents or guardians.

What are the penalties for prostitution in New York?

There are a wide range of prostitution-related crimes in New York. These can include prostitution itself, which is defined as the act of engaging in, agreeing to, or offering sexual acts for a fee. The fee can be financial (cash) or may include other forms of “payment”, such as jewelry, a favor, property, employment, or others. Prostitution is considered a misdemeanor crime and those convicted may be required to serve up to 90 days in prison. Patronizing a prostitute is another type of prostitution crime which involves the recipient of the sexual act who is paying for sexual services either by agreeing to or soliciting the other person. In most circumstances, this is also considered a misdemeanor sex crime in New York (punishable by up to one year in prison), unless the person performing the sexual acts for a fee is a minor. In these instances, the crime may be charged as a felony. Those who promote or allow their home and/or work place to be used for the purposes of prostitution may be charged with the crime of permitting prostitution, also considered a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 90 days in prison.

What are the penalties for child pornography in New York?

Child pornography crimes are among the most severe types of sex crimes. They classified as felony offenses and are often prosecuted at both the state and federal level. Those who are accused of child pornography should retain an attorney as quickly as possible, especially if the accusations are false.

An Albany Sex Crimes Attorney at The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC Can Help

Regardless of the New York sex crimes charges you may be facing, the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC will advise you of all of your options, stand by your side throughout your case, and work tirelessly to build the strongest defense possible. Contact an Albany sex crimes attorney today by calling 518-363-6305 or contacting us online to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help you during this difficult time.

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