Sex Crimes

Few criminal charges are more devastating than sex crimes, in part because the direct penalties are only the beginning. In addition to crippling fines and seemingly-endless prison sentences, convicted offenders must often register as sexual offenders for years after the trial is over, or even for a lifetime. This requirement adds to the prejudice that many people have against sex offenders. Finally, in most instances, the alleged victim has a close personal or professional relationship with the defendant. Partnering with a Columbus criminal attorney who upholds your rights without needlessly destroying the lives of others is the first step towards rebuilding that relationship, or at least being able to turn the page.

Common Sex Crime Charges

Once upon a time, sex crimes were defined narrowly, so many acts were not illegal, even if most people considered them immoral. But because of recent amendments, Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01 defines both “sexual conduct” and “sexual contact” in very broad terms. This new standard means that prosecutors are very aggressive in bringing charges like:

  • Sexual Battery: 2907.03 can be a conduct-based offense, meaning that you coerce or force someone into an unwanted physical relationship. This infraction can also be status-based, in situations like an adult and a child, teacher and student, doctor and patient, and so on.
  • Rape: In Ohio, it is legally possible to rape your spouse, if you were separated at the time or if you used any drugs to induce consent. If the alleged victim is under 13, elderly, or disabled, enhancements may apply.
  • Sexual Imposition: This is a slightly less serious offense that basically involves coerced consent. If you “substantially impair[] the judgement or control of the other person” or use force, that constitutes gross sexual imposition.
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with Minor: The “statutory rape” law applies to adults over 18 who have sexual contact with a child under 16.

Prosecutors nearly always charge the most egregious offense that the facts can possibly support, which means that if there’s any possible sex crime involved, it’s alleged in the indictment.

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Sex Crimes Defenses

The presumption of innocence is so strong that, in many cases, any plausible defense can mean a not-guilty verdict at trial or convince prosecutors to either abandon the case or at least reduce the charges. Some common defenses include:

  • Misidentification: When the lights are low, the alcohol is flowing, and there is a crowd of people, simply identifying the correct defendant can be an issue.
  • False Accusation: The alleged victim’s sexual past is largely off-limits, but the motives for bringing the accusation are fair game. For example, many people have no problem with leveling false accusations against an innocent person to gain an upper hand in an ongoing or potential custody dispute.
  • Lack of Evidence: The broader definitions mentioned above sometimes mean that there is little or no physical evidence and the prosecutor cannot overcome shaky witness testimony.
  • Consent: The line here is very, very blurry, because when two people get together, it is not easy to say when someone legally consents and when that consent is legally withdrawn.

Ohio sex crimes cases often involve Fourth Amendment searches and seizures as well, and there may also be affirmative defenses.

Sex Crimes Defense Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

Attorney Joe Halabi spent years working in the prosecutor office, and now he fights for you. I understand how much is at stake in sex crimes cases, and that’s why I offer an aggressive defense from start to finish. For a free consultation and a professional case evaluation, call the Columbus, Ohio criminal defense attorney at Halabi Law, LLC, today.