& Criminal Defense
Society generally regards criminal acts as unsavory, but certain crimes, like sex offenses, are deemed more heinous than others. People charged with sex crimes often feel as if they face an uphill battle and have no chance of being found not guilty. The burden of proof in criminal matters lies with the prosecution, however, and if the State cannot meet its burden, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. If you are accused of a sex crime, it is important to understand your rights and potential defenses, and you should meet with an attorney. The skilled Fairfax sex crimes attorneys of Crowley Peritz Law are mindful of the gravity of sex crime charges, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you fight to safeguard your liberties and reputation. Our office is located in Fairfax, and we routinely defend people accused of sex crimes in cities throughout Northern Virginia.
Many acts fall under the umbrella of sex crimes in Virginia. Generally, the phrase sex crime refers to any act of a sexual nature committed against another person without their consent. For example, acts perpetrated via force, threats, or against minors or people who lack the ability to consent may all be deemed non-consensual. Sex crimes include rape, possessing, creating, and distributing child pornography, carnal knowledge of children, indecent liberties, and sexual battery. The penalties for sex crimes range from twelve months imprisonment for a misdemeanor offense to life imprisonment for certain rape crimes. Many people convicted of sex crimes are required to register with the State as sex offenders as well.
Regardless of what sex crime a defendant is charged with, the State must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. While there is no precise definition for this phrase, it is generally understood to mean that the evidence against the defendant is so compelling that a reasonable person could come to no other conclusion than that the defendant is guilty. To establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the State has to prove each element of the underlying offense. As such, if the State cannot prove one or more elements of a crime, the defendant should be found not guilty. For example, if a defendant is charged with distributing child pornography and the State is unable to establish the alleged victim is a minor, it should not be able to obtain a conviction.
Unlike the prosecution, defendants in criminal cases do not carry a burden of proof and do not have to testify or offer any evidence. In some cases, though, it may make sense for them to assert defenses. Many of the defenses available pertain to mistakes made by the police or State during the process of charging and trying the defendant. For example, if the police did not obtain a warrant prior to gathering evidence against the defendant or exceeded the scope of the warrant, the investigation may be considered an unreasonable search and seizure, and the State may be barred from using the evidence at trial. Similarly, if the State unreasonably delays criminal proceedings, it may violate the defendant’s rights to a speedy trial and may be grounds for dismissal of criminal charges. In Fairfax, the attorneys of Crowley Peritz offer dedicated services for sex crimes.
Sex crime accusations often cause fear and anxiety, but there are numerous stages between a charge and a conviction, and many defendants are able to prove the State lacks the evidence needed to establish their guilt. If you are faced with sex crime charges, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss your potential defenses. The capable Fairfax lawyers of Crowley Peritz Law have ample experience defending people charged with serious offenses, and we can craft persuasive arguments in your favor to help you seek a just result. You can contact us to set up a free, confidential consultation by calling us at (703) 337-3773 or using our online form.
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