Aug 5, 2019
| Read Time: 2 minutes
In California, it is illegal to have sexual intercourse with an individual under 18 years of age who is not your spouse. This crime, which is called statutory rape, is discussed in further detail below. Misdemeanor and Felony Statutory Rape In California, statutory rape can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When determining whether to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges, one factor that prosecutors examine is the age difference between the suspect and the alleged victim. If the suspect and alleged victim are within three years of age, then the crime will typically be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if there is more than a three-year age difference between the suspect and the alleged victim, then the crime may be charged as a felony. Penalties for Statutory Rape in California Misdemeanor statutory rape is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For incidents involving minors 16 years of age and older and suspects under the age of 21, the resulting felony statutory rape charge can result in up to three years in jail. And for incidents involving minors under 16 years of age and suspects over the age of 21, the potential penalties include up to four years in prison and $10,000 in fines. What if it’s Consensual? Ordinarily, people think of rape as a non-consensual act of force. Statutory rape, however, isn’t always done against the will of the victim. Rather, statutory rape can occur even when both individuals consent to the act. The deciding factor in statutory rape cases is that one or both of the participants are under the age of 18. Therefore, it is a criminal act in California at any time two unmarried persons under the age of 18 have sexual intercourse. Sex Offender Registration In addition, anyone convicted of either misdemeanor or felony statutory rape may be required to register as a sex offender for life. When making this determination, the judge must consider whether the offender committed the crime due to sexual compulsion or gratification. If the judge determines that registration as a sex offender is necessary, then the offender could potentially face the following negative consequences: Difficulty finding long-term employment Difficult maintaining long-term employment The stigma of being a registered sex offender Difficulty sustaining relationships Isolation from friends and family Examples of California Statutory Rape A victim is under 18 years old when the crime was committed A 30-year-old teacher develops a relationship “sexually” with a 16-year-oldstudent A minor, under the age of 18 can also be charged with statutory rape butwould eventually be tried in the juvenile court system of California Speak to an Attorney at The Law Office of Kerry Armstrong, APLC Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with statutory rape in San Diego seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced sex crime defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible. The talent and experience of our attorneys ensure that our clients’ cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges of any kind in San Diego, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.
Aug 2, 2019
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Accused of Child Molestation While Going Through a Divorce Julius Beam (not his real name) and his wife, Jennifer, of 10 years were in the opening stages of getting a divorce and there was a lot of antagonism over the details of who would get what, including custody of the children. They had two daughters, Sarah and Lisa, ages eight and four, respectively and Jennifer was planning on taking custody of them. Jennifer and the children had already moved out. When Julius received the divorce papers and summons, he was horrified to find that Jennifer was falsely accusing him of sexually molesting the younger child, Lisa. This would mean that not only would he have no chance of custody for the children, but he might also be banned from ever seeing them again. He called a criminal defense lawyer for a consultation on what Julius could do next. Not only did he not want to lose the children, but he wanted to restore his good name. The next step was that the case should be moved into criminal court to defend against the accusation of sexual molestation. In criminal court, this could be charged as sexual assault of a minor. While divorce cases are generally handled in family court with little power to defend against certain accusations, the criminal court process would allow the attorney for Julius to incorporate more processes for the defense. A summons was delivered to Jennifer which she signed, thus agreeing to show up for the hearing. The First Steps Following Being Falsely Accused of Molestation The defense lawyer first checked for records of any abusive behavior which would have been reported to the police. There were none. The document included in the divorce papers stating that Julius had sexually molested his daughter was a signed document from Jennifer. In that document, she had stated that Lisa had told her what Julius had done. There were no other documents to substantiate her claim of Julius molesting Lisa. The Criminal Case In a preliminary hearing with the judge and a prosecutor for Jennifer’s side, the defense attorney requested names of doctors and all medical documents concerning Lisa be provided to Julius, his defense attorney, and the prosecutor, as part of discovery. Jennifer was to also provide any police reports substantiating her charge. Next, the defense attorney requested the judge appoint an independent child protection counselor to interview Lisa to hear what she had to say about her father, Julius. The interview would be recorded as per the judge’s orders. Jennifer had to comply with the order and she also was not allowed in the interview to influence any part of the proceedings. The Findings The judge received no paperwork from Jennifer concerning any doctor visits or police reports, nor was there any evidence that Lisa was taken to a health counselor for emotional treatment of sexual abuse. Furthermore, the results of the interview showed that Lisa provided no evidence that Julius had ever done anything wrong to her. During that interview, a doll was used to ask Lisa where on the doll’s body that her father had touched her as far as she could remember. Lisa did not indicate any part of the doll, other than to say that he hugged her a lot and gave her kisses at night when being put to bed. She also wanted to know when she could see her daddy again. Falsely Accused of Touching a Minor: The Charges The judge, under California Penal Code § 148.5, charged Jennifer with making a false and serious claim to benefit herself in the divorce proceedings. She was sentenced with a misdemeanor and a fine, for which the judge would determine later. The judge wrote a recommendation to the family court that they consider that the children be put in the custody of Julius and that Jennifer makes child support payments. If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault of your child as part of your divorce proceedings, call us at once for a consultation. 619-234-2300
Jul 26, 2019
| Read Time: 3 minutes
The secret is out. There is a new kind of police robot in California. Think R2D2 and you come close to imagining what this new robot looks like. But it has a more bullet-shape design to it, unlike the beeping roly-poly robot character of the Star Wars series. HP RoboCop has already been making the rounds for almost a month in Huntington Park, a California city just south of Los Angeles, according to a recent news article in the Washington Examiner online. RoboCop is unarmed and is also a friendly character, greeting people with statements such as “Good day to you” or “Excuse me” whenever the robot needs to roll by you on the sidewalk and you are blocking its path. While it is not out to hurt anyone, RoboCop does watch whatever is happening in its current surroundings, such as a park or in buildings, using a 360-degree visual scan by video cam. Robotics is a non-lethal approach to policing cities, but should you be doing something illegal, undoubtedly the real police will show up pretty quickly to put you in handcuffs. Moving Policing into the Digital Age Most police cars are now fitted with some type of electronic dashboard or computer-styled information device, that allows police to instantly check on a vehicle’s license plate, registration sticker, or to find out if the driver is wanted on various warrants before even making a traffic stop. Police can call for backup should the situation be considered potentially dangerous. The Long Arm of the Law Another innovative California man has designed a robot that sits on a side-mounted platform of a police car. When a traffic stop is made, the police officer extends the platform, like an arm, over to the driver side of the stopped vehicle. Known as the “GoBetween” robot, this interface allows the police officer to communicate with the driver, get information, and issue tickets via a small installed printer on the tablet. According to the article on NBC News online, a spike strip is also placed in front of the car’s back tires to ensure the car does not suddenly drive off. The whole concept of “GoBetween” sounds promising and, as with all new processes, such robotics will be improved further over time to be even more efficient. One must also appreciate that the robot officer on the arm wears a crash helmet, too, to keep the tablet and its parts protected from rain or hail storms. It is all part of keeping officers, drivers, and the robot safe from situations that could be dangerous. Robots Help Law Enforcement in Many Ways An outcome of recent war-time situations has provided SWAT teams to be able to send in a bomb-detecting robot which can check out a suspicious package in a building. Using robots are an excellent alternative to sending in a living person who could die if the bomb was remotely detonated. The robot can determine the status of the package and bring it out to a safe container, where the package can be detonated if a bomb, or safely inspected, if not a bomb. Keeping Everyone Safe The objective of using robots whenever possible is to keep everyone safe. This includes video cam setups around a city and neighborhoods, making it safer for residents. Criminals will find it harder to commit crimes of any sort with constant ongoing surveillance. If you have been accused of a crime and need help with your case, call us at once for a free consultation. We can help you. 619-234-2300.