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HEARING TO DETERMINE WHETHER SEXUALLY MOTIVATED OFFENSE

Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Sexually Motivated Offenses

Sexually Motivated OffensesSome criminal offenses in the state of Nevada are considered sex crimes automatically, because the very nature of the offense relates to sexual activity. For example, offenses related to child pornography or non-consensual sex have sexual activity as a required element of the offense. In these situations, it is clear there are circumstances in which a defendant should be placed on the sex offender registry based on conviction of an offense with a sexual component.

In other situations, however, a criminal offense might have nothing to do with sex in certain circumstances, but may be sexually motivated in others. For example, a person could kidnap someone for reasons entirely unrelated to any type of sexual acts or sexual desires OR a person could kidnap someone for the purposes of raping that person or fulfilling a sexual fantasy. In one situation, the kidnapping might not result in the defendant being labeled as a sex offender if convicted, but in other situations registration might be required.

Because there can be additional consequences when a crime is considered a sexually motivated offense, rather than just a standard criminal offense with no sexual component, it can be very important to determine if sex was an element of the crime or not. A defendant has the right to due process in a determination of whether an offense was sexually motivated, just as he would have the right to due process in any and all situations where his potential freedom is at stake.

If you are undergoing a hearing to determine if an offense you committed was sexually motivated or not, the stakes are very high because the additional consequences can have a profound impact on the rest of your life. You need to be represented by an experienced legal professional who has knowledge of how a determination is made related to whether an offense is sexual in nature. You need to make sure that your lawyer is prepared to help you make the strongest possible arguments with the goal of avoiding being branded as a sex offender. Las Vegas criminal attorneys have the skill and experience to advocate for you in these difficult situations, so give us a call.

Hearing to Determine if an Offense is Sexually Motivated

If you have been accused of committing a crime which could have a sexual component but which does not necessarily have such a component, it will be up to the prosecutor to prove forward with showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was sexually motivated. The prosecuting attorney will have to make a request with the court for a determination to be made on whether the offense was a sexual offense or not. The prosecutor can do this by requesting a hearing.

The rules for when a prosecutor can request a hearing, and for how such a hearing should proceed, are found in Nevada Revised Statute section 175.547. A prosecutor can request a hearing to determine if the following offenses were sexually motivated:

  • Murder in the first or second degree
  • Kidnapping in the first or second degree
  • False imprisonment
  • Burglary
  • Home invasion

The prosecutor can submit a request for a hearing if the defendant has pled guilty of one of these offenses, is found guilty of one of these offenses, or is found guilty but mentally ill. However, the prosecutor can request the hearing only if the defendant was provided with notice of the prosecutor’s intent before the trial commenced. In other words, the prosecutor has to let the defendant know from the start that the prosecutor will be requesting a hearing upon a guilty verdict.

The hearing on whether the offense was sexual in nature or not must be conducted before the court imposes a sentence on the defendant and/or must be conducted before a separate penalty hearing takes place to impose sentencing.

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At the hearing, the only evidence which may be presented is evidence designed to answer the question of whether the offense the defendant is guilty of was a sexually motivated offense or not. The court can find an offense was sexually motivated if one of the purposes of the commission of the offense was the sexual gratification of the defendant.

It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove the offense was sexually motivated and the prosecutor has to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant doesn’t have to prove the offense was not sexually motivated. If the prosecutor cannot meet the legal burden of proof, then the court should not rule that the offense was related to sex. A defendant can try to undermine the prosecutor’s arguments, or could provide a different explanation for the reason behind the offense which has nothing to do with sex.

When a decision is made on whether an offense was sexually motivated or not, the court will enter its findings into the record.

Getting Help from a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer

The stakes are high in any criminal case, but especially when there is the possibility you could be declared a sexual offender. You do not want your reputation ruined and your future opportunities curtailed by a requirement that you register as a sexual predator, so you need to do everything possible to prevent that from happening.

As soon as you have been charged with any offense, you should contact a Las Vegas defense lawyer who can help you to fight the accusations. If you believe you could be accused of a sexual offense, you need to ensure your lawyer is experienced in handling these complex and high-stakes cases. LV Criminal Defense handles sex crimes charges and cases in which there could be a sexual component.

We will fight hard to protect you from being labeled a sex offender and facing all of the consequences that a sexual offense can cause you to experience. Give us a call as soon as you can so we can start working to fight for you.

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