Anyone accused of sexual contact with someone who is underage can expect serious consequences if convicted of a criminal offense. In many cases, this is true even if the young people are relatively close in age and even if the minor lied about her age.
Reason recently reported on one very troubling criminal case in which a 19-year-old had sex with someone who he thought was 17 and who actually turned out to be 14. The young man was not only sentenced to prison, but was sentenced to 25-years on the sex offender registry. During the 25-year period in which he must remain on the registry, he is subject to burdensome limitations on his freedom that will have a significant impact on his life.
The case is an egregious one, in which the excesses of the criminal justice system are put on display. The parents of the girl who he was involved in have asked the judge not just to show leniency, but to drop the charges. However, the judge- who has a history of imposing overly harsh sentences- was able to apply state law to impose a life-ruining criminal sentence.
When the laws fail to protect citizens or even prevent crimes effectively and are instead used to ruin lives, this is a clear illustration of a criminal justice system run amuck. It also makes it even more important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to provide assistance when facing charges. A criminal defense attorney can help fight accusations, seek to get charges dropped, raise defenses and appeal sentences when the punishment does not fit the crime.
The Consequences of Sex Offender Laws for Sex With Minors
The 19-year-old facing 25 years on the sex offender registry will also face 90 days incarceration. His troubles began when he met a girl on an app called “Hot or Not?” The 19-year-old met the girl, who he believed was 17, and they engaged in consensual sex. The girl admitted readily that she was dishonest about her age, and her mother has repeatedly asked for the charges against the young man to be dropped. The police only became involved because the girl did not come home as expected and her mother was worried because the girl suffers from epilepsy.
The 19-year-old was arrested, charged with a crime, and entered into a plea agreement to try to keep him off the registry. There is a leniency provisions in Michigan for first-time offenders age 21 and under to allow them to avoid being labeled as a sex offender. The problem was, the plea agreement was violated. The prosecutor had agreed not to take a position on whether to apply the leniency provision, but when the sentencing phase came up, the prosecutor reminded the judge that he had refused to allow leniency in two prior similar cases.
During sentencing, the County District Court Judge said: “You went online, to use a fisherman’s expression, trolling for women to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this whatsoever.”
The judge then sentenced the young man to prison, 90 days on the registry, and five years probation. During the time he is on probation, the young man will not be allowed to live in a home where there is a smart phone or Internet access (he was formally a computer science major). He is also prohibited from speaking to anyone under the age of 17, other than his brothers.
The fact is, this young man’s behavior was very normal and is something that many young people do today. Because of an unfair law and one judge’s personal beliefs on the inappropriateness of the hookup culture, his young man’s life has effectively been destroyed by the criminal justice system.
Those who are facing criminal charges need to strongly consider seeking legal assistance, especially when accusations of a sex crime have been made. Call a Nevada criminal defense lawyer today for help fighting charges.