Being charged with a sex crime, let alone being convicted, can bring devastating consequences to someone’s personal life, reputation, and entire future. Convictions for sex offenses carry serious criminal penalties, including a permanent criminal record. This alone makes you ineligible for certain occupations and frequently causes you to lose touch with family members. Immediate action is necessary in response to these types of criminal charges in order to limit the repercussions. 

If you are facing sex crime charges in Louisiana, you face a long list of consequences—especially if you do not take these allegations seriously. At each stage of the criminal process, an experienced criminal defense attorney like Michael J. Vergis will work tirelessly to defend your rights.

To speak with a Shreveport/Bossier City sex crimes lawyer at our law firm, call  318-698-3724 or complete our online intake form to schedule your free consultation today.

Bossier City Sex Crime Defense Attorney

What Constitutes a Sex Crime?

A sex crime is a type of criminal offense that involves sexual assault or otherwise has a sexual motive. Sex crimes cover a wide range of acts, but they almost always entail unlawful or forced sexual behavior against another person. Every state has laws banning various types of sex crimes, such as rape and prostitution, as well as its own set punishments for each crime.

Types of Sex Crimes

At The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, our sex crime lawyers handle all types of cases. Here are some of the more common types of sex crimes in Louisiana:

Sexual battery occurs when a defendant touches a victim sexually or makes the victim touch them sexually, either by body part or any kind of instrument, without their consent. If the perpetrator inflicts serious injury to the victim or if the victim is particularly vulnerable, sexual battery is penalized more harshly.

The act of anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse with a male or female without their lawful consent.

Statutory rape occurs when someone engages in sexual activity with someone who falls under the legal age of consent in Louisiana, which happens to be 17 years of age. In Louisiana, statutory rape is also called felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. It doesn’t matter if the minor allegedly agreed to the sexual conduct. The law believes that if they do not meet the legal age of consent, they are too naive to fully understand the severity and importance of sexual relations, and thus, the perpetrator committed a sexually immoral crime.

Federal law strictly prohibits the possession, distribution, production, importation, or reception of any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. If law enforcement agents find evidence of child pornography belonging to an individual, it will almost certainly lead to a sex crime arrest.

Online solicitation of a minor in Louisiana occurs when an adult engages in electronic communication with someone they know to be a minor, which is under the age of seventeen in Louisiana.  This typically occurs through commercial online services or other digital platforms, with the intent to commit a sexual offense or encourage the minor to engage in sexual conduct.

Molestation of a juvenile is the commission of a lewd act by anyone over the age of seventeen upon or in the presence of any child under the age of seventeen, where there is an age difference of more than 2 years, and with the intention of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of either person. This can be by the use of force, violence, intimidation, the threat of bodily harm, or influence through a position of control or supervision, among several other tactics.

The practice of providing sexual favors or intercourse in exchange for compensation.

The solicitation of a person with the intent to provide compensation in return for sexual intercourse or other sexual favors. Prostitution and the solicitation of prostitution are both generally charged as a misdemeanor, but certain circumstances can lead to a felony sex crime charge.

Sex trafficking refers to knowingly recruiting, harboring, transporting, soliciting, providing, receiving, isolating, enticing, obtaining, or maintaining another person for the purpose of providing sexual services or labor through deception, force, or coercion.

The romantic or sexual relationship between two persons who are related by whole or half-blood. This may include any combination of mother or father, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, niece or nephew, or any blood-related kin who possesses knowledge of their inherent biological relationship.

A lewd act upon or in the presence of any child under the age of seventeen and/or when there is an age difference of more than 2 years. This includes the electronic transmission, both textual and visual, of lewd or lascivious images or videos, text, or conduct of any kind.

Obscenity refers to the indecent exposure of the genitals, pubic hair, anus, vulva, or female nipples in any place open to the public view with the intent of arousing sexual desire or which appeals to lewd interests or is obviously offensive in nature.

This is when one person invades the privacy of a person by nonconsensually spying on them through doors, windows, or other openings of a private residence for the purpose of arousing or gratifying a sexual desire.

The unnatural carnal copulation with another human being of the same or opposite sex or with an animal (bestiality) is considered a crime against nature.

This charge occurs when a person fails to register, renew, or update sex offender registration on a regular basis, provide proof of residence, notify of a change of address or other registration information, or provide community notification as required by law, as well as a person who knowingly provides false information to a law enforcement agency when registering.

To be in violation of Louisiana’s revenge porn law, the following criteria must be met:

  • Intentionally disclosing an image of another person who is over the age of 17, can be identified from the image, and has their intimate parts either wholly or partially exposed.
  • Obtaining the image under circumstances that would reasonably lead someone to believe that it was meant to be kept private.
  • Knowing or having the reasonable expectation that the person depicted in the image did not consent to its disclosure.
  • Disclosing the image with the intention of harassing or causing emotional distress to the person depicted, while also being aware or reasonably should have been aware that such disclosure could result in harassment or emotional distress to that person.
Bossier City Louisiana Sex Crimes Attorney Law Firm

Penalties for Sex Crimes in Louisiana

Several factors determine the associated penalties for sex crimes in Louisiana. However, you can expect just about any sex crime charge to be met with harsh punishment, including fines and jail time. For instance, for the most egregious sexual offenses, especially those involving children, the maximum sentence could very well be life in prison without the possibility of release. Otherwise, penalties for sex crimes such as rape or sexual battery can range from approximately 10 to 40 years in prison. If the victim is under the age of 13 and the criminal is over the age of 17, the penalty will increase significantly. 

Aside from potentially lengthy prison sentences, a sex crime conviction also often carries several other collateral consequences. Parole, which may include the obligation to keep regular work, refrain from accessing locations such as schools or playgrounds, or limit the use of the internet and social media, is one of these consequences. Some internet sex crimes may also lead to lifetime internet and social media probation. 

Another potential consequence includes electronic monitoring, which requires tracking your location for an extended period of time, sometimes for life. Further, sex offenders must register with the state’s sex offender registry, which will likely affect their ability to obtain housing and work, as well as negatively impact their interpersonal connections and reputation. 

Possible Defenses for Sex Crimes in Louisiana

Depending on the unique circumstances surrounding your criminal defense case, there are a variety of defenses that may be applicable. Some of the most common defenses LA lawyers employ for sex crimes include:

  • Innocence
    • It is not uncommon for false allegations to be made against someone with the intention of causing harm or gaining a profit of some kind.
  • Consent
    • Proving the sexual act had been consensual.
  • Mental Duress
    • Proving that the defendant suffers from a mental illness that may or may not be apparent and that makes it difficult for them to tell right from wrong. 

In some cases where there is evidence stacked against you, your defense lawyer may find the best option is to opt for a guilty plea. A plea deal, also known as a plea bargain, is when the defendant admits to the crime and agrees for a judge to sentence them accordingly rather than take their case before a jury trial in court. By pleading guilty to the alleged sex offense, prosecutors typically agree to reduce the defendant’s sentence. 

The defense strategy your attorney utilizes depends on the legal issue in question and the amount of evidence (or lack thereof) the prosecutors have against you. Regardless, your lawyer will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf while defending your constitutional rights and advising you on how to proceed.

Bossier City Sex Crimes Attorney

Sex Offender Defense Attorney in Bossier City and Shreveport, LA

Being accused of a sex crime often carries harsh, lifelong consequences, but remember, this is not the end of the road. It takes time for the criminal justice system to work, and a conviction is never certain. It is possible that with the assistance of an experienced Bossier City criminal defense attorney, you can have your case dismissed, dropped, or even end up walking away innocent. Otherwise, your sex crimes attorney will work tirelessly to achieve a resolution that has the least impact on your life and livelihood.

Michael J. Vergis is one of the most experienced and renowned criminal defense attorneys in the Shreveport and Bossier City area. He has successfully defended a number of people accused of sex crimes, and he is ready to defend you in your criminal case, too. To explore your rights and legal alternatives, call the law office of Michael J. Vergis at 318-698-3724 or complete our online intake form to book a consultation today.

In addition to criminal defense, you may also hire Michael J. Vergis for Louisiana civil rights cases, personal injury cases, family law matters, and other related practice areas.