Increasingly, state and federal authorities are monitoring and prosecuting sexual offenses involving computers and the internet. There are elaborate sting operations to seek out individuals who engage in sexually explicit chats and emails with minors (or, more frequently, law enforcement officers pretending to be minors). The sting operations usually culminate in the police setting up a meeting between the supposed minor and the individual. When the individual shows up to meet the minor, he is arrested, his home and computer are searched, and he can be charged with a variety of sexual offenses. Typical charges include: attempted molestation (Penal Code section 664/288(a)), attempted sending harmful matter to a minor (Penal Code section 664/288.2), arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes (Penal Code section 288.3), bothering or annoying a child (Penal Code section 647.6), and possession of child pornography. (Penal Code section 311.11; 18 U.S.C. section 2252.) Possession of child pornography is a serious crime, both under California and federal laws. Prosecution for possession of child pornography under federal law can carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
Although the internet and child pornography are the starting points for many sex crime investigations, other cases begin with allegations of prohibited sexual behavior with other people. Sexual offense prosecutions involve offenses such as sexual battery (Penal Code section 243.4), rape (Penal Code section 261), unlawful sexual intercourse (Penal Code section 261.5), indecent exposure (Penal Code section 314), and sexual abuse of a minor. (Penal Code sections 288, 288.5, 288a.) These cases also generally lead to a search of the home and the computer of the accused.
Individuals who have previously been convicted of a sex offense can be charged with failure to comply with the sexual offender registration requirements. (Penal Code section 290.)
The consequences of being charged with a sexual offense are severe. Bail is often high. If convicted, the sentences can be extremely long and a conviction of most sexual offenses requires registration for life as a sexual offender. (Penal Code section 290.) Some, but not all, registered sex offenders have their name, address and photograph published on the Attorney General Sex Offender website.
Defending charges involving sexual offenses is always complicated. The attorneys at Nolan Barton & Olmos have a thorough understanding of the state and federal laws regarding sexual offenses and registration, as well as decades of trial experience. They work with computer experts, medical doctors, criminalists, polygraphers, and other experts to prepare and present the best possible defense. Whether the defense involves fighting the charges through a jury trial or negotiating the best resolution possible, the attorneys at Nolan Barton & Olmos can ably assist those charged with sexual offenses. Attorneys at the firm have won acquittals at jury trial in cases involving charges of sexual molestation, rape, sexual battery, child pornography, and other sex related crimes.