Have you been charged with a sex crime in Columbus, OH? If so, you have rights. Call the Law Office of James D. Owen, LLC at (614) 547-5757 to protect your future. Our Columbus sex crimes attorney has decades of experience handling these challenging cases and getting positive outcomes for our clients.

Contact our Columbus law firm today to schedule your free case consultation.

How Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me If I’m Facing Sex Crime Charges in Columbus?

Sexual offenses are punished severely and carry a huge social stigma. If you are convicted, you could face fines, jail time, and be required to register as a sex offender. Further, these offenses can show up on your record and negatively impact your housing and employment opportunities.

With that in mind, you need a Columbus criminal defense attorney that understands these very sensitive matters as well as the options available to you. At the Law Office of James D. Owen, LLC we are experienced in handling all levels of sex crimes. Our team will fully investigate your case and look into any potential defenses that can be raised. This could result in your charges being either reduced or kept off of your record entirely.

When you call us for assistance, you can rest assured that your defense is in capable, experienced, and successful hands. We’ll be with you every step of the way and work tirelessly to find the best outcome for your case. All you have to do is give our law office in Columbus a call to discuss your case and get started.

Overview of Sex Crimes in Columbus, OH 

In Ohio, the category “sex crimes” refers to a variety of different offenses. However, the term generally includes illegal acts that involve either sexual conduct or sexual contact. Sexual conduct includes penetration, fellatio, or cunnilingus.

By contrast, sexual contact is broader and includes any touching of an erogenous zone of another for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Keep in mind that, under the law, the term “sexual activity” refers to both sexual conduct and sexual contact. That said, common sex crime charges include:

Rape: refers to sexual conduct with someone other than a spouse by the threat of force, deception, or by impairing the alleged victim with drugs or intoxicants. Includes intercourse with a person under the age of 13, statutory rape, or with someone whose consent is impaired because of a mental or physical condition. (ORC 2907.02)

Sexual battery and gross sexual imposition: refers to other sexual conduct with someone that is not a spouse. It includes the same circumstances as with rape, but applies a teacher, coach, or other school administrator sexually assaulting a student. Mental health professionals and church clerics that engage in this type of activity also fall under this category of offenders. (ORC 2907.03)

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: child molestation laws involve an offender that is 18 years of age or older engaging in sexual conduct with a victim that is between 13 and 16 years old. The victim must not be a spouse and the offender must know that the victim is a minor, or be considered reckless in not having this knowledge. (ORC 2907.04)

Prostitution: involves engaging in sexual activity for money. It also includes a person compelling another to do so, or soliciting or requesting these services from someone. (ORC 2907.21)

Computer sex crimes: includes importuning (soliciting sex with a minor), disseminating harmful matter to juveniles, pandering, and illegal use of a minor in material or performance. 

Public indecency: involves exposing a person’s private parts or engaging in sexual activity that could be considered sexual to an observer (also known as lewd conduct). (ORC 2907.09)

What Are the Penalties For Sex Crimes in Ohio?

Now, when it comes to sex crimes, the punishment you could face depends largely on the underlying offense and the surrounding circumstances. As you might imagine, the penalty is more severe if you had priors and/or the act involved a minor.

That said, some sex offenses are misdemeanors, such as voyeurism and public indecency. Being convicted of voyeurism is considered a third-degree misdemeanor. This can lead to a punishment of up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500. Public indecency, on the other hand, is considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This can result in a jail term of up to 30 days and a fine up to $250. 

By contrast, some of these crimes are considered felonies and are punished more severely. Rape, for example, is considered a first-degree felony, which is punished by between 3 and 11 years in prison and fines up to $20,000. Likewise, compelling prostitution is considered a third-degree felony and is punished by between 9 months and 3 years in prison, plus fines up to $10,000. 

Sex Offender Classification

It’s important to note that following a conviction or a guilty plea, certain offenders must register as a sex offender. Specifically, there are three tiers that determine the conditions for registering and the duration:

Tier 1: includes voyeurism, pandering obscenity, and stalking with sexual motivation. These offenders must register/verify annually for a period of 15 years. There is no neighborhood/community notification requirement.

Tier 2: includes prostitution, kidnapping with sexual motivation, and pandering obscenity involving a minor. These offenders must register/verify every 6 months for 25 years. There is no neighborhood/community notification requirement.

Tier 3: includes the most serious sex crimes like rape and murder with sexual motivation.

These offenders must register/verify every 90 days for life, and are subject to neighborhood/community notifications. 

This means that the offender must notify all residents living within 1000 feet of where he or she resides. Further, there must be a public mailing sent out in a 1250 foot radius of the offender’s address. However, bear in mind that juvenile offenders (under the age of 18) may not have the community notification requirement.

Note that there are additional steps that must be taken for all sex offenders. This includes having the person’s information submitted to the National Sex Offender public website. Once listed, anyone can search for the offender’s name or find the person by neighborhood. The results will list the offender’s name, address, and include a description of the offense.

Offenders must also report all vehicles, internet, and email addresses to the County Sheriff. Further, an update must be made any time this information changes. This includes changes to an address, employment, vehicles, phone numbers, emails, social media websites, and internet. Finally, an offender is not allowed to live within 1000 feet of a school or daycare center.

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges in Columbus

As you can see, these criminal charges are very serious and may result in significant penalties that can affect you for the rest of your life. However, keep in mind that you have rights when charged with these crimes. Further, remember that you are considered innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is a very high standard and it requires significant evidence that establishes your guilt. To convict you, there can be no other logical explanation from the facts presented other than you committed the crime in question. Our law firm is experienced in handling tough offenses in Ohio, and we will work hard to make sure any improperly obtained evidence stays out of court.  

One basis for excluding evidence is due to constitutional violations. This is most commonly a result of the police performing an illegal search and seizure or obtaining a confession without first reading you the Miranda warning. Evidence obtained in this fashion cannot be used by the prosecution to build its case against you. 

Even permissible evidence offered by the prosecution may also be challenged as being unreliable. For example, a victim’s testimony may be called into question due to the person having an improper motive or a history of false accusations. If this is the case, his or her statements may be insufficient for the prosecution to establish your guilt. 

In addition, there may be other defenses that apply to your case. On example would be if the sex you engaged in was consensual. Another basis would be if you were charged as a result of mistaken identity. In other words, a crime may have been committed, but you were not the person that was involved. 

These cases can be complex. It can be helpful to reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney if you believe that one or more of these defenses is an option in your case. 

Contact Our Columbus Sex Crimes Lawyer Today for Help

If you have been accused of a sex crime, you have the right to have an attorney represent you throughout the proceedings. But, keep in mind that you don’t need to wait until you are formally charged to contact a criminal defense attorney in Columbus for legal advice. Even if you are only being investigated, the legal team at the Law Office of James D. Owen, LLC can assist you with this process and advise you on how best to respond. Call our law office today for a free consultation. 

Rape | Attempted Rape | Statutory Rape | Sexual Battery | Sexual Imposition | Voyeurism | Public Indecency | Prostitution | Sex TraffickingImportuning | Sex Offender | Child Pornography