This has been a growth area for law enforcement for the last few years. The popularity of online chat rooms and internet dating sites has given police the ability to assume the guise of an alleged victim, and conduct sting operations without ever meeting the defendant. Sex offenses may include any of the following:
This involves arranging a meeting with someone (usually underage) for sex, and is a common result of detectives who conduct sting operations online. You do not have to actually participate in a sex act to be charged. In some cases, people have been arrested and prosecuted without ever attempting a face to face meeting.
These are obviously among the most serious charges, usually involving mandatory prison sentences, and sex offender registration. As serious as these charges are, they are often brought with little or no physical evidence of a struggle. This is especially common in so called “date rape” cases. Mr. Booher has successfully defended a number of these cases, both at trial and otherwise. In recent years the use of DNA evidence has become vitally important in the prosecution and defense of serious sex offenses. Not only can DNA testing involve the testing of bodily fluids, but crime laboratories are now analyzing so called “touch DNA” derived from sweat, skin cells, clothing, and other sources.
While DNA can be used to convict, it can be used to prove innocence as well, and the absence of DNA evidence can provide the critical element of “reasonable doubt” to obtain an acquittal at trial. In the summer of 2015, Mr. Booher obtained a not guilty verdict in a jury trial on a charge of Gross Sexual Imposition, largely on this very issue.
Failure to register as a sex offender. One of the most disturbing aspects of current law is that most sex offenses, even some misdemeanors, require sex offender registration. Depending on the level of the offense, the registration requirement may be 15 years, 25 years, or lifetime. The classification may prohibit you from living within 1000 feet of a school, and will place you on a sex offender registry. Failure to register in accordance with the law is a separate felony by itself, and may subject you to mandatory sentencing, oftentimes a more serious penalty than the original offense that led to the classification.
Child pornography was once a rarely prosecuted crime, until the computer age made instantaneous transmission of images and video a mainstream occurrence. This has become a major area of concentration for the federal government, often conducted by joint task forces combining the FBI, Homeland Security, the Attorney General’s office and the U.S Marshall’s office.
Federal child pornography prosecutions can carry extreme penalties, including long mandatory prison sentences. The minimum mandatory sentence for production of child pornography, for example, can be 20 years. However, the legal process is long, and there are defenses, and legal alternatives, that can be employed. If you are served a warrant by Federal authorities, it is important to make NO statements, and seek legal representation as soon as possible.
The state of Ohio doesn’t have any statutes entitled “Child Pornography”. They are contained inside the Pandering Obscenity statutes, O.R.C § 2907.32-.2907.33. Depending on the facts, they can be charged as fourth degree felonies (maximum sentence 18 months), up to second degree felonies (maximum sentence 8 years). Bear in mind that each image or event can be charged separately. Mistake of age is not a defense. Sex offender registration laws apply.
This is a tricky area of the law, because clients can be charged with a crime when the alleged victim is unknown. Additionally, computer technology has muddied the waters with regard to what is actually depicted in a given photograph. Expert witnesses may be necessary to rebut the state’s allegations in child pornography prosecutions. Mr. Booher has successfully represented clients in this evolving area of the law, avoiding incarceration as well as sex offender classification.
While this is a misdemeanor, the same hazards exist for Defendants charged with this offense. A number of these prosecutions are simply as a result of a person attempting to urinate out of doors. While simply “answering an urgent call of nature” is not criminal under the law, you may need an aggressive, experienced attorney to defend your rights in such a case.
Being accused of a sex offense is unquestionably one of the most difficult things anyone can experience. If you are under investigation or charged with a sex offense, you need a tough, seasoned attorney who has handled many sex offenses.
You also need representation before you make damaging admissions to law enforcement. Call the Michael Booher Law Office before you speak to the police or anyone else. Law enforcement officers often act VERY aggressively when conducting interrogations of suspects in these cases. Do not EVER speak with an officer or detective without legal counsel, no matter what the police may say.