Few crimes are considered to be more serious than those involving sex. Any whispers of an allegation of a sexual offense can turn your life upside-down.
If you have been arrested and charged with a sexual offense in Dayton, Ohio, you may find yourself on the receiving end of some pretty harsh punishments, including fines, imprisonment, a criminal record, and register as a sex offender.
Of course, before the legal system can slap you with any of these penalties, they must prove that you are guilty of the sex offenses you’ve been accused of. You should make their job as difficult as possible and minimize the risk of being convicted. Hiring an experienced Dayton sex crimes defense lawyer can help.
The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates have been helping the people of Montgomery County fight back against their sex crime charges for many years. If you have been accused of rape, sexual assault, or any other sexual offense, and need someone to help you fight for your future, do not hesitate to reach out to us by phone or online today.
Common Sexual Offenses in Montgomery County
Chapter 2907 of the Ohio Revised Code outlines a wide variety of reasons why an individual may be charged with a sex crime in Dayton, Montgomery County, and the entire state. Some of the most common offenses include:
Section 2907.02 of the Ohio Revised Code states that any individual who forces or threatens to force another person into sexual conduct may be charged with rape. The section further explains that an individual may also be charged with rape if they engage in sexual conduct with another person and:
- The other person is younger than 13;
- The offender has reason to believe that the other person’s ability to provide consent is hampered by a mental or physical condition; or
- The offender has used alcohol, drugs, or another controlled substance to impair the other person’s judgment.
Rape is almost always punished as a first-degree felony. Prison time varies depending on the age of the victim but may run as high as life without the possibility of parole.
- The offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit
- The offender knows that the other person is unaware that the sexual act is being committed
- The offender knows that the other person’s ability to consent or control their conduct has been impaired
- The offender knows that the other person has mistakenly identified them as their spouse or sexual partner
- The offender is the other person’s parent, step-parent, or guardian
- The offender is a teacher, coach, or school administrator and the other person attends the school or is a minor
- The offender is an employee of a jail, prison, or other detention facility and the other person is currently in custody at the facility
- The offender is a mental health professional who tells the other person that the sexual conduct is a necessary part of their treatment
- The offender is a priest, rabbi, or other cleric and the other person is a minor and a member of their congregation
Sexual battery is usually punishable as a second- or third-degree felony. Prison terms can run as high as eight years.
Section 2907.21 of the Ohio Revised Code states that an individual can be charged with prostitution if:
- The offender is a parent or guardian of a minor who they allow to engage in sexual activity for hire
- The offender pays a minor for sexual activity
- The offender induces, solicits, or otherwise requests sexual activity for hire from a minor
- The offender wittingly compels any other person to engage in sexual activity for hire
Penalties for prostitution depend on the age of the victim and the previous criminal history of the offender. It is generally punishable as a first-, second-, or third-degree felony and may come with a mandatory prison term.
Possession of Child Pornography
Section 2907.322 of the Ohio Revised Code explains that any individual who knowingly solicits, purchases, creates, or otherwise possesses child pornography may be charged with this offense. The punishment for possessing child pornography depends on the quantity and specific nature of the content. Generally speaking, it is punishable as a second-, third-, or fourth-degree felony. Potential prison terms go up to eight years.
Section 2907.07 of the Ohio Revised Code says that an individual may be charged with importuning under any of the following conditions:
- The offender solicits sexual activity from a child under the age of 13
- The offender solicits sexual activity from a child who is between 13 and 16 years old, when the offender is older than 18
- The offender solicits sexual activity from a minor through the use of a computer or another connected device
Importuning is generally punishable as a second- or third-degree felony, with possible prison terms of up to eight years.
What are the Ohio Sexual Offender Classifications?
In the vast majority of cases, being convicted of a sex crime in Ohio means registering as a sexual offender in addition to any jail or prison time. The federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act stipulates that offenders must be classified into three different tiers. These tiers determine the severity of the sex crime in question. They are:
Individuals who have been convicted of crimes like voyeurism, importuning, and sexual conduct with a minor are categorized as Tier I sexual offenders. Individuals in this category must register with their local sheriff once a year for a period of 15 years in addition to keeping law enforcement up to date on any address changes or new jobs.
Anyone who has been found guilty of committing crimes like compelling prostitution and child endangerment can be classified as a Tier II sexual offender. Committing a second Tier I crime can also result in reclassification as a Tier II offender. Individuals who are classified as Tier II offenders much keep law enforcement up to date on any job/address changes and check in with their local sheriff every 180 days for 25 years.
Those who have been convicted of rape, sexual battery, or repeated Tier II offenses can be classified as Tier III sexual offenders. This designation stays with them for the remainder of their life and requires them to check in with their county sheriff every 90 days. Tier III offenders must also keep law enforcement officials apprised of any changes in employment or address.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes in Ohio?
In the state of Ohio, prosecuting attorneys generally have six years to file charges in a felony sex crime case. For most misdemeanors, the statute of limitations is two years. That period is reduced to six months for minor misdemeanors.
Of course, there are some exceptions to Ohio’s statutes of limitations. For instance, Section 2901.13(A)(3)(a) of the Ohio Revised Code allows for the prosecution of compelling prostitution, gross sexual imposition, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor for up to 20 years after the crime was committed.
Section 2901.13(A)(4) of the Ohio Revised Code further extends the statutes of limitations in the case of rape and sexual battery. Charges can be filed for these crimes for up to 25 years after the crime was committed.
Why Should You Hire an Experienced Sex Crime Defense Attorney to Help You with Your Case?
If you have been charged with rape, sexual assault, importuning, or any other sex crime, it is vital that you find experienced legal representation as quickly as possible. Your lawyer may be able to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. To accomplish these feats, they will likely employ some of the following tactics:
Proving Your Innocence
It goes without saying that the best way to have your sex crime charges dropped is to prove your innocence. Your lawyer can do this in a variety of ways, such as finding a witness who can provide you with an alibi or using your phone’s GPS data to show that you were elsewhere when the alleged crime took place. As long as they can show the court that you couldn’t possibly have committed the crime, your charges should be dismissed in fairly short order.
Arguing Mistaken Identity
Many sex crimes happen late at night – when visibility is low. As such, it is not unusual for the victim to accidentally point the finger at the wrong person. If this happens to you, your attorney will fight to show the court that the victim was mistaken when they identified, causing reasonable doubt to creep into the prosecution’s case – potentially resulting in the dismissal of your charges.
Finding Law Enforcement Errors or Rules Violations
While arresting and investigating you, law enforcement officials must follow a series of strict guidelines and rules. If your lawyer can show that officers made mistakes or violations, they may be able to have evidence disqualified from the case. Depending on how valuable that evidence was, the prosecution may then opt to reduce your charges or dismiss your case entirely.
Your Montgomery County Sex Crimes Law Firm
When you need a defense lawyer in Dayton, Ohio to help you defend yourself against sex crime allegations, you can turn to Suhre & Associates. Our knowledgeable legal team has assisted countless clients against criminal charges, and we would love to help you too.
Contact our Dayton, OH law firm to schedule a free consultation. Our skilled legal team will review your case, explain your rights, and help you determine how to move forward with your defense. The state will begin to work on building a case against you right away, so don’t hesitate to call us for help today.