Teens, just like adults, can commit sex crimes. Also like adults, those convicted may be forced to register as sex offenders, which can have devastating lifelong consequences. Fortunately, it is possible for juvenile defendants to fight these crimes and their inclusion on the sex offenders registry with the help of a top lawyer like Peter M. Liss.
When Teens Sext
One particularly problematic legal area involving minors are sexts, which are not illegal for adults to send, but when the sender is under 18 years old, both the sender and receiver can be guilty of child pornography charges. In addition, if one teen sends a sext to others without the knowledge of the person in the image, he or she can also be charged with revenge porn.
Unfortunately, many teens do not realize the potential consequences of simply sending or receiving a naked picture, which is why it is so important to speak with an attorney with experience in juvenile sex offenses as soon as charges arise and before the defendant talks to anyone about what happened.
Other Common Sex Crimes Committed by Teens
Aside from charges related to sexting, teens can also be accused of any other type of sex crime that an adult may be charged with. This can include sexual behavior more exhibitionist in nature, such as public indecency, or a more violent act such as sexual assault. Minors can also be charged with committing other offenses against other children, including statutory rape or child molestation.
Sexual Assault Cases With Juvenile Defendants
California state law allows for public hearings in cases where juveniles have been accused of sexual assault. Those who are over 16 and accused of forcible sexual assault can be tried in adult court, but those under that age or who have been accused of raping an unconscious, disabled or otherwise defenseless victim will be tried in juvenile courts. Even those charged in juvenile courts will be required to go through a sex offender treatment program and cannot go through a diversion program to keep the charge off of their record.
Not All Convictions Result in Sex Offender Registration
It is important to know that not every juvenile accused of sex crimes be forced to register on the state’s sex offenders list. If a minor is granted probation for a sex crime, he or she will be able to avoid registration. It is also possible when probation is completed to have the charges dismissed and the record sealed.
On the other hand, if a minor is not granted probation and he or she is sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice for the charge, then upon release from custody, he or she will be required to register on the sex offender list. Additionally, if a teen is over 16, he or she may be tried as an adult for some sex crimes and if this happens and the teen is convicted, he or she will automatically be subject to registration.
As long as a person is a minor, she will not be placed on the public Megan’s Law website with other sex offenders, but local law enforcement will be able to notify the public if they believe the teen may present a threat to the public.
About Recidivism Rates
In most cases, a juvenile who commits criminal a sexual offense is motivated by curiosity, not the types of predatory or psychopathic impulses that lead adults to commit crimes of sexual abuse. This is likely why, unlike adult offenders, research shows that teens are not likely to commit subsequent offenses. Evidence also shows that a juvenile sex offender placed on their state’s sex crime registry will not be any less likely to commit further sexual offenses than an offender not placed on such a registry.
Perhaps most surprisingly is the fact that research indicates even the severity of the crime has no impact on the likelihood an offender will commit a crime again in the future. In other words, a minor who raped someone is just as unlikely to perform another sex crime as a teen charged with sending illegal sexual content featuring nude pictures of herself.
Fighting Juvenile Sex Crime Charges
In many cases, the best course of action for minors accused of sex crimes is to work with their attorney to negotiate a plea bargain that allows for probation and thus, will not result in registration as a sex offender. This is a very serious decision that should not be taken lightly and something that you should not consider without speaking to a lawyer.
If your teen son or daughter has been accused of any sex offense, it is critical you contact Peter Liss as soon as possible. Remember that saying the wrong thing could end up hurting your defense and making your case much more difficult later. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.