A skilled sex crime defense lawyer with over 25 years of experience helps a client charged with unlawful intercourse to get the best possible results.
According to Penal Code 261.5, it is unlawful to have sexual intercourse with a person aged 15-17.
This charge is commonly known as “statutory” rape because there is no force involved. The statute prohibits sexual intercourse with a minor even if the intercourse is voluntary and consensual.
HOW THE DEFENSE LAWYER HELPS HIS CLIENT BEFORE COURT
Most felony cases begin with an arrest and the accused is put in jail where he or she remains until bail is posted or the judge releases the accused.
Get Out of Jail. If the accused is charged with a felony and is in jail, there are several ways criminal lawyer Pflaum can help him or her get released before the first court date, or during the first court date at the arraignment.
The procedures to get a person out of custody depend on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the present status of the accused, i.e., ties to the community, employment, ownership of property, age, health, prior criminal record, military experience and character references.
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HOW THE LAWYER HELPS HIS CLIENT DURING THE COURT PROCESS
Most cases in court are resolved by way of a plea bargain.
Criminal Charges. The plea bargain is a vital part of the process in the criminal justice system that involves an agreement between the criminal defense lawyer, his client, the prosecutor, and the judge to dismiss or reduce the original criminal charges.
Punishment. The plea bargain usually includes an agreement about the terms of the punishment such as serving no time in jail, alternatives to serving time in jail, community service, and reduced fines.
Other Terms. There are usually many other terms and conditions that are the subject of a plea bargain that include educational programs, public work service, rehabilitation, community service, sex offender registration, payment of restitution (damages), counseling, and voluntary service.
An experienced criminal defense attorney knows what the best plea bargain should be and how to get it done right for his client.
Timing. The plea bargain process may happen in a court room where the prosecutor and the defense attorney meet to discuss the case, or the meeting may take place in the judge’s chambers or office, or by informal communications by telephone or email between the defense lawyer and the prosecutor assigned to the case even before the first or second appearance in court.
When the defense attorney has the best offer of a plea bargain for the client, the attorney and the client meet to talk about the details of the plea bargain, and then decide whether to accept the plea bargain.
If the plea bargain is acceptable, the attorney notifies the prosecutor and the judge.
Then the judge who is in court will accept the plea bargain and set a date and time for sentencing either immediately or at a later date in court.
Trial. Some cases, depending upon the circumstances, the evidence, and the client’s preference, may go to jury trial where Mr. Pflaum has many many years of successful experience.
There are many defenses at trial. The right defense depends upon the client, the type of case, the criminal charges, the state of the evidence, witness testimony, the police reports, photographs, official records, and the credibility of the witness/es or lack of witness/es.
The best defense at trial will depend on the facts and evidence of the case. The most common defenses are:
- no criminal intent
- insufficiency of the evidence
- no identification of the defendant
- lack of motive
- no corroboration
- inconsistent testimony
- unbelievable testimony
- violation of the right to remain silent
- incomplete police investigation
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A violation of PC 261.5 is a “wobbler” which means that it may either be a felony or a misdemeanor.
Any person who has sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in prison.
Any person 21 years of age or older who has sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment for two, three, or four years.
One of the worse aspects or ‘penalties’ of being convicted of a violation of PC 261.5 is the potential requirement to register as a sex offender for the rest of one’s life.
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