Sex Crimes

ttorney Richard M. Oberto has taken some of the most complicated sex cases to contested hearings and to trial and prevailed. He has protected and vindicated his clients’ rights in the most difficult cases. Mr. Oberto can provide clients with peace of mind, expert guidance, and a strategic way forward.

As a criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Oberto understands that sex offense allegations require special attention to the accused person’s Constitutional and legal rights. An accused person may find that community members who know nothing about the case are prepared to assume he is guilty and call for his punishment. In some cases, law enforcement officials are so eager to prosecute a case that they violate the rights of the accused person. When a case goes to trial, some prospective jurors admit during the jury selection process that they cannot be fair to a person who is accused of a sex crime. Mr. Oberto ensures that the accused person’s rights are fully protected. He ensures that the legal process complies with Constitutional standards and that the principle of innocent until proven guilty prevails.

Felony and Misdemeanors Offenses

Sex crimes include both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Many of the felony offenses provide for very long prison terms. Some offenses carry the potential for life in prison, and some carry potential eligibility for indeterminate commitment as a Sexually Violent Predator. Even when the potential penalties are not so severe as life in prison, a convicted person faces the prospect of long incarceration, fines, additional penalties, and in some cases lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Sex offenses generally fall into three broad categories. The first includes offenses such as rape that involve the taking of sex without consent. Rape may occur when a person uses force, fear, or threats to accomplish an act of sexual intercourse. Rape also may occur when a person has sexual intercourse with a person who is intoxicated or unconscious. Other crimes that can be charged in circumstances similar to rape include oral copulation and sodomy.

A second category of sex offenses includes crimes that occur against minors only. Examples of such offenses include sex with a minor, lewd or lascivious act with a minor, and arranging to meet with a minor for a lewd purpose. The offenses are organized according to the age of the minor, the age of the accused, and the nature of the sexual act or sexual touching.

A third category of sex offenses includes a variety of different crimes where the offender does not necessarily engage in sexual touching with a victim. Examples of such offenses include the following: indecent exposure; possession or distribution of child pornography; pimping, pandering, and prostitution.

Sex Offender Registration (Penal Code section 290)

Lifetime registration as a sex offender is mandatory upon conviction for certain misdemeanor and felony sex offenses. Even when lifetime registration is not mandatory, a Judge may have the discretion to order lifetime registration. The registration requirements are stringent. A person who is required to register can be charged with a new criminal offense for failing to register at designated times. An experienced defense attorney is essential to protect the rights of an accused person.

Evidentiary Issues

The California Evidence Code contains special provisions that apply sex cases. Section 1108 permits prosecutors in certain circumstances to use evidence of uncharged sex offenses against the accused person. Prosecutors may argue that the uncharged offenses show that the accused person was inclined or disposed to commit sex crimes. The accused person may have a right to exclude such evidence as irrelevant and unduly prejudicial under Evidence Code section 352. The evidence also might be subject to exclusion based on the accused person’s rights under the Constitution to Due Process and Fair Trial.

Prosecutors in certain circumstances may argue that the Evidence Code permits them to introduce evidence of “Trauma or Accommodation Syndromes.” They may argue that such evidence is relevant to account for a complaining witness’s otherwise inconsistent testimony or behavior. A skilled defense attorney can address these prosecution tactics and put the evidence in the proper legal and factual perspective.

Skilled Legal Representation

Mr. Oberto has successfully defended clients against the worst allegations. He treats every case with the utmost dignity and care.

Mr. Oberto welcomes people to contact him 24/7 at (559) 221-2557 to request an initial consultation. Se habla Espanol.

People also may contact Mr. Oberto to request an initial consultation using the contact form available on this website. Please do not use the contact form to write down sensitive information. Information communicated over the internet, including through this website, may not be considered confidential or privileged.

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