Knoxville Sex Crimes Lawyer
The prospect of being charged with a sex crime is frightening enough--your reputation, if nothing else, is at stake. What's more, however, is that a conviction will impact your life for the rest of your life. A conviction likely means you have to register as a sex offender and, in some cases, could expose you to community supervision for life. As such, it will affect your employment opportunities, housing or living arrangements, and personal relationships. In some cases, a conviction could even result in a period of incarceration.
You need a sex crimes defense lawyer who knows how to address and defend criminal sex charges in Tennessee. At Burks & Ogle, our criminal defense attorneys have significant experience litigating sex crimes offenses. Our attorneys possess the required knowledge, preparation, and trial skills to assist you. We will review your case, lay out all your legal options, and help you develop a strategy to combat these harmful allegations. Contact us today by filling out an online form or calling us directly at 865-522-4964 to schedule a Free Consultation.
Types of Sex Crimes in Tennessee
Sex crimes make up a broad range of offenses. Each jurisdiction has its specific definition for its specific criminal sex acts.
Types of Sex Crimes
- Rape (T.C.A. 39-13-503) - sexual penetration by force, coercion, without consent, or while the alleged victim is physically or mentally incapacitated.
- Aggravated Rape (T.C.A. 39-13-502) - a rape that is alleged to occur by use of a weapon, or that causes bodily injury, or is committed in concert with other persons.
- Statutory Rape (T.C.A. 39-13-506) - sexual penetration, even where consensual, involving an underage victim.
- Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure (39-13-532) - a statutory rape that is alleged to occur where the accused individual is in a position of trust, has supervisory authority, or parental/custodial authority over the underage victim. (EXAMPLES: Teacher, Scout Troop Leader, Minister, Parent or Step-Parent)
- Sexual Battery (T.C.A. 39-13-505) - unlawful sexual contact with another person.
- Aggravated Sexual Battery (T.C.A. 39-13-504) - a sexual battery that is alleged to occur through force or coercion involving the use of a weapon, or that causes bodily injury, or is committed in concert with other persons.
- Rape of a Child (T.C.A. 39-13-522) - sexual penetration of a minor more than 8 years of age but less than 13 years of age.
- Aggravated Rape of a Child (T.C.A. 39-13-531) - sexual penetration of a minor 8 years of age or less. This offense is particularly serious because, if convicted, a judge shall mandatorily sentence the individual to imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
- Sexual Exploitation of Minors via Electronic Means (T.C.A. 39-13-529) - Possession or distribution of illicit sexual material, such as child pornography.
- Solicitation of Person Under 18 Years of Age (T.C.A. 39-13-528) - personal or electronic communication intending to command, request, hire, persuade, invite, or attempt to induce a minor or a law enforcement officer posing as a minor to engage in a sexual offense.
- Indecent Exposure (T.C.A. 39-13-511) - exposure of the genitals to another in a public place or engaging in public sex or masturbation where the accused reasonably expects the acts will be viewed by another and will offend an ordinary person or is done for the sexual gratification of the accused.
- Public Indecency (T.C.A. 39-13-517) - exposure of genitals or engagement in sexual acts in a public place.
Most jurisdictions recognize certain circumstances that can aggravate the offense and make the allegations more serious.
Potential Aggravating Circumstances
- the involvement of a child victim
- the use of force
- the use of a weapon
- the use of an intoxicant to render a victim unconscious during the act.
What Are the Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction in Tennessee?
The penalties for sex crimes range from fines to lengthy periods of incarceration. A conviction of a sex crime can lead to any of the below penalties.
- Fines or Fees
- Sexual Offender Registry
- Community Supervision for Life
- Classes or Treatment
When sentencing someone for a sex crime, the court takes into account the circumstances of the offense, the characteristics of the victim, and the offender's personal situation. These circumstances may enhance or mitigate the sentence imposed by the judge.
The judge can consider mitigating aspects used to justify a sentence less than the proposed minimum, such as:
- Amenability to Rehabilitation
- Willingness to Undergo Treatment
- Past Behavior and Lack of Criminal History
- Psychological and Social Background
- Employment History
- Community Involvement
- Family Support
A prior conviction for a similar offense or the presence of an aggravating circumstance usually results in a harsher sentence. Sex crimes involving children elicit the harshest penalties. Some sex crimes require the court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence.
In addition to any penalty they receive, a convicted sex offender in Tennessee must register with the relevant state or national sex offender registry. This requires the person to provide their personal information, like their residential address and employment status, to local law enforcement. Their information is then released or publicized to local organizations and/or the public through what has become known as Megan's Law. Failure to register as a sex offender carries additional consequences and possible criminal charges.
How can a sex crimes attorney help?
If you've been charged or are under investigation for a sex crime, you should immediately seek professional advice from a criminal defense attorney with experience dealing with sexual offenses. Accusations of this nature are serious, with potentially severe penalties and long-lasting consequences.
It is possible to defend against a sex crime. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard of proof, and there are many avenues to explore when contesting allegations of this nature. Our attorneys will bring to bear their unique experience and knowledge to help you mount the greatest possible defense through proactive representation.
Contact a Knoxville Sex Crimes Attorney Today
An experienced attorney can explain your rights to you, as well as any potential defenses available to you. They can also ensure you receive a fair trial and prepare an effective defense to the charges on your behalf. To discuss your case, call Burks & Ogle at 865-522-4964 or fill out an online form to schedule a Free Consultation.