Sex, in itself, is and has always been an extremely vital part of the human psyche. Unfortunately, through some bit of misplaced wiring in the brains of certain individuals, what we consider to be a normal sex drive, becomes twisted. As Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Jack B. Carroll has said time and time again, sex crimes are not only immoral, but they are criminal.
These can take many, sometimes very strange and bizarre, forms, but when it interacts with others, such as children, rape of adults, and worse, the is not only a crime but an offense against all of humanity.
Now, sex offenders must register. Not to do so is a felony. Many do register, but certainly not all.
Leading Sex Offender Strongholds
California, with over a hundred thousand registered sex offenders, has more than any other state in the country. Texas, however, doesn’t lag far behind with nearly seventy thousand.
While many feel that these offenders act the way they do out of choice, we know today that from the earliest times, people are born with certain needs and desires they cannot control. While it may be difficult to look upon some of these with pity, we should also give them the benefit of doubt. It is not for us, but perhaps for the courts to decide. Despite prison sentences and counseling, most of these return to their old habits upon release.
Any time an accused sex offender must appear in court, the presence and counsel of an attorney is of vital importance. No other person in that courtroom is going to offer a word on behalf of the accused. Worse, the accused is frequently threatened with dire punishment (punishment that cannot really be imposed) unless he/she accepts a plea bargain. This is not always in the best interest of the accused.
Only a defense attorney knows the defendant’s rights and can advise him/her, on the best line of defense. It is not the attorney’s job to judge the defendant’s guilt or innocence, but simply to look out for his/her client’s best interest in the courtroom.
Texas Sex Crimes Laws
Sex Offender Registry
Chapter 62 of the Criminal Code requires sex offenders to register. Failure to do so can be a felony. In Texas, recent and sometimes ongoing changes in Texas laws only add to the confusion an accused defendant cannot be expected to know or understand.
An attorney knows and keeps abreast of the latest changes in the laws, and going beyond that, a defense attorney can speak directly with the prosecution. Aside from being offered a “deal”, a defendant is very unlikely going to talk to, or hear from, the prosecution until they “meet” in court.
Many sex charges are felonious, a very serious charge against an individual. An attorney will speak to the prosecution. If possible, a defense attorney will point out certain weaknesses, or lack of certain evidence against the defendant. Some evidence may be inadmissible but if the defense lets this slip by, no one is likely to correct the error.
Note: Prosecutors don’t want to pursue cases they feel they can’t win.
Often the defense attorney can convince the prosecution to reduce the charge or even to drop all charges and the prisoner will be released from jail.
Although technically, every person has the right to stand up and speak in his/her own defense, the reality is quite different.
This is an actual case of a number of different defendants appearing before a judge one morning.
Among those, a gentleman faced a charge of attempting to molest a young woman in a local bar. His attorney stood and explained to the judge that the accused was a veteran returning from two tours of duty in Afghanistan and at the moment became confused, believing the woman was his bride-to-be.
The attorney continued until the judge, speaking directly to the accused, told him how our country thanks him for his service and cautioned him against alcoholism, etc. before imposing a token fine.
A few cases later, a young woman had been accused of drunk driving. The arresting police officer appeared before the judge and told how the woman had been driving erratically through the small but busy town in an intoxicated condition. She was not wearing a seatbelt, and it got worse: in the back seat, two children both under the age of five were not in their car seats.
Facing very serious charges, her attorney made a long and tiresome exculpatory explanation of the woman’s disappointment when her husband, due home from military service, failed to appear when expected. Meanwhile, the woman began to sob and dab at tears.
Despite the seriousness of the crime, the judge acquitted the charges against the woman, only admonishing her to be more careful, especially when she had children in her vehicle.
Almost immediately this case was followed by a young man accused of insulting several women in a bar. When the bouncer ( a “moonlighting” police officer) attempted to eject the man, he was assaulted but easily overcome and soon the police came and arrested him.
The young man, having no one to represent him, mumbled some sort of explanation saying he didn’t realize the bouncer was an officer of the law and had a job to do. He thought the bouncer was just a barfly who was trying to interfere, etc.
Without any preamble, the judge sentenced the man to thirty days in jail or a substantial fine. The young man implored the judge to allow him to go back to work and make payments. He had a family to support.
Unmoved in the least, the judge told him that he should have thought of that before he began drinking.
If anyone had witnessed this morning in a courtroom, there would be little doubt as to the advisability of seeking the counsel of an attorney in every case. Judges and attorneys (prosecuting and defense combined) have little patience with defendants who appear in court without representation.
A sex crime accusation is a very serious charge. The penalty can be harsh. Many sex offenders, in particular those who have been involved in child pornography or molestation, can have sentences as heavy as twenty years imposed on them. A young man of twenty might be forty upon release — some of his best and most productive years spent wasting away behind bars.
Guilty or not guilty, every defendant deserves his or her day in court, and guilt must be proven. A defense attorney is the accused’s only hope of getting a fair and proper hearing.