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Defending Sex Crimes Charges Work with Our Firm to Avoid Serious, Life-Changing Penalties.

Lexington Sex Crime Lawyer

Defending Sex Crimes Charges

Lexington Sex Crime Lawyer

Representation for Defendants in Lexington & Columbia, SC
In the public’s eye, there is almost no charge worse than a sexual assault or the sexual abuse of a child. Oftentimes, you will be considered guilty until proven innocent for all practical purposes. A conviction will likely result in a lifelong entry in the South Carolina Sex Offense Registry, which is frequently searched by employers, schools, churches, and even neighborhood associations. A sex crime conviction could also subject you to further indefinite confinement under the South Carolina Sexually Violent Predator Act.

Work with our firm to avoid serious, life-changing penalties. Contact us today!

Lexington Sex Crime Attorney

Charges of sexual abuse may be a result of someone attempting to gain an advantage in a family court divorce of custody. Some cases are even brought because someone may believe that if they can obtain a conviction with a false testimony, that they will be the recipient of some sort of financial settlement. Frequently the obvious potential inconsistences and ulterior motives will not serve as a deterrent to an arrest and prosecution in a sex case.

When young children are involved, their recollections and statements are subject to be products of undue influence and suggestibility. Your case may require the use of expert psychologists or other medical personal to refute the state’s allegations and to look out for instances of unreliable testimony. Where there is a possibility that an expert may assist in the preparation of your defense or in the trial of your case, Mr. Snell will help you select the right expert for your case.

Common Sex Crimes in South Carolina

There are many different types of sex crimes that our Lexington criminal defense attorneys have encountered. At Law Office of James R. Snell, we understand the process that we must go through with you. During a case evaluation, we can discuss the details of your situation.

These are the common sex crimes that we handle:

Criminal Sexual Conduct, Rape: S.C. Code 16-3-652 Criminal sexual conduct, or rape, is a felony punishable by up to 30 years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense involves a sexual battery (usually some form of penetration) on a victim with the use of force, intimidation, or by rendering the victim incapacitated.

Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor: S.C. Code §16-3-655 Criminal sexual conduct with a minor with a victim under the age of 11 is a felony punishable by a minimum of 25 years to life imprisonment. Second offenders will receive life without the possibility of parole or execution. If the victim is between 11 and 16 it is punishable by 10 to 30 years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This is the offense of committing a sexual battery (usually that involves penetration) upon the body of a minor. This is one of the absolute most serious charges under South Carolina law. Frequently those charged with this offense will either be denied bond or will have their bond set in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Criminal Solicitation of a Minor S.C. Code §16-15-342 Criminal solicitation of a minor is a felony punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions, usually by the South Carolina Attorney General's Office. This offense relates to improper instant messaging, or chatting, with an individual who is, or indicates that they are a minor. Frequently law enforcement sets up Internet stings where they make themselves available for instant messaging in adult-oriented chat rooms, only later indicating that they are minors.

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor S.C. Code §16-15-395 Sexual exploitation of a minor is a felony punishable by 3 to 20 years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense involves the engagement of a minor for either a live sexually oriented performance or for the production of child pornography.

Child Pornography Possession S.C. Code §16-15-410 Child pornography possession is a felony punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense involves the possession or actual, or created representations (such as animations), of a minor engaged in sexual activity.

Distributing Obscene Material to Children S.C. Code §16-15-345 Distributing obscene material to children is a felony punishable by up to 15 years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense involves the distribution of obscene or pornographic materials, whether in a book, magazine, video, DVD, or on a computer, to any minor.

Solicitation for Prostitution S.C. Code §16-15-90 Solicitation for prostitution is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. It is either prosecuted in the magistrate court or the court of general sessions depending on the number of prior convictions a defendant has.

Promoting Prostitution of a Minor S.C. Code §16-15-415 Promoting prostitution of a minor is a felony punishable by 3 to 20 years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense relates to the encouraging, managing, or allowing any minor to prostitute themselves.

Participation in Prostitution of a Minor S.C. Code §16-15-425 Participation in prostitution of a minor is a felony punishable by two to five years' imprisonment. It is prosecuted in the court of general sessions by the solicitor's office. This offense relates to any adult requesting that a minor prostitute themselves, or where an adult attempts to hire a minor prostitute through a third party.
Prostitution S.C. Code §16-15-100 Prostitution is illegal in South Carolina. Both male and female prostitution is unlawful and the law applies to both the prostitute and the customer (also referred to as a "John"). Depending on the defendant's prior record it can either be prosecuted in magistrate / municipal court or in the court of general sessions.

Sex Crimes Investigations in South Carolina

Under investigation for a sex crime in Lexington or Columbia?
The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC provides representation for those who are under investigation for any sexually oriented offense by state or federal authorities anywhere in South Carolina. If you have been accused of child molestation or have been contracted by law enforcement, the single most important piece of advice we can give is not to speak to anyone about your case until you consult with a Lexington criminal defense attorney.

What We Do to Help

If you have been accused of or contracted by law enforcement anywhere in South Carolina in connection with an allegation of child molestation, we want to help you with your case.

We offer a set of services designed to provide the maximum benefit to those accused of a crime, avoiding a future criminal charge later:

  • We interview our clients and others knowledgeable about the allegations
  • Obtain relevant family court and other legal case files
  • As necessary, use consultants in the area of forensic child interview techniques, polygraph testing, psychological evaluations, and private investigation
  • Alert law enforcement that our client asserts all legal rights, and direct all further communications to our attorneys

We understand what a tremendously stressful experience this may be for you, and are prepared to provide you with compassionate support and dedicated representation to help you find your way through this situation.

Sex Crimes are Handled Differently

The way that sex crimes are investigated and prosecuted in South Carolina is different than other serious criminal offenses. These crimes are so hated by the public that the mere allegation turns the stomach of many people. In the zeal to apprehend and incarcerate a predator, innocent until proven guilty can often be flipped into guilty until proven innocent.

Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor

The most serious child molestation offense in South Carolina is criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor. There are three degrees of this charge, based on the age of the child. The most serious, first-degree, is for children under the age of 11. For a conviction, the law requires that there be a sexual battery (defined as non-medical touching) of the child's vaginal, anal or other bodily cavity. CSC carries a penalty of 25 years to life, second-degree carries a penalty of up to 20 years and third-degree carries up to 20 years.

CSC with a minor 3rd

One of the most common child molestation offenses is CSC with a minor 3rd. This offense is a felony and carries up to 15 years' imprisonment in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. To be arrested and convicted, all that is required is that there was evidence that someone under the age of 16 was touched in a sexual manner anywhere on their body. The touching does not have to be a private area and can be either on top of or underneath clothing.

False allegations come from multiple sources:

  • Children may be coached into making false statements to gain an advantage by one side in a divorce or custody case
  • After exposure to adult movies or Internet sites when children act out sexual themes or play
  • When children have been abused, falsely accusing someone else can be used to protect the guilty party
  • Older children may lie to retaliate for being punished to gain power over a parent or step-parent due to drug use or mental illness

South Carolina Sex Offender Registry

All convictions for a child molestation charge will result in placement in the sex offender registry. Further, the defendant will be screened for commitment proceedings as a sexually violent predator, which can result in confinement in excess of the prison sentence originally imposed by the court. The registry is publicly available and will follow someone from state to state.

Don’t Misinterpret the Law

Many people under investigation for child molestation in South Carolina mistakenly believe that the law requires that there be some proof before they can be arrested or sent to prison. Although some evidence is required, it is not as much as you might think. In fact, S.C. Code S.C. §16-3-657 specifically states that "testimony of the victim need not be corroborated in prosecutions" for criminal sexual conduct with a minor. No other witnesses, DNA, physical evidence, or confession is required.

Defense Use of Polygraph Screenings

One of the most powerful, but frequently misunderstood tools in child molestation cases is the polygraph. Many times the police request that someone take a polygraph in order to "clear their name." Unfortunately due to a variety of reasons not everyone is an ideal candidate for a polygraph. Making the wrong choice when it comes to the polygraph can be the deciding factor in bringing formal charges against a suspect.

When you take a police polygraph, the investigators immediately know your results. Further, anything you say during the test, or even your body language, can be used against you later in deciding whether or not to arrest or you in court. If you actually pass, the test results could still be officially classified as "inconclusive," allowing an investigation to continue. If you fail, this could immediately result in your arrest and criminal prosecution. At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we make use of the latest in polygraph technology for our client's best interests, not as a shortcut for law enforcement.

Defense polygraph screenings are employed by our office when:

  • There has been a request by law enforcement to submit to a police polygraph. Whether or not our client is innocent, we want to know if anything in our client's past, any hidden medical condition or medication would make the polygraph unreliable or faulty. Our clients must pass a defense test before we ever consider submitting to a police examination.
  • When after consultation with our client we believe that a report from a licensed South Carolina polygraph examiner will show that the allegations are false or untrue, and taking a polygraph would be a way to head off criminal prosecution or have existing charges dismissed.

When a defense polygraph screening is used by our office the entire procedure is strictly confidential unless, and until our client decides to share the results. Results are not automatically shared with the police, the prosecutor, or the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a registrable offense?

Essentially, every sex offense that you could be charged with will require you to register as a sex offender. If you are charged with the crime of rape, the crime of statutory rape, or even indecent exposure or public indecency, you could be convicted and face serious penalties including sex offender registration.

What is sex offender registration?

Sex offender registration is a program that is designed to warn the general public of dangerous persons in an area. This record will provide your information publicly. While there are laws against harassment and mistreatment of sex offenders, there is still a significant social stigma that comes with this registration, and you could be denied various benefits such as employment that require a background check.

What if my alleged rape or statutory rape was consensual?

Sadly, there are many cases where an angry ex-boyfriend or girlfriend will claim that you raped them out of an act of retaliation. Whether you are innocent or guilty of the charges against you, you have the right to a fair trial, and you have the right to an attorney who can investigate the witnesses and evidence to help defend your rights in court.

What kind of penalties will I face for a conviction?

As there are many different offenses that you could be charged with, there are also many different penalties that you could face depending on a number of factors in your charges. Some factors which are considered include the age of the alleged victim, your age, any past convictions, your criminal history, specific circumstances in your case, and other elements. You could face years in prison, hefty fines, sex offender registration, and other penalties depending on the crime you are convicted of.

Free Consultations & Case Evaluations

Our firm understands the many various hardships that come with sex crime charges. In addition to the severe penalties that you could face for a conviction, there is often a social stigma that comes with sex crime charges. Your reputation is on the line, and your future could be on the line. You need an attorney who has handled these cases in the past, and knows how to build the defense that you need for the charges that you face.
Getting our office’s help in your case is easy. Call us 24 hours a day, even on weekends, or contact us online. The first step will be to schedule an initial consultation with our Lexington sex crime attorney. At the consultation you will have a chance to ask any questions that you may have, along with developing an initial defense strategy to respond to the allegations against you.

Former Client Experiences

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  • “Thank you for being so kind and understanding and getting me out of the mess I got myself into…”

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