Our team has taken 1,000+ cases to trial, including 400+ jury trials. We’re not afraid to mount an aggressive defense, and prosecutors know it
More innocent people, in our opinion, are falsely accused of a sex crime than probably just about any other crime, other than domestic battery. However, it is perhaps the hardest allegation to defend. Even those who have made a mistake deserve a great defense and someone fighting for the best outcome. If your attorney has little or no experience in defending those accused of a sex crime, then you will face an uphill battle – and your freedom and reputation will be in dire jeopardy. When defending someone accused of a sex offense, even the best criminal defense attorneys may falter if they don’t have enough experience in the sex crime arena.
Our lawyers have successfully defended clients who have been accused of a wide range of sex crimes, including winning jury trials for clients accused of rape, child molestation, sexual battery and sexual misconduct with a minor. We have also convinced prosecutors not to file charges or had charges dismissed before trial for clients accused of molestation, rape and a wide range of other sex offense charges as well.
What is the secret to our firm’s success? Experience. It simply can’t be replaced. Understanding the mentality and motivation of someone making a false allegation is vital. Picking apart a forensic interview and recognizing the role of family dynamics can win these cases. Knowing how to deal with the prosecutor and the “victim’s advocate” usually assigned to assist the accuser is also a detail that gets overlooked as the case unfolds.
Suffice it to say, over the years, our experience has saved accused clients from being imprisoned and helped restore their reputations. No matter how bad the case looks on paper, we will use our legal expertise to come up with a defense and trial strategy for your case with the goal of obtaining the best practical outcome.
Awards & Affiliations
RAPE – LEVEL 3 FELONY
Rape is legally defined by the state as knowingly or intentionally having sexual intercourse with another person through force or threat of imminent force. It also covers sexual intercourse with an individual who is unaware or unable to consent to act and sexual conduct with a person who is mentally disabled or deficient to consent to sex. A rape charge may be escalated to a Level 1 felony offense if it is committed by using or threatening deadly force or if committed while armed with a deadly weapon. Rape may also be a Level 1 felony if it results in serious bodily injury to a victim or if during the commission of the rape, the victim was given drugs or a controlled substance without their knowledge.
SEXUAL BATTERY – LEVEL 6 FELONY
Sexual battery is conduct that includes touching a person in order to arouse the alleged offenders’ sexual desires. This can happen either through force or threats or when a victim is unable to give consent due to a mental disability. The charge can rise to a Level 4 felony if deadly force or deadly threats are implemented, the individual is armed with a deadly weapon, or if the victim was given drugs without their knowledge or consent.
PROSTITUTION – CLASS A MISDEMEANOR
Anyone at least 18 years of age who knowingly performs or agrees to perform sexual acts for money or property may be charged with the crime of prostitution. Anyone who has two prior convictions for prostitution who engages in prostitution may be charged with a Level 6 felony.
CHILD MOLESTING – LEVEL 3 FELONY
Child molestation is considered any intentional act of performing or submitting to sexual contact with a minor under the age of 14 years old. If there are aggravating circumstances such as the use of a deadly weapon, serious bodily injury to the victim, providing drugs to the victim without their knowledge, or the act is committed by someone over the age of 21, the charge may be increased to a Level 1 felony. If the sexual act only includes fondling for sexual arousal, the charge may be considered a Level 4 felony but raised to a Level 2 if there are similar aggravating circumstances.
VICARIOUS SEXUAL GRATIFICATION – LEVEL 5 FELONY
If someone over the age of 18 intentionally directs or helps a minor under the age of 16 to touch or fondle themselves with the intent to satisfy their own or the child’s sexual desires, that may be charged with vicarious sexual gratification. Some factors may turn this charge into a Level 2, 3, or 4 felony, depending on the circumstances or age of the victim.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – LEVEL 5 FELONY
Knowingly or intentionally producing, creating, sharing, sending, sponsoring, or bringing sexually explicit material of a minor under the age of 18 into the state of Indiana can result in a child pornography charge. The material can be in the form of pictures, films, videotapes, and digitized images. There are numerous circumstances that can result in the charge becoming a Level 4 felony depending on the sexual acts depicted and other aggravating circumstances.
CHILD SOLICITATION – LEVEL 5 FELONY
Child solicitation involves an adult over 18 knowingly or intentionally trying to coerce, urge, or request that a minor under the age of 14 engage or participate in a sexual act. Solicitation can take place in person, online, by telephone, or in writing, and can become a Level 4 felony under certain circumstances.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR – LEVEL 5 FELONY
The age of consent in Indiana is 16. Sexual misconduct with a minor occurs when an individual over the age of 18 years knowingly performs or submits to sexual contact with a minor under the age of 16. It can be a Level 4 felony if the individual is over the age of 21, and a Level 1 felony if there are aggravating factors such as being armed with a deadly weapon or furnishing the victim with drugs without their knowledge.
The type of penalty that an individual can receive for a sex crime conviction depends on the crime itself and whether there are aggravating circumstances connected with the crime. Many penalties can include a combination of prison time, fines, probation, and placement on the state’s sex offender registry. Indiana assigns a range of possible punishments depending on the level of the offense. Many sex crimes are felony-level offenses.
These are the corresponding penalties:
LEVEL 1 FELONY
- 20 to 40 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
LEVEL 2 FELONY
- 10 to 30 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
LEVEL 3 FELONY
- 3 to 16 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
LEVEL 4 FELONY
- 2 to 12 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
LEVEL 5 FELONY
- 1 to 6 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
LEVEL 6 FELONY
- 6 months to 2 ½ years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
While these are the legal penalties for many sex crimes, these types of offenses carry more than just legal consequences. Sex crimes carry with them a stigma that can impact everything from an individual’s family life and other personal relationships to job prospects and advancement opportunities. A sex crime conviction may also impact where you live and your ability to go certain places. Sex crime convictions are serious and have the potential to significantly alter the course of your life for years to come.
Being convicted of a sex crime in Indiana may result in the individual being placed on the state’s sex offender registry. In 1994, the state passed Zachary’s Law. The law was named in honor of 10-year-old Zachary Snider, an Indiana boy who was sexually molested and murdered by a neighbor who had been previously convicted of child molestation. Under Zachary’s Law, all convicted sex offenders are required by law to register with local law enforcement in their county of residence.
Registering as a sex offender is an invasive and lengthy process. It requires an individual to provide accurate and detailed information about almost every aspect of their lives. It also requires offenders to frequently check in with local authorities.
A convicted sex offender will be legally obligated to abide by the following Indiana state requirements:
- Provide detailed information including name, race, height, weight, hair color, eye color, identifying marks or tattoos, social security number, driver’s license number, vehicle description, plate number, current address, school enrollment, email address, social media platforms, usernames, and employer.
- Register your main address as well as other addresses where you spend more than seven nights in a 14-day period with local law enforcement.
- If you work, go to school, or volunteer in a county other than the one where you live, you must also register in person in each county where you conduct your business.
- Changes to your address, employment, school enrollment, or other identifying information must be reported to local law enforcement within 72 hours.
- Sex offenders must register in person with local law enforcement at least once every year. Some offenders may be required to register in person every 90 days.
- Offenders planning on taking a vacation for more than seven days must inform local law enforcement. You may also be required to report in person to law enforcement in the county that you are visiting.
- Some convicted offenders can be barred from going near or living by school property, youth centers, and public parks.
Sex Crime Defenses
A legal defense is a strategy used by a defendant in a criminal case to challenge or justify their actions, casting doubt on their guilt or lessening their culpability. In cases involving sex crimes, several common legal defenses may be employed, although the viability of these defenses depends on the specific circumstances of each case.
Some common defenses against sex crimes include:
- Consent: Arguing that the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity. This defense is often used in cases where the issue of consent is not clear or where there may have been misinterpretation or misunderstanding.
- False Accusation: Claiming that the accusations are false or fabricated by the alleged victim, perhaps for personal reasons such as revenge, jealousy, or a desire for financial gain.
- Mistaken Identity: Asserting that the defendant was misidentified as the perpetrator, especially in cases where the alleged crime occurred in a crowded or dimly lit area, making identification difficult.
- Lack of Evidence: Challenging the prosecution's evidence by pointing out inconsistencies or insufficient proof of the alleged crime.
- Alibi: Providing evidence or witnesses to prove that the defendant was in a different location at the time the alleged crime took place, establishing that they couldn't have committed the offense.
- Statute of Limitations: Asserting that the alleged crime occurred outside the timeframe allowed by the statute of limitations.
- Mental Incapacity or Insanity: Arguing that the defendant was mentally incapacitated or insane at the time of the alleged crime, and therefore not legally responsible for their actions.
Prosecutors in Indiana take sex crimes very seriously, but there are effective defense tactics that can counter these aggressive prosecutors. To build a strategic defense, you need an equally aggressive team committed to protecting your rights. There are a variety of avenues that The Criminal Defense Team may explore when it comes to defending an individual accused of sex crimes.
What to Do If You Have Been Accused of a Sex Crime
If you're accused of a sex crime in Indiana, it's crucial to navigate the situation carefully to protect your rights and mount a strong defense. Here are steps to consider:
- Stay Calm and Seek Legal Representation: Upon being accused, remain composed and avoid discussing the case with anyone except your attorney. Immediately seek legal representation from a qualified criminal defense attorney experienced in handling sex crime cases in Indiana.
- Understand the Allegations: Gain a clear understanding of the accusations against you. Understand the specific details of the alleged incident, including the time, place, and circumstances described by the accuser.
- Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. Refrain from discussing the case with law enforcement or others without your attorney present. Anything you say can be used against you in court.
- Gather Evidence and Documentation: If possible, gather any evidence that supports your innocence. This might include text messages, emails, witness statements, or other documentation that can corroborate your version of events or establish an alibi.
- Cooperate Within Legal Limits: Follow your attorney's advice on how to proceed. Cooperate with law enforcement within legal boundaries but avoid making statements or providing information without your lawyer present.
- Attend Court Appearances: If you're formally charged, attend all court appearances as required. Failure to appear can lead to further legal consequences.
- Avoid Contact with the Accuser: Adhere strictly to any restraining orders or legal instructions that prohibit contact with the accuser. Even unintended contact can complicate the legal situation.
- Be Prepared for Legal Proceedings: Understand that legal proceedings can be lengthy and complex. Your attorney will guide you through the process, including pre-trial motions, negotiations, and possibly a trial.
- Consider Bail and Pretrial Release Options: If arrested, your attorney can help seek bail or pretrial release options to avoid prolonged detention before trial.
- Stay Updated and Communicate with Your Attorney: Stay informed about developments in your case and maintain regular communication with your attorney. Be honest and provide them with all relevant information to ensure the best possible defense.
At The Criminal Defense Team, we firmly believe that each case and every case is unique. We never apply a blanket strategy to our cases, we carefully and thoroughly review the circumstances of each case, get to know our client, and then craft a thoughtful and well-designed strategy that aims to obtain the best possible outcome for the situation.
Our team of lawyers is uniquely qualified to protect your freedom and interests. We believe in taking swift, aggressive action to out-maneuver the prosecution and build a strong defense. We’ve done it for thousands of clients and we can do it for you.
We defend clients in Hamilton County, Marion County, Johnson County, Hancock County, Shelby County, Boone County, Hendricks County and counties throughout Indiana. We can help you as well.