Sex crimes can never be taken lightly in Huntsville. Huntsville is home to the nationally recognized Children's Advocacy Center and Family Violence Unit. The prosecution is well-funded and well prepared to prosecute sexual offenses in Madison County. All sex crimes involve serious consequences, whether it's jail time and fines, the humiliation of registering with the Sex Offender Database, difficulty finding a job after your legal punishment is done or the pain and embarrassment you face when your friends and relatives see you differently because of a conviction on your record.
Sexual abuse is such a charge. It may seem like a less severe version of rape. The potential punishments under law are less severe, but that doesn't mean a conviction won't lead to a lifetime of suffering and humiliation. Alabama state law makes sure of that. If you've been accused of sex abuse in Huntsville, your best bet is to have the strongest defense possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build that defense.
Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama
Law Offices Of Segal & Segal can help you fight your charges of sex abuse. Being convicted of sex abuse means you may lose your liberty and your privacy. We believe in the principles behind “innocent until proven guilty,” and will fight for justice for you. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message for a free consultation where we can discuss your charges.
Andrew Segal and Sandra Segal know Alabama's criminal courtrooms. Sandra Segal has served as a prosecutor for the Huntsville City Attorney's Office, and Andrew Segal has served as a prosecutor for the Alabama Attorney General and Madison County District Attorney. Our attorneys practice with honor and integrity, so judges, jurors and prosecutors respect us. That's especially important if you've been charged with something with such a strong stigma attached, like sex abuse.
If you face charges of sex abuse anywhere in the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison County, Morgan County, Marshall County, Limestone County or Jackson County, call us today to represent you.
Overview on Sexual Abuse in Alabama
- Defining Sexual Abuse Under Alabama Law
- Madison County Penalties for Sexual Abuse
- Potential Defenses to Sexual Abuse Charges
- Working With Madison County Lawyers Experienced in Sex Abuse Cases
Defining Sexual Abuse Under Alabama Law
To understand the charge of sex abuse, you have to understand how Alabama law defines “sexual contact.” Sexual contact means one person touching another's sexual parts or other intimate areas, like the breasts or buttocks, in a way meant to gratify the sexual desires of one of the two people. The two people cannot be married for the purposes of this law.
Sexual abuse in the first degree means that the accused allegedly subjected the victim to sexual contact by physical compulsion, meaning either by actual physical force or by threat of immediate death or serious injury to either the victim or some other person. This could include accusations that a person forcibly grabbed another person's genitals or rubbed his or her genitals against another person. It generally would not include forced vaginal, anal or oral sex, as those are covered under the rape and sodomy statutes.
First sexual degree sex abuse also includes when a person allegedly subjects another to sexual contact if the other person is not capable of consenting due to physical helplessness or mental incapacity. Physical helplessness means the person is physically not able to give consent. Mental incapacity includes if a person has been given drugs or alcohol without his or her consent.
Sexual abuse in the second degree can be charged if the accused allegedly subjects the victim to sexual contact and the person is not capable of consent by “some factor other than being less than 16 years old.” This could mean the person was not able to give consent because of a mental disability, mental illness or some other reason. It also includes any alleged instances when the accused if older than 19 and has sexual contact with a person between the ages of 12 and 16.
Madison County Penalties for Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse of a child under 12 is a class B felony sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. Second degree sex abuse is Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine.
Prison and jail time are only the beginning, however. Any charge of sex abuse is a sex crime, meaning anyone convicted must register as a sex offender. The Sex Offender Database is available to the public and will include your name, age, address, a recent picture, the address of where you work, the charge you were convicted of and the age and gender of the victim. It's available to potential employers, friends, family, potential relationship partners, neighbors and anyone else. Even your drivers license (or non-drivers identification card) will be required to state in bold letters that you are a convicted sex offender.
The police will also notify your neighbors. You will no longer be allowed to live within 2,000 feet of schools or child care centers, and you cannot live with a minor unless under legally recognized exceptions.
Potential Defenses to Sexual Abuse Charges
These consequences are too harsh to not be prepared with a solid defense. An experienced Huntsville sex abuse defense attorney can help you build that defense and argue your case in court. Sexual abuse charges are often the result of false claims and exaggerated accusations. Your attorney should look for the holes in these claims and expose them. Your attorney can exploit the weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
The district attorney must prove his or her case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” No other scenario other than the one he or she describes could have happened. It's a tough standard, but it's one Huntsville district attorneys meet every day. A defense attorney can find the weaknesses in their case.
Working With Madison County Lawyers Experienced in Sex Abuse Cases
These charges can cause significant difficulty and humiliation, possibly for the rest of your life. A criminal lawyer can make the difference to help you avoid that. Our attorneys will fight for your rights, your liberty and your dignity. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message to schedule a free consultation.