Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
April 27. 2022.
What Should You Do if You Are Accused of a Sexual Offense?
A person who has been convicted of any sex offense is considered a sexual offender. In Missouri, sexual offenses and crimes are strictly prosecuted.
However, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center could help you protect your reputation and rights in court.
What Is a Sexual Offender?
A sexual offender is a person who has been convicted and pleaded guilty or found guilty for a qualifying sexual offense in Missouri or any other jurisdiction. The offender could be released or currently serving parole or probation on or after October 1, 1997.
Sexual offenders, including female and male sex offenders, who are permanent, temporary, or transient residents of Missouri, have to register themselves as a sexual offender.
The qualifying offenses that could get you charged for a sexual offense in Missouri or any other jurisdiction of the United States are:
Unlawful Sexual Activity
Underage Prostitution Procuring
Conviction Of Lewd/Lascivious Offense
Child Pornography Transmission
Transmission Of Materials Considered As Harmful For Minors
Or any other crime or offense that lies under these types of crimes in any jurisdiction
Sex offenses and crimes leave an unforgettable impact and consequences on the victim and society. Moreover, the public puts a lot of pressure on sex offense and thus submit petitions for severe penalties for the offender. Working with trusted lawyers in Kansas City, MO can help you protect your reputation and rights.
What Are the Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Laws?
In Missouri, as in most other states, minors under the age of 18 are not legally considered able to consent to sexual activity. Thus, touching a minor inappropriately or without their consent is considered sexual assault and sexual abuse. Taking nude pictures of a minor or showing this material to others can also be considered sexual assault and abuse.
The penalties for child sexual abuse and sexual assault in Missouri are stiff and depend on the severity of the crime. Additionally, the convicted person might be required to undergo a series of sex offender treatment programs.
What Are the Missouri Prostitution Laws?
In Missouri, it is prohibited to seek sex for money or sell sex for compensation. Local law enforcement officers may arrest both people involved.
What Are the Missouri Sexting Laws?
Forwarding and sharing erotic messages, whether text, images, or videos, to a minor living in Missouri could put subject you to sexting charges. The convicted person could be of any age, including a minor or an adult.
What Is a Registered Sex Offender?
Missouri requires sex offenders to be registered on the Missouri Sex Offender Registry, where their names would be visible to the people living in the jurisdiction. This limits the opportunities and freedom a person could have, plus you won’t be able to get a job in any reputable firm because your employer can find you in the directory.
Moreover, the sex offender won’t be allowed to work around or among children or any institution where children learn or play.
Getting your name removed from the registry is difficult and depends on the crime you are being charged with. If the offender meets all state court requirements, they can file a petition to remove their name.
What Are the Penalties for Sexual Offenders?
Penalties and charges for sex crimes in Missouri are stiff and harsh. From massive fines to several years in prison, the penalties could be as harsh as possible depending on the involved child’s age, frequency of crime, the severity of the situation, and the damage caused to the society.
The penalties for a few sex crimes are as follows.
Rape in the First and Second Degree
The penalty for first-degree rape or an attempt to commit rape in the first degree as per Missouri revised Statute § 566.030 is life imprisonment or a minimum of 5 years in prison, unless:
- The offender commits an aggravated sexual offense, which results in a minimum of 15 years in jail.
- The victim is a child of age under 12 years, which results in life imprisonment without being eligible for parole or probation until the defendant (the offender) has served 30 years in prison or reached 75 years of age with 15 years of service.
- The victim is a child under 12 years of age and is being raped inhumanly and inflicts serious physical injury. The offender will be punished with life imprisonment without being eligible for parole, probation, or conditional release.
However, if a person commits the offense of rape in the second degree if they have sexual intercourse with another person knowing that they do so without that person’s consent, it will be considered second-degree rape or Class D felony with a penalty of a minimum of 7 years of imprisonment and maximum fines of $10,000.
According to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.032, if a person commits sexual intercourse with another person less than 14 years of age, the actor will be regarded as a sexual offender of statutory rape in the first degree. Committing or attempting to commit statutory rape in the first degree is a serious felony and could result in life imprisonment or jail for five years.
The penalties could be severe if the victim is less than 12 years of age and the actor is a persistent or predatory sexual offender.
However, if the actor is of 21 years of age or older and commits statutory rape with a victim of 17 years of age, it will be regarded as statutory rape in the second degree, which is a Class-D felony under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.034. The penalties for statutory rape in the second degree include maximum imprisonment of 7 years and a minimum fine of $10,000.
As per § 566.067 & § 566.068, if a person commits an aggravated sexual offense with a child under 14 years, they will be charged with first-degree child molestation. First-degree child molestation is a Class A felony offense. The penalties are imprisonment of a minimum of 10 years or a maximum of 30 years which could also lead to life imprisonment.
However, if the victim is less than 12 years of age, the penalties would be severe, leading to life imprisonment without being eligible for parole, probation, or conditional releases.
Second-degree child molestation is a Class B felony, for which the penalties are imprisonment of not less than five years or not more than 15 years.
If a person commits a crime of sexual misconduct involving a child under 15 years, they would be charged with a Class E felony. The punishments for a Class E felony in Missouri law would be imprisonment of a minimum of 4 years with a fine of a maximum of $10,000.
However, if the offender has prior history records of sex offenses in Missouri or any other jurisdiction, the crime will be regarded as a Class D felony with penalties of 7 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Sexual abuse will be first-degree if the victim is an incapacitated person incapable of consent or cannot consent. This will be regarded as a Class C felony for which a sentence of a minimum of 3 years or a maximum of 10 years with a maximum fine of $10,000.
But if the victim sustains any serious physical injury or if the actor was found using a deadly weapon to threaten the victim of age less than 14 years, the case will be regarded as a Class B felony with a punishment of a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 15 years in imprisonment.
Secon-degree sexual abuse is regarded as a Class A misdemeanor for which the court may impose a sentence of a maximum of one-year imprisonment and a fine of $2,000. But if an aggravated sexual offense is involved, it is a Class E felony for which a sentence of a maximum of four years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 may be imposed.
Please note that, for each crime, the penalties depend on several factors. If a person repeatedly commits sex crimes, the charges and penalties would be much more severe than those mentioned above.
What Is the Difference Between a Sexual Predator and a Sexual Offender?
If a person is found guilty or pleads guilty to a sexual offense, they will be considered a sexual offender. However, if a person has a history of prior sex offenses and convictions, they will be considered a potential threat to society and regarded as a sexual predator.
Conviction of one or more second-degree felony offenses or first-degree sex crimes within ten years in Missouri would mark you as a sexual predator.
Sex crimes have harsh penalties and could hurt your reputation and life. If you have been accused of sex crimes in Missouri, consult with Kansas City sex crimes attorneys at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center.