Being charged with rape, sexual assault, or any other sex crime is humiliating and life altering regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. Simply being charged with a sex crime will likely result in loss of employment, loss of friends, and probably the end of your marriage or relationship with your significant other. In addition to the collateral consequences just from being charged, being convicted of most sex crimes will result in harsh penalties, including prison or jail, probation, and registration with the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board.
The process of defending an individual charged with a sex crime in Massachusetts can be exhausting and requires the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. There are a number of motions that should be filed at different stages of the case, including before, during, and even after trial. While being charged with a sex crime will likely cause damage to your reputation, a conviction for sexual assault or other sex crime can ruin your life.
If you live, work, or are charged with sexual assault or other sex crime in Quincy, MA, Attorney Anthony R. Riccio, Founder of Riccio Law, has extensive experience handling sexual assault cases in Massachusetts. As a former assistant district attorney who prosecuted sex crimes, at Riccio Law we understand the seriousness of being charged with a sex crime and aggressively fight to clear your name and restore your reputation. We engage the services of private investigators and expert witnesses to assist with reviewing the evidence and formulating an effective defense to the charges.
In Massachusetts, so-called ‘sex crimes’ covers a wide range of criminal charges, including rape and statutory rape, indecent assault and battery, possession and/or dissmeination of child pornography, and indecent exposure. In Massachusetts, sexual assault effectively falls within two categories: rape or indecent assault and battery. There are different criminal charges available with respect to rape and indecent assault & battery depending on the nature and circumstances of the allegations.
In Massachusetts, rape is covered by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 22 and prosecuted in superior court. If convicted of rape, you may be punished for up to life in state prison. While a life sentence in prison is available, some combination of a state prison sentence and probation is more likely. Additionally, you will be required to register with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board and face a number of other restrictions and limitations on your livelihood.
Indecent Assault and Battery is outlined in M.G.L. Ch. 265 §13H and can be prosecuted in district or superior court. Depending on the nature and severity of the allegations, the case could be indicted to superior court where the penalties are more severe and a state prison sentence more likely. If prosecuted in district court, any jail sentence would be to the house of correction or county jail, not state prison. While registration is not mandatory, you may be required to register as a sex offender is convicted of indecent assault & battery.
While sex crimes are treated seriously by prosecutors in Massachusetts, not every sex crime is a felony. Consequently, penalties for sex crimes vary based on the specific charges, the allegations, and classification of the criminal offense. Below are some of the potential penalties for various sex crimes in Massachusetts:
Additionally, there are a number of aggravating factors that increase the likelihood of a defendant receiving a harsher sentence. Some aggravating factors include committing a sexual assault during a robbery or kidnapping, whether the victim is a minor, elderly, or disabled, and if the defendant has prior charges and/or convictions for similar crimes.
To get a conviction, a prosecutor must prove each and every element of the crime(s) charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the particular crimes charged and evidence, there are a few common legal defenses to allegations of sexual assault:
i) No sexual acts ever occurred between you and the alleged victim. In this case, your defense is that the accusations are false and the victim is lying. With this defense, the victim’s credibility can be challenged in a number of ways and the use of a private investigator is essential in these types of cases.
ii) Misidentification.In this case, the defense is that the victim misidentified the defendant as the perpetrator. This defense may occur where there is evidence a sexual assault occurred, but the suspect is a stranger and there is no physical evidence linking defendant to the crime. If you have an alibi in your case, this defense could be available.
iii) Consent. In this case, you are acknowledging the sex act occurred but that it was consensual. Arguing consent can be a strong defense if there are text message or email communications between the victim and the defendant after the sex act that suggest consent or continuing sexual relations.
Generally, if convicted of sex crime, in addition to the possibility of spending years in prison, the law requires you to register as a sex offender upon your release. In addition to the restrictions imposed by being a registered sex offender, your relationships, career, and reputation could be destroyed. While accusations of sexual assault and other sex crimes are among the most despised by society, everyone deserves a fair and effective defense. If you are in Quincy, MA, and have been charged with a sex crime, you should not and do not need to fight the charges on your own. Founder Anthony R. Riccio is an experienced and well qualified Boston criminal defense attorney who is committed to helping you navigate the criminal process while fighting to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about Riccio Law’s services.