Any criminal accusation involving sex is a very serious one. Prison time and heavy fines are enough to worry about for any criminal charge. For sex offenses, however, the punishments seek to shame you and hinder you long after you complete your sentence — sometimes for the rest of your life. You are required to register in a public database, where anyone with internet access can see the details of your crime.
Sex crimes also carry a very negative stigma, and jurors may walk in with certain prejudices. However, sex offenses can often be based on false or exaggerated claims. A skilled attorney can overcome the prejudices of the jury and point out the weaknesses in the case.
Des Moines Sex Crime Lawyer
At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have nearly a half century's worth of combined experience taking on some of the toughest cases. A capable Des Moines sex crime lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can fight for your rights. We will seek to expose every weakness, every false accusation and every exaggerated claim in the case against you. We will challenge evidence and seek to have your charges reduced of dismissed. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation.
We represent those accused of sex crimes across Polk and Dallas Counties, including in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston and Ankeny, and throughout the state of Iowa.
Iowa Sexual Offense Information Center
- Sexual Abuse Under Iowa Law
- Other Sexual Offenses in Polk County
- Punishment, Including Sex Offender Registry, for Iowa Sex Crimes
- Federal and Iowa Human Sex Trafficking Charges
Iowa Code 709.1 defines sexual abuse. Accusations of rape or sexual assault fall under the Iowa crime of "Sexual Abuse." Generally, sexual abuse refers to when a sexual act, including vaginal, oral or anal sex, is alleged to have been performed by the accused, and the victim either did not consent, did not willingly consent, or lacked to ability to give consent because he or she was a child, drugged, drunk, unconscious, mentally disabled or ill or physically incapable of giving consent.
Sexual abuse has three "degrees," which depend on the circumstances of the alleged assault. First degree sexual abuse involves a serious injury, and is a Class A felony.
Second degree sexual abuse involves a dangerous weapon, threats to use force that would create a substantial risk of death or serious injury, when more than one person is accused of being involved ("gang rape") or if the victim was young than 12. It is a Class B felony.
Third degree sexual abuse covers any other instance of sexual abuse, including many acts of sexual abuse of a minor. If the victim is 12 or 13, or is 14 or 15 and the accused is a member of the same household, related, in any position of authority over the victim or is four or more years older than the victim.
Third degree sexual abuse also covers acts where the accused is alleged to have drugged the victim. It is a Class C felony.
Lascivious Acts With a Child (Iowa Code 709.8): It is illegal for a person older than 16 to engage in certain sexual acts with a child. If the accused is alleged to have fondled or touched a child's genitals or pubic area, or allowed a child to touch his or hers for the purpose of sexual gratification, it is a Class C felony. If the accused is alleged to have solicited a child for a sex act, or inflicted any pain or discomfort on a child or had the child inflict pain or discomfort on him or her for the purpose of sexual gratification, it is a Class D felony.
Touching other areas of the child for sexual gratification may result in charges of Indecent Contact With a Child, an aggravated misdemeanor.
Indecent Exposure (Iowa Code 709.9): It is a crime for a person to expose his or her genitals or pubic area to another person if done for sexual gratification and if the accused knew it would be offensive to the victim. It is a serious misdemeanor.
Child Pornography (Iowa Code 728.12): It is illegal to use minors to depict a sexual act, even a simulation of a sexual act knowing it will be photographed, filmed or otherwise captured. The crime is called Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. It is a Class C felony and carries an additional fine of up to $50,000.
Promoting any such material is a Class D felony with a fine up to $25,000. Knowingly purchasing or possessing it is an aggravated misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for any subsequent offense.
Prostitution (Iowa Code 725.1): It is an aggravated misdemeanor to sell sexual services or to purchase such services. It is a Class D felony to pimp (Iowa Code 725.2) or pander (Iowa Code 725.3), meaning to cause or persuade others to engage in prostitution. It is a Class C felony to cause or persuade a minor to engage in prostitution.
The amount of jail time and fines depends on the classification of the offense:
- Serious Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in prison and a fine from $315 to $1,875
- Aggravated Misdemeanor: Up to 2 years in prison and a fine from $625 to $6,250
- Class D Felony: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine from $750 to $7,500
- Class C Felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine from $1,000 to $10,000
- Class B Felony: Up to 25 years in prison.
- Class A Felony: Life imprisonment.
However, those convicted of many sex crimes, including any crime against a minor, any crime of sexual exploitation or any sexual offense that involves violence, are required to register as sex offenders. Anyone with internet access can log in and search for sex offenders near them, or by name.
The registry will have your photo, a description of you, your address, your birthdate, what you were convicted of and the age of the victim. Your neighbors, potential employers and landlords, and people you hope to be in a relationship with will be able to see this.
People just sex offender very harshly — many consider it the worst type of crime. These draconian punishment make the importance of having a skilled Des Moines criminal defense attorney all the more important, because there is so much at risk.
Sex trafficking, often called human trafficking, accusations involve alleged acts of recruiting and transporting people, often from other countries, to work as sex workers in the United States by force, coercion or when the people are younger than 18. Iowa has laws against human trafficking (Iowa Code 710A). Sex trafficking charges are frequently also prosecuted by the federal government under several statutes.
If facing federal sex trafficking charges, they will be heard in federal court. Your attorney must be licensed for that federal court. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., our lawyers are not only licensed in the federal courts of Iowa, they are experienced in taking on federal sex trafficking charges.
McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Sex Offense Attorney
If you face accusations of any kind of sex crime, an experienced Des Moines sex crime lawyer could make the difference between liberty and lifelong shame. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will take on the toughest sex offense cases, whether they be state or federal in Polk County and Dallas County. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.