Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Hawaii

The prospect of being charged with a sex crime in Hawaii is frightening enough--your reputation, if nothing else, is at stake. What's more, however, is that a conviction will impact your life for the rest of your life. A conviction likely means you have to register as a sex offender. As such, it will affect your employment opportunities, housing or living arrangements, and personal relationships.

You need a sex crimes defense lawyer who knows how to address and defend criminal sex charges in Hawaii. At Segal Law, our criminal defense attorney will review your case and lay out all your legal options. Contact us today by filling out an online form or calling us directly at 808-865-2100 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

What Constitutes a "Sex Crime" in Hawaii?

Sex crimes are illegal acts of sexual nature. Depending on the allegations, sex crimes are prosecuted at both a state and federal level.

Sex crimes can be either consensual or non-consensual. In the case of a consensual sex crime, the circumstances make it illegal, even if the parties consent to the conduct. Prostitution, incest, and sex with a minor (statutory rape) are examples of sex crimes that may be consensual. 

Non-consensual sex crimes occur when the victim does not consent to the act. Rape and sexual assault are examples. A victim may not be able to provide consent because of their characteristics. If the victim is a minor or mentally ill, the law says they lack the capacity to consent to sexual acts. In cases of minors and capacity, each state sets the age of minority -- in Hawaii the age of consent is typically sixteen years old. 

Types of Sex Crimes in Hawaii

Sex crimes make up a broad range of offenses. Hawaii, like most jurisdictions, has specific definition for its specific criminal sex acts.

Types of Sex Crimes

  • Sexual Assault - a non-consensual sexual act without consent
  • Statutory rape - sex involving an underage victim
  • Child molestation - a sexual act with a minor 
  • Possession or distribution of illicit sexual material, such as child pornography
  • Electronic enticement of a minor - including offering to have sex with an underage minor, or a police officer posing as an underage person.
  • Commercial exploitation of a minor - offering to pay money in exchange for sex with a person under the age of eighteen.
  • Indecent exposure - exposure of the genitals in public
  • Prostitution - engaging in sexual acts in exchange for money or other compensation 

Hawaii, like most jurisdictions, recognizes certain circumstances that can aggravate the offense and make the allegations more serious.

Potential Aggravating Circumstances

  • the involvement of a child victim
  • the use of force
  • the use of a weapon
  • the use of drugs to render a victim unconscious during the act. 
  • the alleged offender's employment, such as a teacher or corrections officer

What Are the Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction in Hawaii?

The penalties for sex crimes range from fines to lengthy periods of incarceration. A conviction of a sex crime can lead to any of the below penalties.

  • Fines or fees
  • Probation
  • Community supervision
  • Restitution
  • Classes or treatment
  • Incarceration, including potentially mandatory jail and prison time.

When sentencing someone for a sex crime, the court takes into account the circumstances of the offense, the characteristics of the victim, and the offender's personal situation. These circumstances may enhance or mitigate the sentence imposed by the judge.

Sentence Enhancement

A prior conviction for a similar offense or the presence of an aggravating circumstance usually results in a harsher sentence. Sex crimes involving children elicit the harshest penalties. Some sex crimes require the court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence. 

In addition to any penalty they receive, a convicted sex offender in Hawaii must register with the relevant state or national sex offender registry. This requires the person to provide their personal information, like their residential address and employment status, to local law enforcement. Their information is then released or publicized to local organizations and/or the public through what has become known as Megan's Law. Failure to register as a sex offender carries additional consequences and possible criminal charges.

Sex Offender Registration

If convicted of a sex crime, you might also have to register as a sex offender. This can be a lifelong consequence and involves following certain rules. For example, failure to timely update the police on your whereabouts and current address could result in criminal action against you.

Possible Defenses to Charges of Sex Crimes in Hawaii

The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the sex crime, and failure to do so is part of your defense. A good lawyer will point out the gaps and errors to raise doubt.

That said, when defending against any allegations of a sex crime, it is important to take a holistic approach regardless of the prosecutor's performance. Part of the strategy can involve any of the following:

  • Technical issues, like filing after the statute of limitations
  • Constitutional violations, where your rights have been violated
  • Defenses, like mistaken identity or consent
  • Alibi, meaning you were somewhere else or with someone else at the time of the incident

Your defense strategy will depend is very case-specific, so retaining an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer in Hawaii is your first step to clearing your name or getting the best possible outcome in your unique situation.

How can a sex crimes attorney in Hawaii help?

If you've been charged with a sex crime, you should immediately seek professional advice from a criminal defense attorney with experience dealing with sexual offenses. Accusations of this nature are serious, with potentially severe penalties and long-lasting consequences. 

It is possible to defend against a sex crime. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard of proof, and there are many avenues to explore when contesting allegations of this nature. A sex crimes defense lawyer will force the state to prove its case against you, while also using the facts to build your defense. In cases where it's relevant and in your best interests, a defense lawyer will ensure you get the best plea deal.

Contact a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney in Hawaii Today

An experienced attorney can explain your rights to you, as well as any potential defenses available to you. They can also ensure you receive a fair trial and prepare an effective defense to the charges on your behalf. To discuss your case, call Segal Law at 808-865-2100 or fill out an online form to schedule a Complimentary 15-minute consultation.