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Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Sex crimes are some of the more serious crimes in the criminal justice system, both in terms of harm to victims and in terms of penalties for offenders. Considering the seriousness of sex crimes, it's no surprise that a conviction can impact one's life long after they complete their sentence. In fact, many sex offenses require convicts to register as a sex offender, usually for their entire life.

Read on to learn more about sex offenders and sex offenses, including the different restrictions that may be imposed on those convicted of sex crimes.

Examples of Sex Offenses

The specific name for different sex offenses depend on state and federal laws. For example, certain states may have separate call certain acts "rape" and other acts "sexual assault." Other states will call a variety of acts "sexual assault" but separate the crime into different degrees or add adjectives such as "aggravated" depending on the actual acts involved in the crime. With that being said, common examples of sex offenses include:

The specific definitions of these crimes and their elements may vary by state, but there are usually common elements for each. Each will also have its own sentencing requirements; so in cases involving multiple sex offenses, a defendant may face multiple sentences. In addition, offenders will also face significant restrictions once they are released from prison.

Restrictions on Sex Offenders

Defendants who are convicted of a sex crime often face lifelong restrictions, either in the form of registration requirements or preventive measures taken by the state to stop them from committing future crimes. These restrictions may apply even if an offense may appear less serious than others, such as statutory rape between an adult and a consenting minor who are close in age or minors texting nude pictures of themselves.

When it comes to preventive measures taken by the state to prevent future crimes, some can be quite invasive while others serve more as alerts to the community. Under current laws, states are required to provide information about where convicted sex offenders live. While this simply serves as an alert to the community, other states have imposed additional restrictions on sex offenders. For example, some states allow the imposition of drug treatments to lower the sex drive of convicted sex offenders. Some states order the civil commitment of habitual sex offenders in order to reduce the risk of future crimes.

Some of these restrictions, including laws requiring registered sex offenders to live a specified distance from schools, have become controversial because they effectively render people homeless in many jurisdictions.

Have Specific Questions About Sex Offenses and Sex Offenders? Ask an Attorney

As you can see, sex offense laws can be very broad in scope and have important repercussions for offenders. If you have a criminal record, or are considering a plea bargain related to alleged sex offenses, you need to know what types of restrictions you'll face after you serve your sentence. It's in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable sex crime attorney in your area who can explain the laws that apply to you and help craft the best defense.

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