Federal Sex Crimes Law

Below is a complete list of all sex crimes that a person can be charged with in the federal courts. It includes what the prosecution must prove (the elements of the crimes) to obtain a conviction for each charge. These are found in the U.S. Penal Code.

Federal Sex Crimes

Title 18, United States Code
Chapter 71 – Obscenity

§1460 – Possession of Obscene Matter on Federal Property with Intent to Sell)
§1461 – Mailing Obscene or Crime-Inciting Matter
§1462 – Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters
§1463 – Mailing Indecent Matter on Wrappers or Envelopes
§1465 – Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution
§1466 – Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter
§1466A – Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children
§1468 – Distributing Obscene Material by Cable or Subscription Television
§1470 – Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors (Under 16)

Chapter 109 – Sexual Abuse

§2241 – Aggravated Sexual Abuse
§2242 – Sexual Abuse
§2243 – Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward
§2244 – Abusive Sexual Contact
§2245 – Sexual Abuse Resulting in Death
§2246 – Definitions
§2247 – Repeat Offenders

Chapter 110 – Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children

§2251 – Sexual Exploitation of Children
§2251A – Selling or Buying of Children
§2252 – Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors
§2252A – Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography
§2252B – Misleading Domain Names on the Internet
§2256 – Definitions in Chapter
§2260 – Production of Sexually Explicit Depiction of a Minor for Importation into the United States

Chapter 117 – Transportation for Illegal Sexual Activity and Related Crimes

§2421 – Transportation Generally
§2422 – Coercion and Enticement
§2423 – Transportation of Minors
§2425 – Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information about a Minor
§2426 – Repeat Offenders
§2427 – Definitions

§1460 – Possession of Obscene Matter on Federal Property with Intent to Sell
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A person commits an offense when, on land under the control of the government or in Indian country, he knowingly:
1. Sells an obscene visual depiction, OR
2. Possesses an obscene visual depiction with intent to sell.

This offense shall be punished by a fine or up to 2 years imprisonment or both.

§1461 – Mailing Obscene or Crime-Inciting Matter
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Obscene material (article, matter, thing, device, or substance) or is deemed to be non-mailable, in addition with materials used to promote abortion or to incite the public to commit crimes.

A person commits an offense when he knowingly:
1. Uses the mails for the mailing or delivery of anything declared to be non-mailable, OR
2. Causes non-mailable material to be delivered by mail, OR
3. Takes non-mailable material from the mail for the purpose of distribution or circulation.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisoned up to 5 years or both for the first offense. For every subsequent offense under this title, the person may be imprisoned up to 10 years.

§1462 – Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters
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A person commits an offense when he:
1. Brings obscene material (writings or recordings capable of producing sound) into the United States or anywhere in its jurisdiction,
2. Knowingly uses any common carrier to put obscene material in interstate or foreign commerce, OR
3. Knowingly takes obscene material from any common carrier.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisoned up to 5 years or both for the first offense. For every subsequent offense under this title, the person may be imprisoned up to 10 years.

§1463 – Mailing Indecent Matter on Wrappers or Envelopes
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Otherwise mailable material becomes non-mailable if the wrapper or envelope contains obscene material. In addition, postcards containing such material are also non-mailable.

A person commits an offense when he:
1. Knowingly mails anything deemed non-mailable by this section, OR
2. Knowingly takes anything deemed non-mailable from the mail for the purpose of circulation or disposition.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.

§1465 – Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly:
1. Transports or travels in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of sale or distribution of obscene material (writing, film, or recording), OR
2. Uses a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of sale or distribution of obscene material.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.

Transportation of any of the following will create a rebuttable presumption that the material is intended for sale or distribution:
1. Two or more copies of any publication
2. Two or more of any article of obscene character
3. A combined total of five or more such publications and articles

§1466 – Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter
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A person commits an offense if he:
1. Knowingly receives or possesses with intent to any obscene writing, film, or recording that has been shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, AND
2. He is engaged in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter.

“Engaged in the business” means that the person devotes time, attention, or labor to such activities, as a regular course of trade or business, with an objective of making a profit.

Offering any of the following will create a rebuttable presumption that the person is engaged in the business of selling obscene material:
1. Two or more copies of any obscene publication
2. Two or more of any obscene article
3. A combined total of five or more such publications or articles

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.

§1466A – Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children
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a. A person commits an offense when he, in a circumstance described in Subsection (d), knowingly produces, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute visual depiction of any kind that:
1. Depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, OR
2. Depicts an image that appears to be a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

This offense shall be punished by fine AND imprisonment not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years. If the person has a previous conviction for anything relating to sexual abuse or child pornography, the imprisonment shall range from 15 years to 40 years.

b. A person knowingly commits an offense when he, in a circumstance described in Subsection (d), knowingly possesses a visual depiction of any kind that:
1. Depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, OR
2. Depicts an image that appears to be a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 10 years or both. If the person has a previous conviction for anything relating to sexual abuse or child pornography, the offense shall be punished by fine AND imprisonment for not less than 10 years nor more than 20 years.

Subsection (d) covers the circumstances that place the offense under Federal jurisdiction:
1. A communication made in furtherance of the offense is transported by mail, or in interstate or foreign commerce by any means (including computer).
2. A communication made in furtherance of the offense contemplates the transmission of the visual depiction by mail or any means of interstate or foreign commerce.
3. A person travels in interstate commerce in furtherance of the commission of the offense.
4. A visual depiction has been mailed or shipped in interstate commerce or was produced using materials shipped in interstate commerce.
5. The offense is committed in the special territorial jurisdiction of the US.

It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating Subsection (b) that:
1. Defendant possessed less than three such depictions, AND
2. Promptly, in good faith, and without allowing any other person, other than law enforcement, to access the material:
a. Took reasonable steps to destroy the material, OR
b. Reported the matter to law enforcement.

§1468 – Distributing Obscene Material by Cable or Subscription Television
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly utters any obscene language or distributes obscene matter by means of television.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 2 years or both.

§1470 – Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors (Under 16)
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly transfers obscene material through the mail or means of interstate commerce to an individual he knows to be under 16 years old.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 10 years or both.

§2241 – Aggravated Sexual Abuse
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A person commits an offense if, in the territorial jurisdiction of the US or in Federal prison, he knowingly causes another to engage in a sexual act by:
1. Using force against that person,
2. Placing that person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping,
3. Rendering that person unconscious, OR
4. Administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance thereby substantially impairing the ability of the other person to appraise or control conduct.

This offense shall be punished by fine, imprisonment for any term of years or life, or both.

c. A person commits an offense if he:
1. Crosses a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person under 12 years old,
2. Knowingly engages in a sexual act with a person under 12 in territorial jurisdiction of US or in Federal prison, OR
3. Knowingly engages in sexual act with a person between 12 and 16 years of age, at least 4 years younger than the offender, under any of the circumstances listed in the first subsection.

This offense shall be punished by fine, imprisonment for any term of years or life, or both. If the defendant has previously been convicted under this subsection, or of a State offense that would be under this subsection if in Federal jurisdiction, the punishment shall be life imprisonment unless the death penalty is imposed.

The government need not prove that the defendant knew the other person engaging in the act was under 12 years old.

§2242 – Sexual Abuse
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A person commits an offense when, in the territorial jurisdiction of the US or in a Federal prison, he knowingly:
1. Causes another person to engage in sexual act by placing the other person in fear (other than fear of death, bodily injury, or kidnapping),
2. Engages in a sexual act with a person incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct, OR
3. Engages in a sexual act with a person physically incapable of declining participation or of communicating unwillingness to participate.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 20 years or both.

§2243 – Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward
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a. A person commits an offense when, in the territorial jurisdiction of the US or in a Federal prison, he knowingly:
1. Engages in a sexual act with a person between 12 and 16 years of age, AND
2. The other person is at least 4 years younger than the offender.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 15 years or both.

b. A person commits an offense when, in the territorial jurisdiction of the US or in a Federal prison, he knowingly in a sexual act with another person who is in official detention under the disciplinary or supervisory authority of the offender.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 1 year or both.

It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that the defendant reasonably believed that the other person was at least 16 years old. The defendant must establish this by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is a defense to prosecution under this Section that the two persons engaging in the sexual act were married at the time of the offense. The defendant must establish this by a preponderance of the evidence.

The government need not prove that the defendant knew either the age of the other person or that the requisite age difference existed.

§2244 – Abusive Sexual Contact
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A person commits an offense if, in the territorial jurisdiction of the US or in a Federal prison, he knowingly engages in sexual contact with another person without that other person’s permission.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 6 months or both.

If the contact would violate §2241 (Aggravated Sexual Abuse) had the sexual contact been a sexual act, the imprisonment shall be up to 10 years.

If the contact would violate §2242 (Sexual Abuse) had the sexual contact been a sexual act, the imprisonment shall be up to 3 years.

If the contact would violate §2243(a) (Sexual Abuse with Minor) had the sexual contact been a sexual act, the imprisonment shall be up to 2 years.

If the contact would violate §2243(b) (Sexual Abuse with Ward) had the sexual contact been a sexual act, the imprisonment shall be up to 6 months.

If the sexual contact constituting an offense of this section is with a child under 12 years old, the maximum term of imprisonment shall be twice that otherwise provided.

§2245 – Sexual Abuse Resulting in Death
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A person, who, in the course of an offense under this Chapter, engages in conduct that results in the death of a person, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or life.

§2246 – Definitions
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“Sexual act” includes both sexual intercourse and deviate sexual intercourse as defined by Texas Penal Code. “Sexual contact” is touching with intent to harass, abuse, humiliate, arouse or gratify the desire of any person.

§2247 – Repeat Offenders
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The maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of this Chapter after a prior sex offense conviction shall be twice the term otherwise provided.

§2251 – Sexual Exploitation of Children
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A person commits an offense if, in either interstate commerce or in any US territory, he:
1. Employs, persuades, coerces, or transports a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating any visual depiction of such conduct, AND
2. Knows or has reason to know that either:
a. The depiction will be shipped in interstate commerce,
b. Has been shipped in interstate commerce, or
c. Was made using materials that have been shipped in interstate commerce.

A parent or legal guardian of a minor commits an offense if he:
1. Knowingly permits the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating any visual depiction of such conduct, and
2. Knows or has reason to know that either:
a. The depiction will be shipped in interstate commerce,
b. Has been shipped in interstate commerce, or
c. Was made using materials that have been shipped in interstate commerce.

A person commits an offense if, outside of US territory, he, persuades, or coerces a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating any visual depiction of such conduct, and either:
1. Intends for the depiction to be transported to US territory by any means (including computer or mail), OR
2. Transports the depiction to US territory by any means.

A person commits an offense if he knowingly publishes an advertisement:
1. Seeking to buy, produce, or distribute any depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
2. Seeking to participate in a sexually explicit act with a minor for the purpose of creating a visual depiction, IF either:
a. The person knows or has reason to know that the advertisement will be transported in interstate commerce by any means, OR
b. The advertisement has been transported in interstate commerce.

Each offense under this section shall be punished by fine AND imprisonment for not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years.

If the defendant has one prior conviction under either this Chapter, Chapter 71 (Obscenity) or Chapter 109A (Sexual Abuse), or under any State law concerning sexual exploitation of children, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 25 years and not more than 50 years. If the defendant has two prior convictions under any of these Chapters, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 35 years.

If an offense under this section results in the death of any person, the punishment shall be death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

§2251A – Selling or Buying of Children
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A parent or legal guardian of a minor commits an offense if, providing the circumstances in Subsection (c) exist, sells custody of such minor either:
1. Knowing that as a consequence of sale, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
2. Intending to promote the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 30 years.

A person commits an offense if, providing the circumstances in Subsection (c) exist, purchases custody of such minor either:
1. Knowing that as a consequence of purchase, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
2. Intending to promote the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 30 years.

Subsection (c) – Scenario described above involved:
1. The minor traveling in interstate commerce,
2. The offer to buy or sell the minor being communicated through interstate commerce by any means, OR
3. The conduct described taking place in territory of the United States.

§2252 – Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors
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A person commits an offense if he either:
1. Knowingly transports in interstate commerce a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
2. Knowingly receives from interstate commerce a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
3. Knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct if either:
a. The person sells or possesses with intent to sell in special territorial jurisdiction of US, OR
b. The depictions were shipped in interstate commerce.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years. If the person has a prior conviction under any State or Federal law relating to Sexual Abuse or Child Pornography, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years.

A person commits an offense if he knowingly possesses one or more visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct if either:
1. The person possesses the depiction in special territorial jurisdiction of US, or
2. The depiction was shipped in interstate commerce.

It shall be an affirmative defense to this subsection that the defendant:
1. Possessed less than three proscribed matters containing such a visual depiction, AND
2. Promptly and in good faith either took steps to destroy each depiction or reported the matter to law enforcement.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 10 years or both. If the person has a prior conviction under any State or Federal law relating to Sexual Abuse or Child Pornography, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 10 years and not more than 20 years.

§2252A – Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography
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A person commits an offense if he knowingly:
1. Ships child pornography in interstate commerce, OR
2. Receives child pornography that has been shipped in interstate commerce, OR
3. Reproduces child pornography for distribution in interstate commerce, OR
4. Promotes in interstate commerce any material in a manner reflecting the belief that the material contains child pornography, OR
5. Sells or possesses with intent to sell in special territorial jurisdiction of the United States, OR
6. Sells or possesses with intent to sell child pornography that has been shipped in interstate commerce, OR
7. Distributes child pornography that has been shipped in interstate commerce to a minor for the purpose of inducing the minor to participate in illegal activity.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years. If the defendant has a prior conviction under any State or Federal law relating to Sexual Abuse or Child Pornography, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years.

It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution that the alleged child pornography was not produced using any actual minors. The defendant may not assert this affirmative defense without providing, no later than 10 days before trial, notice of the intent to assert such a defense and the substance of any expert upon which the defendant intends to rely.

A person commits an offense if he knowingly possesses one or more article of child pornography if either:
1. The person possesses child pornography in special territorial jurisdiction of US, or
2. The child pornography was shipped in interstate commerce.

It shall be an affirmative defense to this subsection that the defendant:
1. Possessed less than three proscribed matters containing child pornography, AND
2. Promptly and in good faith either took steps to destroy the child pornography or reported the matter to law enforcement.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years. If the defendant has a prior conviction under any State or Federal law relating to Sexual Abuse or Child Pornography, the term of imprisonment shall be not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years.

§2252B – Misleading Domain Names on the Internet
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A person commits an offense if he knowingly uses a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a person into viewing obscene material.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 2 years, or both.

A person commits an offense if he knowingly uses a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material harmful to minors.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 4 years, or both.

A domain name that includes a word or words to indicate the sexual content of the site is not misleading.

For the purposes of this section, “material harmful to minors” means any communication consisting of nudity or sex, that taken as a whole:
1. Predominantly appeals to a prurient interest of minors,
2. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors, AND
3. Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

§2256 – Definitions in Chapter
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“Child pornography” means any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct where:
1. The production of such depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct,
2. Such depiction is an image or indistinguishable from that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, OR
3. Such depiction has been created to appear that an identifiable minor* is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

*A person who was a minor at the time the depiction was created and is recognizable as an actual person by the person’s face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristics.

§2260 – Production of Sexually Explicit Depiction of a Minor for Importation into the United States
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A person commits an offense when, outside of the United States, he:
1. Employs, persuades, or induces a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating a visual depiction with the intent to import the depiction to the US or into waters within 12 miles, OR
2. Knowingly distributes, sells, or possesses with intent to sell any visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the intent that the depiction be imported to the US or into waters within 12 miles.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 10 years or both. If the defendant has a prior conviction under this Chapter or Chapter 109 (Sexual Abuse), the term of imprisonment shall not exceed 20 years.

§2421 – Transportation Generally
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly transports an individual in interstate commerce with the intent that such individual engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 10 years or both.

§2422 – Coercion and Enticement
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly persuades, induces, or coerces an individual to travel in interstate commerce to engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 20 years or both.

A person commits an offense when he knowingly persuades, induces, or coerces an individual less than 18 years old to engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged for a criminal offense either:
1. Using the mail or other means of interstate commerce, OR
2. Within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years.

§2423 – Transportation of Minors
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A person commits an offense when he knowingly transports an individual under 18 in interstate commerce with the intent that the individual engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

This offense shall be punished by fine and imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years.

A person commits an offense when he travels in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct.

“Illicit sexual conduct” means either:
1. A sexual act with a person under 18 years old that would violate Chapter 109 if in Federal jurisdiction, OR
2. A commercial sex act with a person under 18 years old.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 30 years or both.

A person commits an offense when, for the purpose of financial gain, he:
1. Facilitates the travel of a person,
2. Knowing that the other person is traveling in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 30 years or both.

It is a defense to any prosecution involving a commercial sex act with a person under 18 years old that the defendant reasonably believed the person was at least 18 years old. The defendant must establish this belief by a preponderance of the evidence.

§2425 – Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information about a Minor
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A person commits an offense when, either using interstate commerce or from the territorial jurisdiction of the US, he:
1. Initiates transmission of the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or electronic mail address of an individual,
2. Knows that the individual is less than 16 years old, AND
3. Intends to solicit any person to engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

This offense shall be punished by fine or imprisonment up to 5 years or both.

§2426 – Repeat Offenders
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The maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of this Chapter after a prior sex offense conviction shall be twice the term otherwise provided.

§2427 – Definitions
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“Sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense” includes prostitution and production of child pornography.

For a free initial consultation with a sexual misconduct defense lawyer, call the Law Office of David A. Breston at 888-220-4040 or contact us online.

What To Do If You Have Been Accused

As previously mentioned, your very first step before even talking to anyone else or giving any sort of official statement is to hire an attorney. False accusations most commonly occur in bitter divorce cases, against teachers or coaches, and other family members. If this happens to you, gather any evidence you may have which could help prove your innocence. This could include anything, such as letters, emails, phone and GPS records, which may show that you were not with the child at the alleged time of the incident, plus any witnesses that may have been present. You and your lawyer can piece together a solid defense which shows that you were not the person who did this, or that the child was not molested at all.

If you have been falsely accused of sexually abusing or assaulting a child, you do not have to fight it alone. The Law Office of David A. Breston has a lot of experience handling these types of cases, and will come to your defense to ensure that you receive a fair trial. Call (713)224-4040 today for your free consultation.

 

 

 

I hired David to represent me in a aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case and to make a long story short he and his staff assisted in getting everything dismissed. I am thankful I made the right choice by choosing him.
-Past Client