Offenses Requiring Sex Offender Registration

Florida took the first step in 1997 to make a list of sex offenders available on the internet as well as making that information also available by telephone hotline for people who do not have the internet. It is a requirement in Florida for those convicted of a sex crime to register and report between two and four times per year, to the Sheriff’s Office. Florida’s requirements include more than just an address to register as sex offenders are required to also report any instant message names and numbers, and email addresses to the Sheriff’s Office. A sex offender’s birth month is what is used to determine which months he/she will be required to report in. If they fail to report, submit to all restrictions or provide all information requested will have penalties that classify as felonies. Sex based crimes in Florida are divided into two categories, Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator.

Sexual Predators

Florida law states that all sex offenders are not always considered to be sexual predators, and that for this to happen, the offender must appear in court before a judge who considers the evidence and makes the designation. Even someone who was convicted of sex based crimes, this does not automatically mean they are a sexual predator. There are five different ways in Florida for someone to be classified a sexual predator. These include first time convictions of: lewd and lascivious behavior in front of someone under the age of 16, kidnapping, buying or selling child pornography, false imprisonment, or sexual battery. You should be aware that this applies even if the conviction occurred in another jurisdiction or state besides Florida.

Another way you can be designated a sexual predator is if you commit one of the above mentioned offenses and especially if you were found guilty of having committed other sexual offenses in the past. Past sexual offenses that can get you a designation of sexual predator include: sexual battery, kidnapping, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, false imprisonment, having a child perform sexually, luring or enticing a child or getting someone under 18 for prostitution. Lastly, anyone can be designated a sexual predator if they are determined to be a sexually violent predator at a civil commitment hearing.

Sexual Offenders

he courts in Florida provide three ways to designate someone a sexual offender. The first way includes if you attempt to commit or commit: luring or enticing a child, kidnapping a minor, sexual battery, false imprisonment of a minor, getting someone under 18 for prostitution unlawful sexual acts with a minor, sexual misconduct, selling or buying minors for sex trafficking, or computer pornography. The second way says if you have a conviction that occurred in another state or jurisdiction, you can be considered a sex offender in Florida. If a person has been designated a sexual offender in a different jurisdiction or state, Florida laws will also designate that person as such and they will be required to register their status. The third way says that under Florida laws, if someone attempts to commit or commits lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery or lewd or lascivious battery on someone 14 or older, they can be designated a sexual offender in Florida.

Understanding Nevada’s Domestic Violence Statutes

Domestic violence is a serious offense in Nevada and carries stiff penalties. The state code of Nevada, known as the Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”), defines domestic violence and provides the penalties associated with convictions for domestic violence.

Most people, when they think of domestic violence, think only of a battery committed by one spouse or partner against another. However, in Nevada it is defined much more broadly. NRS 33.018 explains that the crime occurs when one of a specific group of acts is committed by one person against another and the two parties have a certain relationship listed in the statute.

Domestic violence can be charged when the prohibited act is committed by the alleged offender against any of the following persons:
o A spouse
o A former spouse
o Any other person to whom the suspected offender is related by blood or marriage
o A person with whom the alleged offender is or was actually residing
o A person with whom the alleged offender has had a dating relationship
o A person with whom the suspected offender is having a dating relationship
o A person with whom the alleged offender has a child in common
o The minor child of any of the above persons
o The alleged offender’s minor child
o Any person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the alleged offender’s minor child

According to the NRS, a “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement. The term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary association between persons in a business or social context.

As can be observed by reviewing the statutory language, domestic violence is a much broader offense than most people understand. It is not simply an act of violence against one’s spouse or dating partner. Domestic violence can exist between a former spouse or dating partner, or even a person who simply lives in the same residence as the potential offender.

Understanding the law is the first step in knowing how to protect your rights. It is important to stay composed if you find yourself in a situation that may be perceived as crime by an outside viewer. The actions you take may be misinterpreted by an observer or describe incorrectly by a participant in the argument. Try to avoid these situations all together if you can. However, if you find yourself in the midst of an argument, be respectful and never threaten or take any action against the other person.

Washington Domestic Violence Law

Domestic Violence Charges in Washington

A charge of domestic violence can initiate not one, but a series of criminal prosecutions, setting actions in motion that can have very serious, long-term consequences. Washington state law provides for vigorous prosecution of anyone charged with the crime of domestic violence (DV). It is, in fact, one of the most zealously prosecuted crimes in the state. As in many criminal prosecutions, competent legal counsel is critical to assure that the person charged is provided an effective and timely defense that will generate the most successful resolution possible.

Washington state law defines DV as any crime committed against a family member, someone living in the same household, or against someone with whom you have or have had a dating relationship. While the majority of domestic violence cases involve couples who are in or have been in an intimate relationship, the scope of the law is not limited to that scenario. It can also apply to parent-child relationships, sibling relationships and various other established associations or domestic affiliations as defined in RCW 26.50.010 and RCW 10.99.020.

Washington state law, specifically RCW 26.50 and RCW 10.99, deals with domestic relations and defines the applicable relationships as well as the behavior considered to be in violation under the law. Harassment, intimidation, threatening, bodily injury or harm, physical or sexual assault, and stalking are just a few of the listed violations. Misdemeanor or felony charges can be filed as a result of any of these actions based on the circumstances and severity of the crime.

Once an arrest for DV has been made, the court will schedule an arraignment proceeding where formal charges will be filed by the prosecution and the defendant will be required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Upon accepting the plea and assuming a not-guilty plea was entered, the judge will determine the conditions of release. Conditions could include participation in a treatment program, electronic home monitoring, or adherence to a no-contact order. The judge may issue a no-contact order at this time if there is not one already in place. A date is set for the pretrial hearing and the defendant may be released based on the judge’s conditions. If, on the other hand, a guilty plea is entered, the defendant may be remanded into custody until sentencing.

No-contact orders are issued by the court for the protection of the victim in a DV case. Adherence to the court order is absolutely essential, whether the victim deems it warranted or not. For example, when law enforcement responds to a DV incident and an arrest is made for criminal conduct, the court will determine whether a protection order is warranted. That order must be honored by both parties or a subsequent arrest and prosecution will be initiated for violation. The victim does not have the authority to reverse a no-contact order and must abide by the judge’s order or incur additional criminal prosecution.

At the pretrial hearing, the parties will review the charges and any progress in the case to determine its readiness for trial. At this point, the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to amend the charges or the plea, and the case will either be resolved or will proceed to trial. Motion hearings may be set before trial to hear various issues and then, barring settlement or pleading out to a lesser charge, the case will proceed to trial. At trial evidence will be submitted by both parties, and the judge or a jury will enter its judgment accordingly, either for conviction or acquittal.

The laws of the State of Washington are enacted to protect the victims of domestic violence. The court system works in concert with the district attorney to prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law and protect the victim. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, your first response must be to seek qualified legal counsel who can prepare an appropriate response to the charges filed against you. Procedural and legal responses will need to be presented to support your case and these require the experience and expertise of a professional with years of familiarity with the law. A criminal conviction is a lifelong issue and affect everything from your right to vote and be in possession of a firearm to your future freedom and the ability to work at the job of your choice. It is critical to consult an experienced Washington attorney if you face domestic violence charges. For more information about the legal implications of domestic violence charges, visit http://www.vancouverlaw.net

Divorce and Domestic Violence: Is Domestic Violence Considered a Crime?

Many divorce attorneys and divorce lawyers are often confronted with this question because of the difficulties associated with domestic violence cases. Indeed domestic violence can take numerous shapes including actual physical abuse or threats of physical abuse, emotional abuse, threatening telephone calls, disturbances at person’s workplace and stalking. Domestic violence covers many forms of abuse such as physical or emotional dominance and control over a close related person, whether spouse/husband or any other relative.

Therefore, the question to of whether or not domestic violence is punishable under criminal law will often depend on the type of domestic violence and the specific circumstances in which the act or acts of domestic violence took place. However, repeated actual physical abuse is generally not punished the same way as disturbances.

Further, there are no common national laws regarding domestic violence matters in the United States. Each State has its own laws to handle domestic violence cases. Therefore the same domestic violence case may be judged differently from one state to another. However, most States tend to consider domestic violence both as a crime and a civil offense. Therefore, the domestic violence offender may be subject to both a criminal punishment such as a jail sentence and to a civil punishment such as money damages.

Many States also tend to consider domestic violence a crime against the community. As a consequence, a domestic violence case may be subject to prosecution by the city or district attorney even if charges have not been brought by the abused person and even without his/her assistance. Too often, and in most famous domestic violence cases, the abused person ran away from the family residence, contacted the police, pressed charges, and then tried to have the charges dropped because he/she managed to reconcile with the abuser. In order to prevent such patterns from being repeated, many local communities and states enforced a more severe legal system regarding domestic violence matters.

Whether it is the first complaint or not or charges were pressed or not, domestic violence cases can be brought to justice. Many local communities or states try to inform and warn that domestic violence will not be tolerated by local authorities. If you want to know more about your local legal system and what acts of domestic violence is considered a crime, you can get some useful information with your local bar association or by consulting an attorney in your jurisdiction.

© 2006 Child Custody Coach

Domestic Violence: Police Investigation and Gender Bias

Criminal charges as a result of domestic violence are an ever increasing phenomenon in courtrooms across the United States. In North Carolina, these charges are defined as any assault, violation of a restraining order, trespass on property, damage to property, or unwanted communication occurring between two people who have at some time been in a romantic relationship. This can include acts between current spouses, domestic partners, current and former love interests and divorced parties. In North Carolina, prosecutors across the State have focused on these crimes by creating special courtrooms with specially trained assistant district attorneys, victim witness advocates, and judges who focus solely on these crimes. Police departments have also developed specially trained officers to deal with domestic disputes arising in this area.

In order to better understand this area of criminal law and utilizing my experience as a Raleigh Domestic Violence Attorney, I want to focus on three key stages of the criminal process: Part One will cover the police investigation of domestic violence; Part Two the prosecution of these cases once they reach the courtroom; and Part Three, options if you are a criminal defendant facing a domestic violence charge.

PART ONE

Initial Investigation and the Police “Mindset”

When police are called to a residence as a result of an assault or restraining order violation, they are trained to be cautious of the dangers that potentially await them. Fights and disagreements between individuals who are romantically involved can quickly escalate into volatile situations, especially when one are both parties are under the influence of an impairing substance. Depending on the call received, the police can and will enter a residence under their powers of exigent circumstance to secure any weapons on the scene and immediately separate the parties involved if both are still in the residence. Typically one officer will interview the alleged victim while another officer interviews the alleged perpetrator. The decision to determine who has been the aggressor, or the party more at fault, will depend on visible injuries, the statements of the parties, who made the 911 call, whether one of the individuals is impaired by alcohol or drugs, and whether a party to the assault has already left the scene. The police will take statements, photograph injuries, and make an assessment of what charges should be filed.

Once one or both parties to the assault are arrested, typically they are transported to the jail where a magistrate will place a monetary bond on their release and set a condition that the defendant has no contact with the alleged victim in the case. Under North Carolina law, these release conditions must be reviewed by a District Court judge within 48 hours of the arrest. If both parties to the assault live under the same roof, the no contact order means that the defendant in the case cannot return home, or have any contact with the alleged victim, until the case is resolved.

The Violent Assault Versus the Bedroom Pillow Fight: What happened to police exercising discretion before deciding to arrest?

As a former assistant district attorney and a practicing Raleigh Domestic Violence Attorney, I can attest to the fact that there are a number of repeat domestic violence offenders who are in and out of our jails and courtrooms. There will always be a certain element of society, either by the nature of their upbringing, mental health problems, or continuing substance abuse, who use physical and verbal violence towards loved ones as a form of power. The laws are designed to protect against, and hopefully rehabilitate, these defendants.

Unfortunately, our police departments, far too often, use the power to arrest as a way of diffusing the most minor of disagreements. An arrest is often the easy way out for an officer faced with a he said, she said situation. I have seen charges, and sometimes arrests, result from all of the following fact patterns: the bedroom pillow fight between spouses married over ten years because of financial difficulties; a slap to the face between high school sweethearts over possible infidelity learned about on Facebook; and a small bruise on the arm of a woman who was attempting to restrain her husband from going on a morning jog because they hadn’t finished arguing about who would pick up their child from daycare. Somewhere along the way the exercise of discretion on the part of police has been lost, and handcuffs have become the answer. If you are involved in a dispute with a present or former romantic partner, you need to be aware of this troubling phenomenon.

Gender Bias, Cultural Conditioning and the Police

It is a proven fact that men account for a high majority of all domestic violence related crimes. It is unfortunate, however, that men who are the victims of abusive female partners or who are placed in situations where self-defense has to be used, often do not get a fair shake in a Domestic Violence courtroom.

Under the laws of North Carolina, an assault of a female by a man over 18 years old carries more jail time and is a higher class misdemeanor than a woman who assaults a man under similar situations. Whether this is a remnant of the days of chivalry, or simply our legislature’s belief that men are generally bigger, stronger, and more able to inflict greater injury on a woman than vice-versa, it is the law in our state.

If you are man in a domestic violence situation with a female partner, it probably does not come as news to you that many police officers are going to assume that you are the at-fault party. You may well face an uphill battle in court trying to prove your innocence, or that you acted in self-defense. I have had male clients who called 911 about an assault at the hands of their wife or girlfriend and who suffered serious injuries that required hospitalization. These same men, who attempted to prevent injuries in self-defense, ended up in jail with more serious charges than their female instigators. The moral of this story is that a man in North Carolina, no matter how much he is provoked or attempting to prevent further injury, should never come into offensive physical contact with a woman under any circumstances. It is much better to leave the house than to try and bear hug, restrain, or pin the arms of a woman who is trying to hurt you.

In Part Two, we will discuss what to expect from Prosecutors in the Domestic Violence Courtroom.