If you’re charged and convicted of a sex crime or lewd conduct in Los Angeles, not only can you face jail time and penalties, but you can also be forever “tarred and feathered” with the sex offender label.
That said, not all lewd conduct charges are equal – not by a long shot. Some cases — like the case of the recently widely publicized case of the Southland teacher who abused a whole classroom of elementary school children for months — are horrendous in their implications. But other lewd conduct cases — like those of the 19 men busted in a sting at a Manhattan Beach restroom users (which we blogged about a few months ago) — are not in the same league, much less the same ballpark.
And still other cases are just really sad and disappointing.
Consider the allegations against 46-year-old Miramar Police captain Juan De Los Rios, who got booked into a Broward County Florida jail a few weeks ago and held on $30,000 bail in connection with charges that he ordered a 15-year-old girl to strip naked in a car for a “sex check” to prove that she had not been dallying with her male friend.
According to reports, the 15-year-old and her 19-year-old male friend were hanging out in the back seat of a car on January 18, when De Los Rios approached the car and demanded that they roll down the window. The officer began questioning the teens: “Well, were you having sex? What are you doing here”? When the teens denied that they were having sex – they were just talking – the officer insisted that he “needed to check… to see inside.”
What he meant by that, disturbingly, was that he wanted the 15-year-old girl to take off her pants and underwear so that he could check for evidence of sexual activity, such as bruising. Frightened and intimidated because of the officer’s badge, the girl allowed this illicit inspection. The officer used a flashlight to look at her private area and even told the 15-year-old “I need you to spread your legs wider so I can see.” He then told the two teens to go home.
Only after the fact did the teenagers really understand the violation that had taken place. Eventually, the 15-year-old picked De Los Rios out of a line-up, and the 18-year-old law enforcement veteran was booked and suspended without pay from his job. If he is convicted, De Los Rios could face not only $10,000 in fines, but also up to 15 years behind bars.
What’s the takeaway, if you or someone you care about faces a Southern California lewd conduct charge?
Understand that sex crimes and lewd conduct charges are incredibly diverse. Depending on the evidence, the allegations, and your actions, your Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney might be able to get the charges dismissed entirely — or minimize your punishments and optimize your chances for a successful rehabilitation.
The details do matter in cases like yours.
One of the most crucial details is who you retain to represent you in the court system. Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers in LA has burnished a reputation as a compassionate, aggressive and experienced attorney. He spent nearly 15 years on the prosecutorial side before becoming a defense attorney, so he has a “360 degree” perspective on criminal defense trials.