Understanding Penalties For Sex Crimes In Illinois

An Overview Of The Possible Consequences In Sex Crimes Cases

Many individuals have encountered stories about a person in their community who was accused of a sex crime. Often, these stories detail some of the alleged activities that occurred that led to the charges, and portray the suspect in a very poor light. The public may even believe that the individual is guilty based upon the miniscule information provided in these reports. Getting their side of the story out in public often only makes matters worse, which they only realize after it is too late.

Those facing sex crime allegations need to be sure that they are informed about the steps that they must take to protect themselves during the entire proceedings. Because of the serious nature of these crimes, there is a lot of pressure on law enforcement and prosecutors to arrest individuals and obtain a conviction. Offering a defense to these accusations takes great skill, and those facing charges need to understand that they are in serious trouble.

This article provides an overview of sex crimes in Illinois. Some people may not realize the methods that law enforcement uses when trying to investigate these crimes or what could happen to them if they are convicted. Those who have loved ones facing these allegations need to take immediate action.

How Police Investigate Sex Crimes

There are several different methods used by police when investigating allegations of sex crimes, depending upon the type of offense being alleged. In some situations, victims may reach out to law enforcement officers to report the incident, which will lead to police gather evidence to determine if a crime has been committed.

This might mean that the law enforcement officers collect DNA samples from victims and alleged offenders, or question others who may have been present at the scene about whether or not a sexual assault has occurred. These cases can sometimes quickly evolve into situations where there are two or more different stories about the incident in question, and this means that the police will need to decide who they want to believe.

In other situations, such as cases involving the solicitation of prostitutes using the internet, law enforcement officers may play a more active role in the matter. Often, there are specially-trained officers devoted to handling these kinds of cases. They may conduct operations where they frequently post messages on websites where prostitution is suspected of happening.

When an individual reaches out in response to these ads, the officers will try to set up future communications. This might lead to a discussion over internet messaging services, or by phone or text, where an individual is asked to pay money for sexual services. The person may agree to a meeting, and when he or she shows up, an arrested is made. The officers will question the person about his or her intent at that meeting, and often, the individual will be very embarrassed and make statements that may hurt the case in the future.

Certain areas in Chicago may have a reputation as being places where prostitution frequently occurs. Vice squads may again conduct a sting operation, where an officer poses as a prostitute, trying to get an unsuspecting individual to agree to exchange money for sex. If the person agrees, it is likely that an arrest will be made.

What Happens When A Person Is Charged With A Sex Crime?

The consequences that may result from a sex crimes conviction will vary, depending upon the circumstances involved in the case, and the individual's prior criminal history. In cases where there are more serious allegations, such as a sexual assault, it is likely that significant jail time will be handed down in the event of a conviction. Other possible penalties include having to register as a sex offender, which has many unique requirements that could severely impact a person's life.

In Illinois, there are many crimes that would require sex offender registration in the event of a conviction. These include:

  • Criminal sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Indecent solicitation of an adult
  • Three or more convictions of public indecency

Once convicted of these crimes, the individual must comply with the state's laws concerning sex offender registration.

Sex offenders must register with police in person, each year, for ten years following their release from prison. This means that the individual must report to law enforcement any time that they wish to change residences within the state, and if he or she fails to do so, additional penalties may be imposed.

Also, these offenders must pay fees associated with the registration. As the number of sex offenders increases, the costs associated with these programs also go up. In an effort to deal with these expenses, the offenders themselves are charged for a portion of the monitoring costs. The offenders must pay $100 at their initial registration and $100 each year thereafter.

If a person has committed a serious sex crime, it is possible that they may be labeled a sexually violent person. This greatly increases the penalties that may be handed down. In addition to much longer prison sentences, these individuals may face additional confinement if the state believes that they are a potential risk to reoffend.

The state will perform an analysis of these offenders, and those it believes will commit additional sex crimes will be civilly committed after the prison sentence has completed. These confinements can last for an indefinite period of time, making it very difficult for these individuals to ever be able to demonstrate that they should be allowed to return to society.

What Does It Mean To Be A Sex Offender?

As the registration requirements demonstrate, Illinois is very serious about the way it treats individuals convicted of sex crimes. Those who finish their prison sentences will encounter serious challenges as they try to adjust to their new lives. There are restrictions concerning where these offenders may live, as they cannot be close to schools or parks. Certain professions may no longer wish to hire those convicted of sex crimes. Many of these individuals struggle with homelessness.

There is no such thing as "back to normal" for a sex offender. Their lives will be forever changed. Friends may have abandoned them, and their families may have been destroyed by the conviction. Offenders may not understand the possible consequences that may result outside of the legal system. If these are not properly educated about the steps they need to take to protect themselves, they could make a decision that they will seriously regret in the future.

How An Attorney Can Help You Defend Yourself Against These Accusations

When police begin their investigations, they may bring you in for questions in order to gather as much information as possible about the alleged offenses. They may appear as though they are really interested in hearing your version of events, and give you an opportunity to talk about "really happened" that night.

You need to be extremely careful about falling into these traps. The more information that you reveal to the investigators, the easier it will be for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction. You need to know that your story is simply not important to police. You should contact an experience criminal defense attorney to protect your rights when you meet with investigators.

Your attorney will be able to help you understand the tactics that police are using, and advise you on the questions that you may be expected to answer. This can help you avoid offering any information that may lead to problems later at trial. You need to be sure that you are working with someone who is familiar with these kinds of cases, because you have a lot to lose if you are eventually convicted of the offense.

In some situations, law enforcement may make an arrest without you knowing that you may be a suspect in a particular case. The evidence that they have gathered may lead the officers to believe that an investigation is not necessary.

If you are arrested, it is even more crucial that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Being arrested for these offenses means that you may have to spend time in jail, and your attorneys can begin working on your release while you await your trial.

Additionally, your lawyers can immediately begin reviewing the evidence that has been compiled in your case, and help determine the defenses that may be available to you. This includes not only examining the actions of law enforcement to ensure that all proper procedures have been filed, but also the testimony of victims and witnesses, to learn if there are any possible issues in the version of events being told to police.

While this may be a very confusing and unsettling time for you, it is essential that you realize how serious these accusations are, as the impact of a conviction of a sex crime means that your life will change forever. You should not try to handle this case on your own, as it will only make matters worse for you. Do not make any statements or enter a plea without having first discussed your concerns with your attorney.

Contact Sheppard Law Firm, P.C.

To speak with an experienced Chicago sex crimes attorney regarding the charges you or a loved one face, contact the firm for a confidential consultation. Send an email or call 312-443-1233.