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What Are the Consequences of Sex Crime Charges?

What Are the Consequences of Sex Crime Charges?

Being accused of a sex crime can turn your life upside down. Even if you’re eventually found innocent, the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. Let’s take a compassionate look at what happens when someone is charged with a sex offense.

Arrest and Bail

Like other felonies, sex crimes lead to an arrest and processing at the police station. You’ll be fingerprinted and photographed. Most people charged with sex offenses aren’t released on just a promise to appear in court. The judge will require you to post bail to ensure you show up for trial.

Bail for sex crimes is usually quite high. For example, bail for rape may easily be set at $50,000 to $100,000 or more. Few people have that kind of money sitting around. So you’ll need to use the services of a bail bonds company, which typically charges 10% of the bail amount. That means coming up with $5,000 or $10,000 in cash just to get out of jail while awaiting trial. If you can’t pay, you’ll be stuck in jail for months until your case goes to court.

Booking and Fingerprints

After posting bail at the police station, you’ll be transported to the county jail for booking. Here, you’ll be fingerprinted again. Your fingerprints now go to the FBI, which keeps them on file. Your photo and fingerprints will be searched against unsolved crimes in their databases .

DNA Samples

If you’re charged with a sex offense, the police will take a DNA sample from you. This gets entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national database. Your DNA will be compared to samples taken from crime scenes and victims to look for matches .

Sex Offender Registry

Simply being charged with a sex crime means your name will likely be added to the sex offender registry in your state. This information becomes public. Your name, photo, address, and details of your alleged crimes can be easily found on government websites. There’s a stigma attached to being on the sex offender registry. You may be ostracized by your community, even if you’re later found not guilty.

Media Coverage

The media loves reporting on sex crime charges. Your name and photo may be broadcast on the local TV news and published in the newspaper for all to see. People will assume you’re guilty just because you’ve been accused. Even if the charges are later dropped, the public may still think, “No smoke without fire.” The news coverage can destroy your reputation. Your friends may distance themselves from you. Trying to rebuild your life after a dismissed case may be difficult with such public scrutiny.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Loss of Job

Don’t count on keeping your job if you’re facing sex crime charges. Most employers will fire you once they learn you’ve been arrested, whether the allegations are true or not. They don’t want the negative association. You’ll be left unemployed and struggling to pay your legal fees and other bills.

Hiring a Defense Lawyer

You’ll need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you and protect your rights after a sex crime arrest. But competent legal help isn’t cheap. Expect to pay at least $10,000 as a retainer up front, with the total legal fees running to $30,000 or more if your case goes to trial. If you can’t afford a lawyer, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you.

Psychological Evaluation

The court will likely order you to undergo a psych evaluation to determine things like your risk of reoffending. You may be required to take polygraph and plethysmograph tests. These examine your physical arousal when shown inappropriate images. Just taking such exams can feel demeaning, even if you’re innocent .

Plea Bargains and Punishment

Over 90% of criminal cases end in plea bargains rather than going to trial. The prosecutors may offer you a deal for a lighter sentence if you plead guilty. But this gives you a permanent felony record and requires registering as a sex offender. Insisting on your innocence means facing harsher punishment if convicted at trial. It’s a difficult decision with lifelong consequences.

Possible penalties for sex offenses include years in prison, fines, probation, and a lifetime as a registered sex offender. You may face restrictions on where you can live and work. Some convictions lead to chemical castration or civil commitment even after serving a prison sentence .

Years of Court Dates

Sex crime cases take a long time to resolve. The prosecution needs time to build their case. There are usually many pretrial hearings, continuances, motions, and other delays. It may be a year or longer before your case finally goes to trial. All the while, you’re out on bail or stuck in jail awaiting your day in court.

The Trial

If your case goes to trial, it will likely be a jury trial. The jury pool already knows about the charges from the media coverage. Your defense lawyer will try to ensure a fair jury is selected. The trial process is grueling with intense cross-examinations. The prosecution paints you as a dangerous predator. Your lawyer works to instill reasonable doubt of your guilt. Sexual assault trials often come down to “he said, she said.” If convicted, you’ll immediately be taken into custody to await sentencing.

Years of Appeals

If you’re convicted at trial, the appeals process begins. Your lawyer will file motions challenging issues like evidentiary rulings, jury selection, and jury instructions. You can appeal to higher courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Appeals take years. You’ll remain imprisoned while awaiting the outcomes. Few convictions get overturned on appeal, but the process must be exhausted before accepting the verdict.

Destruction of Reputation

The stigma of sex crime charges alone can ruin your reputation, even if you’re acquitted or charges are dropped. People will Google your name and see the arrest record. The Internet never forgets. Rebuilding your life after such allegations is extremely difficult. You may need to move to a new community for a fresh start.

Years of Therapy

The psychological impact of facing sex crime charges leads many to seek counseling. A good therapist can help you process the anger, grief, shame, and trauma. But therapy costs money and takes years of sessions to work through those feelings. Healing your mind after such a horrific ordeal is challenging.

Financial Ruin

Between bail money, legal fees, fines, loss of work, and psychological counseling, fighting sex crime charges can destroy you financially. The average cost to defend a sex crime case is $50,000 to $100,000 . Few have that kind of money lying around. You may go deep into debt trying to clear your name or repaying society.

Years as a Registered Sex Offender

If convicted of a sex offense, your name remains on the sex offender registry for years or life, even after serving your sentence. You must keep your registration current with address and job status updates. Failing to register properly leads to new charges. Your life is heavily restricted living under this kind of supervision.

Ostracism from Society

Registered sex offenders are outcasts in society. People treat you as a monster beyond redemption. You may be unable to find work or housing. Old friends avoid you. You’re forced to the fringes to survive. Healing and reintegration into society are extremely difficult under the stigma of the sex offender label, whether guilty or not.

Possible Vigilante Attacks

There have been cases of vigilantes targeting registered sex offenders for violent attacks or harassment. Your name, photo, and address on the public registry make you an easy target. Some neighbors have held protests demanding sex offenders move out of their communities. You may fear for your safety if your status becomes widely known.

Restrictions on Where You Can Live

As a registered sex offender, there are restrictions on where you can live. You may be prohibited from living near schools, parks, or other areas children frequent. Housing options become very limited. Landlords often refuse to rent to sex offenders. You may end up homeless if unable to find compliant housing.

Years or Life on Parole

If convicted of a sex offense, you’ll likely serve parole for years or life after release from prison. Parole comes with strict rules against things like accessing computers, viewing pornography, or contacting minors. Your home and workplace are subject to random searches. One slip-up means going back to jail, even years later. Your life is never fully your own again.


The consequences of sex crime charges are severe, even if the allegations are untrue. The stigma can destroy your life and reputation for years. The financial costs are crippling. And a conviction brings a lifetime of restrictions and ostracism. While we must take sex crime accusations seriously, we also cannot forget that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. We must find a better balance of justice that protects both victims and the falsely accused.


FBI Next Generation Identification (NGI)

FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)

If You Are Accused of a Sex Crime, Nolo

Sex Crime Charges, Convictions and Penalties, CriminalDefenseLawyer.com


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