Common Misconceptions Regarding Sex-Related Crimes In Alabama
Interviewer: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that people have about sex crimes as a whole?
Zach Peagler: From a defense perspective, I will say first and foremost, that there are some heinous sex crimes out there and that’s a terrible area of the law to deal with when you’re dealing with rape or child molestation and those type of things. There are absolutely heinous crimes, but there are a lot of false accusations in sex crimes. Then, to put on top of that, there are crimes that the people have committed that don’t involve violent rape or child molestation that are still subject to this very ardent law that requires them to register and meet certain criteria.
The Public Perception Regarding Sex Offenders Lumps All Offenders into a Single Category Regardless of the Nature of the Crime
Sometimes, there’s not a lot of wiggle room in the law. You may have someone that committed a misdemeanor, a sexual offense like indecent exposure that could then be charged with a felony for not properly registering. I think the public perception and I’m not faulting this, but it just seems that the public perception is that, all sex offenders are lumped into one category of just the most heinous individuals in our society. Like I said, many of them are, but some of them have made a mistake 20 years ago that’s still following them around and making it very hard for them to become a productive member of society.
In Most Sex Crimes Cases, an Individual has to Register For their Entire Life
Interviewer: How long does an individual have to be a registered sex offender? How long does that stay on the record?
Zach Peagler: In most instances, they’re going to have to register for their entire lives with very minimal exceptions to that. The only way to not have to register would be at some point during the pendency of the charge that a different plea agreement is reached, where it’s a non-registerable offense.
In Case of Serious Offenses such as Rape or Sexual Assault, a Convicted Individual faces Registration as Well as Prison
If they’re facing the more serious charges of rape or sexual assault, they’re going to have to prepare to live with the reality of being a registered sex offender and probably prison time if there’s not a justifiable defense to the case. For example consent or misidentification.
It is Not Advisable to Plead Guilty to a Sex Crime Charge in Alabama
If someone is going to plead guilty to a sexual offense, then he may just need to understand the law, go over it with their attorney as far as what will be required of them when they’re back in the public sector. As far as, where they can live and making sure that they report where they’re working and those type of things.
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