Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

If you were charged with statutory rape in California because the person you were intimate with portrayed themselves as older than they actually were, could you still be convicted? 

It has never been easier to get in touch with people you know or want to get to know. Even with restrictions and limitations on in-person gatherings, there is nothing holding people back from connecting online. Whether it be through dating services, social media apps, or other online platforms, communication between people can be done without having to actually be physically next to someone.

If you are meeting someone for the first time, or you have met them before, assuming they are a certain age is not good enough. When sex is involved, you still may be criminally charged if the person with whom you were intimate was not of legal age. When the person you had relations with showed you a fake ID or met you in a club where only those who are 21 years of age and older can frequent, you may think it is reasonable to be mistaken about their age. 

It is easy to take pictures and videos of intimate moments between two people. Almost everyone has a phone on them at all times that is equipped with a camera and has video capabilities. Today’s most modern phones are so advanced, there are people who actually shoot professional movies with them. The act of taking a video or picture of a person engaged in sexual activity or without clothes on and then sharing it with others without their consent has a name — revenge porn — and the state of California says it is illegal. 

If you were arrested for a sex crime like revenge porn in California, you need skilled and experienced legal counsel defending your rights and fighting your charges. David M. Boertje is a San Diego sex crimes defense attorney who can help you with your case. As a proficient California criminal defense attorney, David M. Boertje thoroughly understands how the system works and knows how to protect your rights. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will provide you with the strategic defense you need to see the best possible outcome for your case.

What Happens if You are Arrested for Revenge Porn in California?

Romantic relationships do not always work out, and sometimes a breakup turns toxic and bitter. Simply because you have had your heart broken or you were wronged by your ex does not give you permission to share pictures or videos you have of your ex naked or engaged in a sexual act. In the state of California, if you are convicted of revenge porn, you may be subject to paying $1,000 in fines and be sentenced to jail. It can be difficult to think clearly when you are experiencing extreme emotions, but posting intimate materials about your ex online is a big mistake and can alter the course of your life.

Under California’s SB 255, revenge porn was given a valid classification as a crime that could be prosecuted at the misdemeanor level. Posting pictures of your ex without their consent is a crime that will come with an arrest if you are caught. Your full name along with the crime you were arrested for could be made public by law enforcement. That means that your reputation has the potential to be ruined. This would limit your professional opportunities, affect your relationships with others, impede future romantic relationships, and more.

Revenge porn has become a serious problem, which is why legislators are taking notice and passing laws with harsh penalties against it. In some situations, though, the laws create loopholes that your attorney can use to your benefit.  Continue reading

Sex crime charges in California are some of the most difficult ones for people to overcome for many reasons. The public disgrace and shame that goes along with a sex crime arrest are considerable. When an accusation of some type of sexual assault is made, it is common for people to naturally side with the victim. Because of the nature of sex crimes, people will tend to feel bad for a victim and want immediate justice by having the alleged perpetrator punished to the harshest extent. Even when a sexual assault accusation is false, the person who was victimized by such dishonesty may never be able to fully escape the stigma that goes along with the charges. They may always be treated differently.

It is incredibly important that if you were arrested for a sex crime in San Diego, that you obtain the counsel of an experienced San Diego sex crime defense attorney immediately. Getting started on your case as soon as possible can minimize the impact that the allegations will have on your life. Quickly working on your case will also be crucial to building the strongest defense strategy to improve your chances of getting a not guilty verdict.

The Different Types of Sexual Assault Crimes in San Diego

Sexual assault comes in many different forms and the state of California does not take these offenses lightly. Convictions can result in many years in state prison, high fines, as well as having to register as a sex offender, which is a permanent black mark on your name and your life. 

The following are some examples of sexual assault:

  • Rape is a violent offense that can take place between people familiar with each other or not, and sexual intercourse is forced on an unwilling party or parties. There are many forms of rape including:
    • Date rape happens between people who have some type of relationship with each other.
    • Spousal rape happens between people who are married.
    • Statutory rape happens when a person who is 18 years of age and older engages in sexual intercourse with a person between the age of 14 to 17. Knowing or not knowing a person is considered a minor does not shield a person from prosecution.
  • Prostitution is when a person either pays for sexual acts or accepts money to perform sexual acts.
  • Sexual Battery is an unwanted touch that is sexual in nature from one party to another.
  • Indecent Exposure is when a person displays their genitalia in public.
  • Lewd Acts happen when a person engages in sexual behaviors in public where they can be seen.
  • Pornography is sexual content that can exist in pictures, videos, artwork, or in writing.
  • Child Molestation happens when sexual and lustful actions are directed at minors.

Continue reading

Currently, California is one of only 11 states in the United States that treats spousal rape differently than other types of rape. This may not be the case for long, though, because there are two bills that are being considered by legislators in California that will make the way spousal rape is punished akin to other acts of rape. What this means is that instead of allowing individuals charged with spousal rape to be subject to much softer penalties and more lenient outcomes, the state will hold those perpetrators to the same legal repercussions as any others.

Sexual crimes across the board are taken seriously in California, and the negative stigma that goes along with these charges means that defending against them can be complicated. The courts are not particularly understanding or considerate to an individual facing sexual assault charges. Because of this and due to the far-reaching implications of a guilty verdict, it is critically important that if you have been charged with a sex crime in California you have the best, most knowledgeable legal representation supporting you. 

David M. Boertje is a San Diego sex crime defense attorney who will always fight for a not guilty verdict. As an experienced trial lawyer, even in cases in which a defendant will not have their charges dropped, David M. Boertje will defend you by finding the best possible outcome such as negotiating a favorable plea deal, arguing to have your charges reduced, or finding alternative sentencing options to keep you out of jail.

California has peeping tom laws that protect the privacy of the public. The laws are found under Penal Code 647 (i) and (j) — peeking while loitering and invasion of privacy. If you are charged and convicted for either of these crimes you could be facing jail time and expensive fines. The details of your charges will determine how severe your penalties will be.

To protect yourself and your freedoms when you have been charged with peeping tom crimes in California, connect with David M. Boertje, a California criminal defense attorney who has handled thousands of criminal cases. Our legal team can provide you with a defense strategy to improve your chances of having your case dismissed, to help you obtain a not guilty verdict, have your charges reduced, or obtain a favorable plea bargain.

What are California’s Peeping Tom Laws?

Penal Code 647 (i) defines peeking while loitering, which basically makes it illegal for a person to be on private property and look at individuals who inhabit the property. If you are looking in someone’s window or watching a person in their home through their doorway, you could be arrested for peeking while loitering. When you are on another person’s property without their permission and you are watching them, you will be arrested if you are found out. Even if you are caught lingering on someone’s property and looking into the structure on that property and no one is home, you can still be arrested and charged.

Under Penal Code 647 (j), or invasion of privacy, there are ways that a person can spy on others that are illegal. Engaging in any of the following actions will result in an arrest if you are caught:

  • Making use of equipment to keep watch on a person such as would be the case with binoculars;
  • Putting a camera under someone’s clothes without their permission and taking a picture or a video to appease a sexual need; and/or
  • Using equipment to make a recording or to take a picture of a person while they are in a private space to see their body or their underwear.

Both forms of peeping tom activities are considered misdemeanors and jail time can be as long as six months. Fines can be as high as $1,000. If a person is arrested for peeping tom activities on a minor or if a person is arrested more than once for these unlawful activities jail time increases to up to one year and fines are also raised to $2,000. 

There is also the option of a judge providing for probation in lieu of serving time in jail. When this happens, many times the defendant must pay restitution to their victim, provide for regular progress reports to the court, or a combination of both. It is imperative that the defendant follows the orders of the court to keep probation because if they violate the conditions of their probation the judge will cancel this option and instead the defendant will go to jail. Continue reading

In an effort to minimize the prison population in California and better manage the associated costs, more inmates may be eligible for early parole. Included in this population are nonviolent sex offenders, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court. The ballot measure, which was approved four years ago, was aimed at non-violent felons. The measure did not include language excluding sex offenders who were charged with non-violent felonies.

While former Gov. Jerry Brown has been an outspoken backer of the initiative, he said that he was not in favor of the measure including those convicted of sex crimes. The lower appeals court ruled that the way the initiative was written, it plainly includes all non-violent felonies including those convicted of sex crimes. When the ruling by the lower appeals court went to the high court, the ruling was upheld.

As a result of the ruling, 20,000 inmates may have the opportunity to gain early parole. Of those 20,000 inmates impacted by the initiative, approximately 50% are individuals serving their time for sex offenses and the other 50% had a previous sex crime conviction but were presently serving time for another crime such as burglary. These numbers were reported by Janice Bellucci the executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws. The courts indicated that the actual number of inmates who would be eligible for consideration would come to just over 4,000.

Bellucci says this ruling by the lower appeals court and which was maintained by the California Supreme Court is “a significant victory” for individuals convicted of sex crimes in California. Even though the ruling allows for sex offenders to gain consideration for parole, that does not mean a parole board will permit early release for these individuals. Ultimately, the parole board has a wide capacity for which they can determine who is paroled and who is not.

What Legal Defenses Can be Used When Charged With a Sex Crime in California?

When you have been arrested and charged for a sex crime in California, the penalties are high. The stigma of just a sex crime accusation follows a person forever and will negatively affect their life, even when there is no conviction. A conviction has even deeper implications for a person’s ability to sustain to return to a normal life after serving their time. 

It is best to have the most strategic and resourceful California criminal defense attorney representing you when you are arrested and charged with a sex crime. Possible legal defense approaches could include:

  • The alleged victim consented to the act.
  • The alleged victim falsely accused the defendant of committing the act.

Continue reading

Have you been arrested and charged with lewd conduct in San Diego? If you are convicted of lewd conduct in the public sphere in California, you are subject to penalty under California’s Penal Code 647(a). The state characterizes the following actions as lewd conduct under the law:

  • Unwanted touching of other individuals’ genitals or “private parts” in an offensive or aggressive manner or for sexual pleasure.

If you are arrested and eventually convicted of engaging in lewd conduct in the state of California, do not wait to connect with a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can effectively fight the charges against you. David M. Boertje is a San Diego sexual offense attorney who will provide you with the best most proactive and aggressive criminal defense services possible. Sexual crimes do not just come with steep fines and jail time; the stigma that surrounds them can follow you around for your entire life and destroy personal relationships with loved ones as well as preclude you from being able to obtain gainful employment and many more negative life outcomes.

How Can You Fight California Sexual Offense Charges?

It can be an uphill battle fighting California sexual offense charges and clearing your name from the shame and dishonor that could shroud your reputation. You will need to work with a California criminal defense attorney who knows the law, is resourceful, and will provide you with the strongest criminal defense strategy possible. Without a strong defense, lewd conduct, which is a misdemeanor, can come with the following penalties:

  • A sentence of as much as six months in county jail
  • Fines as high as $1,000
  • Both jail time and fines

You may be to avoid jail time and instead only serve probation with the right attorney fighting on your behalf and preserving your legal rights. If you are able to secure probation, you must follow the requirements of the court. Some or a combination of the following actions may be required to avoid jail time while you are under court supervision:

  • Therapy and counseling
  • Community service
  • Adhering to a restraining order and keeping appropriate distance and terminating communication with a victim 
  • Paying restitution

Lewd conduct in California does not require the defendant to become a registered sex offender, which is good news, but if you are convicted, it will be listed in your criminal record. The prosecution arguing the case against you must show evidence that you did willfully engage in lewd conduct for your own personal gratification or to annoy another party in the public or in a location that anyone in the public could see, and that you knew of the people present when you did the act, and that all parties were offended. Continue reading

A 38-year old man was arrested and put in jail on suspicion of attempting to sexually assault a woman. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department indicated that the incident allegedly occurred during the daytime at approximately 10:30 a.m. at the Poway Community Park on Civic Center Drive. The man was identified as Ryan Joseph Rasmussen. According to reports, Rasmussen grabbed a female victim from behind and aggressively pulled her to the ground where he tried to sexually assault her. 

Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Boudreau said that a nearby witness heard the woman scream and then saw the incident take place. The witness then pulled the suspect off of the woman. The suspect fled the area on a bicycle and was gone before the police arrived at the scene.

Rasmussen was eventually arrested by detectives “without incident” on suspicion of assault with the intent to commit rape. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail on Monday night, March 30 at approximately 10:30 p.m. He is currently being held in the jail and has a tentative arraignment scheduled for April 6.

How Does the Law Respond to Sexual Assault in California?

There were over 31,000 sexual assault victims between 2011 and 2012 in California that received medical treatment in a rape crisis center. It is believed that close to 9 million people have been victimized by some type of sexual violence in the state. It is likely that there could be many more individuals who have been victimized by sexual violence in the state who are not reflected in the statistics. The reason for this is it is difficult to get accurate statistics regarding sexual violence crimes because they often go unreported. While women are the most affected by this violence, men are also victims. Approximately one-third of reported sexual assault cases in the state of California have male victims.

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is San Diego County’s specialized force that responds to sexual assaults in the community. The team includes a nurse examiner who has specialized training to collect evidence and provide medical assistance. There is also an officer who investigates the assaults in addition to being an emergency response resource. Last, a victim advocate helps the victim with emotional support and supplies helpful information.

If you are convicted of sexual assault in California you are facing upwards of 48 months in prison with a fine that can be as high as $10,000.  Continue reading

In California and throughout the nation, the collection of DNA is a huge undertaking. All 50 states are required to collect DNA evidence from suspects, with some occurring at the arrest, prior to getting a conviction. Several types of DNA evidence exist in society today. DNA swabbing is one of the most common. DNA swabbing is a type of DNA used to collect evidence from the suspect of a sexual offense, such as rape. For purposes of this article, we will focus on DNA swabbing, the techniques of swabbing, and problems that exist in San Diego County.

What is DNA Swabbing?

A DNA swab, or what is technically known as a buccal swab, is the process by which cells are collected from the cheek of the mouth using a cotton-tipped applicator. Many people refer to DNA swab as a cheek swab.

According to Puritan Medical Products, there are three techniques of DNA swabbing:

  • Touch DNA swabbing
  • Double touch DNA swabbing
  • Blood and fluid swabbing

Puritan Medical Products also lays out the steps of DNA swabbing:

  • Preparation
  • Swabbing for cells
  • Preservation of cells for transport

After learning about the techniques of DNA swabbing and the steps it takes to complete DNA swabbing, you may be surprised to hear that San Diego County is facing its own problems when it comes to DNA swabbing and testing of rape kits.

San Diego Faces Problems With Rape Kit Policies

San Diego County is currently facing a problem with the incomplete testing of DNA rape kits. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) admits to not having the capacity to test all untested rape kits in their possession while handling daily duties, according to an article in the Voice of San Diego.  

SDPD was testing only a single swab from untested rape kits. This was the procedure specifically reserved for circumstances where the DA declined to prosecute, according to a report by 10 News San Diego.

Although San Diego is making plans to resolve these problems, this just reiterates the fact that DNA swabbing is not always effective. Ineffective DNA swabbing is what lands an innocent person in jail.

DNA Swabbing is Not Always Effective

Regardless of the steps taken to preserve the evidence, DNA swabbing is not always effective in crime investigations.  DNA swabbing can be faulty and a technician’s error in handling the evidence happens often.

Because of the ineffectiveness of DNA evidence, this is where a knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense attorney can create a cloud of reasonable doubt surrounding the evidence. Continue reading

Three teenage friends, two girls and one boy, regularly shared videos by group text message to each other on their mobile devices. Through the bond of their friendship, there was an unspoken assumption that whatever was shared among them would remain private. There was an element to their video sharing practice of trying to outdo each other with each video posted and shared. This assumption was put to the test when one sensitive video did not stay among them.

The 16-year-old maker and sender of the video made a sexually explicit video of herself and sent it to the other teens on the group chat chain. The male teen, 17 at the time, shared a copy of the video with his school resource officer from the county sheriff’s office. The other female teen, who was 16 at the time, shared the video with other students. Before long, the video was widely distributed throughout the school. The maker of the video remained home from school for 30 days unwilling to return to school because of the backlash she was experiencing from the other students.

The only person charged with a crime for this incident, in juvenile court, was the 16-year-old maker and sender of the video. Possession and distribution of child pornography is a crime in the teen’s jurisdiction, the State of Maryland. It is also a crime in California.

Self-produced child pornography is a touchy subject. While on the one hand, the teen in this case was immature and an argument can be made that she did not appreciate the consequences of making a sexually explicit video of herself, she consented to sharing the video with her friends because she made the post herself and released it to them. She did not, however, consent to its release to the entire student body. On the other hand, child pornography is the trade of videos and photographs which depict children engaging in sexual acts. Outside of the school, this video may be on someone else’s electronic device and as such, it is being used to exploit children. The only way to combat its use is by banning possession of it strictly, as would be the case in almost all U.S. states.   Continue reading

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