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18 U.S.C. 2242 – Sexual Abuse

Attorneys Defending People Charged with Federal Crimes in North Carolina

While sexual abuse is a crime under state laws, when the alleged abuse takes place in certain locations, it may be charged as a federal offense. A sexual abuse conviction under federal law can result in prison time, permanent harm to reputation, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. As a result, if you are accused of sexual abuse in violation of federal law, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss whether you may have any viable defenses. The Charlotte and Concord sexual abuse lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm are skilled at defending people charged with federal sex crimes, and we can help you seek the best result available under the facts of your case.

Sexual Abuse Under Federal Law

Sexual abuse that occurs in a U.S. prison, a facility or institution in which people are held pursuant to a contract with a federal agency or department, or a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. is a federal crime pursuant to 18 U.S. Code section 2242. Notably, many locations fall under the umbrella of a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction, including vessels that are traveling on certain bodies of water within the U.S., airplanes, and other aircraft. Sexual abuse as defined by section 2242 occurs when a person coerces another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening the other person or placing the other person in fear. A person can also be charged with sexual abuse under section 2242 for engaging in a sexual act with another person who is incapable of appreciating the nature of the act or physically incapable of declining or expressing unwillingness to participate in the act. The maximum penalty for a federal sexual abuse conviction is life imprisonment. Thus, it is critical to retain a sexual abuse attorney in Charlotte or Concord who can vigorously defend you.

Defending Charges of Sexual Abuse

In any criminal matter, the prosecution bears the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the prosecution must produce evidence that is so convincing that a person who reviewed the evidence could not harbor any reasonable doubts that the defendant committed the crime. Thus, if the prosecution cannot prove an element of the charged crime, the defendant may be able to avoid a conviction. For example, if the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant’s alleged victim in a sexual abuse case engaged in sexual activity with the defendant due to threats or fear, the defendant should not be found guilty if the prosecution is proceeding under that theory. Similarly, if the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant’s alleged victim lacked the physical capability to decline to take part in the act, the prosecution should not be able to obtain a guilty verdict if the prosecution is proceeding under that theory.

Unlike the prosecution, criminal defendants do not have any burden of proof and cannot be compelled to testify or present any evidence. In some instances, however, a defendant and their Charlotte or Concord sexual abuse attorney might set forth affirmative defenses. For example, if the defendant can demonstrate that the alleged victim had the ability to consent and that any sexual activity that occurred was consensual, the defendant may choose to offer this evidence. Additionally, in some cases, a defendant may be able to avoid a conviction by offering evidence that the alleged sexual conduct never occurred. The defenses that are available will vary depending on the facts of the case.

Contact a Seasoned Sex Crime Attorney

A conviction for sexual abuse can have devastating life-long consequences, and it is prudent for anyone charged with sexual abuse to speak to an attorney. If you are charged with sexual abuse, the defense attorneys at the Olsinski Law Firm can assess the circumstances surrounding your arrest and advise you on how to proceed. We regularly defend people charged with sexual abuse throughout Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, including individuals in Charlotte, Concord, Huntersville, Mint Hill, Matthews, Cornelius, Davidson, Midland, Pineville, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, and Mount Pleasant. You can contact us at 704-405-2580 or at 704-918-4747 or through our form online to set up a meeting with a sexual abuse lawyer in Charlotte or Concord.

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