Since a child cannot consent to sexual conduct, lewdness with a minor is considered a serious offense that can lead to life-altering consequences. If you are charged with NRS 201.230, you should be proactive and assertive in responding to your criminal charges; they can adversely alter your reputation, freedom, future, livelihood, and life. One effective way to beat the charges is to retain a skilled Las Vegas defense lawyer. The legal team at The Law Offices of Martin Hart can bring resources and experience to the case and negotiate with the prosecutor or represent you in court to assist you in obtaining the best possible case results.
Defining Lewdness With a Minor
Nevada law defines lewdness with a minor as the intentional sexual touching of a child below 16 years intending to appeal, gratify, or arouse either individual's sexual desires. You can be convicted of the crime regardless of whether the minor initiated or consented to the sexual conduct.
You can also be found guilty of this offense even if your touch did not involve any sexual organ. In other words, touching any body part is considered lewdness, provided you execute it with sexual motives.
Understanding How Sexual Assault Differs From Lewdness
The most significant difference between these crimes involves the degree of the behavior. You violated rape/sexual assault (Nevada Revised Statutes 200.366) when your touching involves sexual penetration like:
- Anal sex
- Sexual intercourse
- Fingering (digital penetration)
- Oral sex
- Penetration using a foreign substance
However, if the touching did not take in penetration, you cannot be convicted of sexual assault but lewdness.
Penalties, Consequences, and Sentencing
The penalties of Nevada Revised Statutes 201.230 depend mainly on the alleged victim's age. If the minor is below fourteen, you will be charged with a category A felony. A first-time crime carries the following potential penalties:
- Life imprisonment with a possibility of parole following ten years
- A maximum fine of $10,000
- Sex offender registration
However, if you have a previous conviction for a comparable or the same sex crime, there is no possibility of parole.
You will face a category B felony if the minor is fourteen or fifteen years old. The crime is punishable by:
- Mandatory requirement to register as a sex offender
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines
- One year to ten years in Nevada State Prison
Additionally, this crime attracts lifetime supervision per Nevada Revised Statutes 176.0931. However, you can get off the lifetime supervision following ten years.
If a juvenile violated Nevada Revised Statutes 201.230, they would be prosecuted for delinquent conduct in the juvenile justice system.
NRS 201.230 is an aggravated felony. An immigrant convicted of the crime will be deported or marked inadmissible. Any non-citizen facing this sex charge should hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Sex Offender Registry
The sex offender registry is a public database including defendants sentenced for specific sex crimes. Typically, the law has three categories of convicted sex offenders, including:
- Tier I
- Tier II
- Tier III
If you are an adjudicated sex offender, you should:
- Register with the sheriff's office or local police within 48 hours of being released from detention. It involves submitting DNA samples, palm prints, and fingerprints.
- Inform the law enforcement within 48 hours of changes in residence, employment, student status, or address
- Submit a yearly verification form
- Notify the police when in a place for more than thirty days after reporting a visit of fewer than thirty days
- Renew your driver's license annually
Please note that you will be charged with a Nevada felony when you fail to register as a sex offender. The penalty you face will depend on whether you have a prior conviction of failing to register.
How to Fight Nevada Revised Statutes 201.230 Criminal Charges
Discussed below are legal defenses that your criminal defense attorney can use to fight your criminal charges:
You Did Not Have Sexual Intent
One element of this offense is you touched the alleged victim with sexual motives. Provided the prosecutor cannot establish beyond any reasonable doubt that your intent was sexual, then your criminal charges should be dismissed.
However, you can face Nevada Revised Statutes 200.481 (battery) charges that ban illegal touching.
You Were Falsely Accused
Sometimes children lie to the police without understanding the impact of the conduct. Also, an estranged partner can coach a juvenile to falsely accuse their other parent out of a misunderstanding, anger, vengeance, or jealousy. If your lawyer can prove you are a victim of false accusations and your accused is lying, you should be acquitted.
The Alleged Victim Was Above 15 Years
Nevada Revised Statutes 201.230 apply only when the minor was below sixteen years. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the child was not more than 15 years old, you cannot be found guilty of this crime.
Statute of Limitations for Violation of NRS 201.230
You can be charged with NRS 201.230 up until the alleged victim is thirty-six if they learn that they were a victim of the sex crime when they are thirty-six.
Alternatively, you can be charged with NRS 201.230 up until the minor is forty-three if the alleged victim did not realize that they were a victim of sexual lewdness when they are forty-three.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record?
While defendants can seal their lewdness charges per Nevada law, you cannot seal your NRS 201.230 conviction.
Steps to Take After a Sex Crime Arrest
If you have been arrested for the sex crime in question, it can be the beginning of a nightmare that can drastically alter your life and follow you. Whether you are innocent or not, you should take the following steps. You do not want to lose your employment, freedom, finances, or family and be one of the thousand people listed on the sex offender registry.
Remain Calm and Relaxed
Being arrested comes with strong emotions. However, yelling, getting angry, or fighting the police officers back will worsen your situation. Instead, take deep breaths and have reassuring thoughts.
Write Down What Occurred During Your Arrest
Ensure you write everything you recall about the arrest, noting down whether the police had a search warrant to search you, read you your Miranda rights, and the questions they asked you. Police misconduct can affect your criminal charges, and any evidence obtained is inadmissible in court.
Do Not Post Bail Without Consulting with Your Defense Lawyer
Your lawyer can work to reduce the set bail amount or have the judge release you on your own recognizance. It will save you thousands of dollars.
Collect and Preserve Relevant Evidence
Preserve all records associated with the crime like calendars, communications, diaries, and videos. Even things that do not seem essential at first could become crucial later. Do not erase any social media post or email linked to your accusations. It makes you look guilty and can tamper with evidence charges. It is better to deal with an incriminating social media post or text rather than explain why you deleted it.
Do Not Agree to Any Voluntary Testing or Search
You can refuse any test or searches unless the court has ordered it. It will require the law enforcers to obtain a search warrant and comply with the rules when executing it. That means you should not:
- Submit written records
- Give access to the computers or phone
- Give your passwords
- Submit to genetic evidence gathering like cheek swabs
Do Not Contact any Witness or the Alleged Victim
You should presume all communication you have can be reported to the police or recorded. It is an investigative practice to have the alleged victim or their loved one make a recorded call to you to confront you to provoke an apology or admission. Either can be used against you.
Your contact can be misinterpreted as an effort to interfere with evidence or intimidate the victim.
The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects accused persons compelled to give testimonies that could incriminate them. That means you do not have to answer any question; politely say no to any effort to acquire evidence from you or question you. The courts hold that law enforcers should stop questioning a suspect after asserting their entitlement to legal representation. They have also held that a defendant should affirmatively invoke their right to remain silent.
Any time the police interview you, the officers try to build their case against you.
Seek Skilled Legal Representation
The U.S. Constitution also allows you to have a right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, the court can appoint a public defender for you. Discussed below are reasons why engaging an experienced defense lawyer is essential.
- They know how the Nevada judicial system works — The Nevada legal system can be overwhelming, but a seasoned defense attorney knows the complicated working of the judicial system and can assist you throughout the process. The Law Offices of Martin Hart can clarify the criminal process by offering a guide on the court hearings during the initial consultation.
- They have a professional relationship with the prosecutor — After working in the legal field for many years, a criminal defense lawyer develops relationships with the prosecuting attorney. While it can seem odd, it can be essential to your criminal case when individuals are familiar with each other. Their professional relationship allows them to negotiate a more favorable plea deal.
- They have previously handled a similar case — It allows them to know what you need and how to help you obtain the most favorable case outcome.
- They can protect your life and future — A competent defense lawyer can help your penalties lessened, charges reduced, or even have the case dismissed due to law enforcement misconduct while unlawfully obtaining evidence. Having your charges reduced or dismissed could save you from the negative effects of a conviction.
How to Assist Your Defense Lawyer with Your Criminal Defense
Even if you have retained a qualified defense lawyer, you cannot expect them to fight for your freedom without your assistance and cooperation. You and the legal counsel are a team; you can assist them or make their work difficult by failing to abide by their advice. Adhering to these guidelines can assist you in achieving a favorable case outcome.
- Be truthful — You should be truthful with your defense lawyer if you want them to prepare the best legal defense. Ensure you answer their questions thoroughly and truthfully. The attorney-client privilege defends whatever you tell your advocate, and they have a responsibility to fight your criminal charges whether they know you are innocent. By being frank with the legal counsel, you avoid them learning issues that could hurt the defense or hinder them from providing you with an accurate analysis of the case.
- Provide any relevant information promptly — The sooner you provide your lawyer with information, the more likely they will follow up on the matter and be prepared for court hearings.
- Be respectful and dress appropriately — When attending your court hearings, ensure you make a good impression on the judge. It can be dressing decently, being punctual, and being respectful of the judge and court personnel.
- Keep in touch with the lawyer— Your attorney will be contacting you from time to time, so you should provide them with your contact details. Ensure you regularly discuss the case progress with your lawyer.
- Stay off social media until the case is resolved — You should not post anything about your case on social media. The prosecution team can find it and use it against you.
Find a Knowledgeable Las Vegas Sex Crime Defense Attorney Near Me
Lewdness with a minor is among the most distressing criminal charges. On top of lengthy incarceration time, court fines, social stigma, and sex offender registration, you will face a criminal record that comes with difficulties securing financing, employment, housing, and education opportunities. With the counsel of a Las Vegas defense lawyer like The Law Offices of Martin Hart, you will be best placed to protect your constitutional rights and freedom. Our attorneys can protect you from unfair depictions in the media, unlawful investigation techniques, false accusations, abuse of judicial discretion in sentencing, or unreasonable trial procedures. Please contact us at 702-380-4278 to schedule your initial no-obligation consultation.