Maryville Sex Crimes Attorneys
Representing clients facing sexual assault charges in East Tennessee
There are few criminal charges that could have a greater effect on your life than sex crime charges. In some cases, simply being charged with a sex crime can cost you your job, your family, and your reputation. Aside from jail time, you may be required to register as a sex offender for a set number of years or for the rest of your life if you’re convicted. The only way to combat these charges is to hire an experienced attorney as soon as you possibly can.
The aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. have represented clients charged with sex crimes in East Tennessee for decades. Even if you have not been officially charged with a crime, time is of the essence. Contact us in Maryville today to get started on your defense.
What sex crime charges do you handle?
In Tennessee, sex crimes are considered “offenses against a person.” Shepherd & Long, P.C. represents clients facing any of the following charges:
- Aggravated rape
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Sexual battery
- Statutory rape and aggravated statutory rape
- Sexual contact with a minor
- Continuous abuse of a child
- Aggravated rape of a child
- Public indecency
How does Tennessee define rape?
Tennessee classifies rape as a Class B felony. It is the “unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;
- The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the penetration that the victim did not consent;
- The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless; or
- The sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud.”
A conviction comes with a sentence ranging from eight to 30 years. Fines of up to $25,000 can also be levied.
How does Tennessee define aggravated rape?
Aggravated rape is a Class A felony. It is defined as the “unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;
- The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;
- The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or
- The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.”
If convicted, you face between 15 and 60 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
How does Tennessee define statutory rape?
There are three categories of statutory rape under Tennessee law and they are based on the age of the victim, if the defendant was in a position of trust, and the age of the defendant:
- Standard statutory rape: the unlawful sexual penetration of another when the victim is between 13 and 15 years of age and the defendant is at least four years but not more than 10 years older than the victim or the victim is between 15 and 18 years of age and the defendant is more than five years but no more than 10 years older than the victim and is classified as a Class E felony.
- Mitigated statutory rape: the unlawful sexual penetration of another when the victim is between the ages of 15 and 18 and the defendant is at least four years but not more than five years older than the victim and is classified as a Class E felony.
- Aggravated statutory rape: the unlawful sexual penetration of another when the victim is between 13 and less than 18 years of age and the defendant is at least 10 years older than the victim and is classified as a Class D felony.
How Tennessee defines sexual assault
Defendants can face various charges of sexual assault in Tennessee:
- Sexual battery. This is the intentional contact sexually using coercion, force, or when the defendant knew the victim was physically or mentally incapacitated. Intentionally contacting another person sexually by fraud also falls under the sexual battery umbrella.
- Aggravated sexual battery. This crime occurs when the contact is done with the use of coercion, a weapon, physical injury, or force with the help of another person. This charge can also be levied if the victim was under the age of 12.
- Sexual battery by an authority figure. If the victim of the sex crime is physically or mentally incapacitated, is between 13 and 17 years of age, and the defendant fits the description of an authority figure; you can be charged with this crime. An authority figure is defined as someone who is in a position of trust over the victim, such as a teacher.
What is the sex offender registry?
The sex offender registry is a nationwide list of convicted sex offenders that informs the public where sex offenders live. Under State and Federal law, sex offenders are listed on the registry in tiers, which are as follows:
- Tier I: sex offense as (1) a crime involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another, (2) specified crimes against minors, (3) specified federal crimes and military crimes, and (4) attempt or conspiracy to commit one of them. Certain foreign crimes and certain crimes involving consensual sexual conduct are excluded but certain juvenile adjudications are included. A sex offender must register for 15 years at Tier I. If the offender has a clear record, it could be reduced to 10 years.
- Tier II: convicted of an offense punishable by more than one year in prison that: 1. is committed against a minor and is comparable or more severe than one of the following federal crimes or attempt or conspiracy to commit one of them: sex trafficking, coercion and enticement, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, or abusive sexual contact; 2. involves using a minor in a sexual performance, soliciting a minor for prostitution, or producing or distributing child pornography; or 3. occurs after the offender became a Tier I sex offender. A Tier II sex offender must register for 25 years.
- Tier III: convicted of an offense that is punishable by more than one year in prison and: 1. is comparable or more severe than one of the following federal crimes or conspiracy or attempt to commit one of them: aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual contact against a minor under age 13; 2. involves kidnapping a minor, unless the actor is a parent or guardian; or 3. occurs after the offender became a Tier II sex offender. A Tier III sex offender must register for life. If the offender is a juvenile, they must register for 25 years if they maintain a clear record.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you are required to register with the law enforcement agency where you live immediately upon being released into the community. You have up to 48 hours to register for the list. Offenders must re-register annually, or more often for certain convictions, and must register each time they move with the law enforcement agency in their new place of residence. Failing to register can lead to additional criminal charges.
How do you get removed from the sex offender registry?
There are certain circumstances where you can be removed from the Tennessee sex offender registry. These include the following:
- The conviction was overturned
- You took back your guilty plea
- You were convicted of statutory rape in which a 10 year or less age differential existed between you and the victim at the time of the offense
- Your name appears on the Tennessee sex offender registry for the only reason that you were required to be on another state’s registry, and your name has since been removed from the other state’s registry
- You received a conviction classified as “sexual,” 10 years has passed since your conviction, and your name has been on the sex offender registry for at least five years
- Your conviction on a sex offense has been expunged in Tennessee or another state
- You were convicted in juvenile court of a sex offense and have now reached the age of 25 and have kept your record clean
How do our Maryville sex crimes attorneys fight the charges against you?
It’s important to note that being accused of a crime is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime. The government has the responsibility to prove every element of the charge. If they are unable to do so, then the charges against you should be dropped. Sex crime charges are challenging because the court of public opinion often labels you as guilty automatically. However, you have a right to a fair trial. You are afforded the right to confront the witnesses called against you in court in Tennessee.
We will fight relentlessly for your rights in order to protect your freedom. Our lawyers are not afraid to challenge accusers in the courtroom. Our criminal defense team will review toxicology reports, DNA, and other chemical test results to establish that you are innocent. If we cannot get the charges against you dropped, we will diligently fight to have them reduced or negotiate a lesser sentence on your behalf.
Contact an experienced Maryville sex crimes attorney today
You have the right to discuss your case with a Maryville sex crime attorney. Do not speak to police officers or give your side of the story until you talk to an attorney. The experienced team at Shepherd & Long P.C. understands the severity of these charges and how a conviction can impact the rest of your life. We will pull from our decades of experience representing clients accused of sex crimes in Maryville and throughout East Tennessee to build a defense for your case. Call our office at call 865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.