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Is sex addiction a defense to sex crimes?

Getting on the computer to browse the internet or social media sites is something most of us do every single day, and for many of us, we do this for hours at a time. However, this behavior can become cause for concern if someone is struggling with impulse control and/or an apparent addiction to sex.

However, sex addiction has long been a controversial diagnosis. While some people support claims that an addiction to sex is every bit as legitimate as an addiction to things like drugs, others say that it is just a phrase used to try and justify misconduct or criminal behaviors. This often raises the question of whether sex addiction can be used as a legal defense for someone facing charges like making, possessing or distributing child pornography.

The short answer here is no.

Even if you can argue that sex addiction can be diagnosed like other addictions, it generally is not going to be an effective defense for committing a sexual crime. If you have an addiction to alcohol, that doesn't make it okay to drive drunk.

There is at least one exception, however. If a person suffers from insanity or mental incapacity, which affects decision-making skills and impulse control, it may be argued that he or she should is not criminally liable for their behavior.

While you typically won't leverage claims of sex addiction as a defense strategy, they can influence the severity of your charges and the consequences you could be facing.

For instance, let's imagine you are a first-time offender who exhibits signs of a possible addiction to sex or other conditions that make you susceptible to risky behaviors. Under these circumstances, you may be able to negotiate a reduction in charges and/or a more lenient sentence. For example, you might be ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment in place of incarceration.

These cases are generally very complex and volatile, between the controversial opinions behind addiction and the sensitive nature of sexual offenses. If you are facing criminal charges in this type of situation, having legal representation and support in your corner will be crucial. 

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