Over the last weekend, a story of sexual assault and criminal sentencing made national headlines. The case involved two people: the man found guilty of multiple felonies after a sexual assault and the victim, who was not identified. The story left people all across the country sharply divided.
It was not the verdict reached by a jury that has sparked such a contentious debate: It was his sentence that has been the most polarizing. The man was found guilty of three felony counts by a jury and sentenced to six months in jail, followed by probation. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. The sentence has been widely criticized as being too lenient.
The fact is many people who plead guilty to or are convicted of a sex-related crime will serve a sentence that others may view as "too lenient." However, any type of criminal sentence has the potential to be ruinous.
For instance, in the case at hand, six months in jail is far less than the six years asked for by prosecutors and the 14-year maximum the 20 year old was facing. However, the consequences of his actions and the conviction will follow him for the rest of his life.
Readers should understand that, in a similar situation, the jail sentence is just one aspect of the penalties suffered after a conviction. The stain on your criminal record, a destroyed reputation and a lifetime of being required to register as a sex offender can last much longer than any jail sentence.
With all this in mind, we want to remind readers that sentences for sex crimes are often incredibly harsh. Still, the public can cry out that more should be done to punish an offender. This can leave anyone accused of sexual assault feeling as though everyone is against them and pushing for the harshest sentence available. Having on your side an experienced criminal defense attorney can be crucial in seeking an appropriate and fair sentence and avoiding overly severe penalties.