The News-Courier in Athens recently reported about a sex offender who was arrested for failing to notify authorities that he had moved.
Picking up a conviction for a sex crime in Alabama is akin to being labeled with the Scarlet Letter on your forehead. Sadly, Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyers have seen many defendants who were wrongly accused of such a crime suffer a ruined reputation simply for being arrested. Hiring an experienced defense lawyer who won’t judge you and will fight for your rights is critical.
The newspaper reported that the man had been living in a motel off U.S. 31 South in Athens and he is now charged with failure of a sex offender to transfer and establish legal residence, in violation of Alabama Code 15-20-23.
People convicted of a sex offense in Alabama who are deemed sex offenders are required to register with the sheriff’s office of the county or police department in the city where they live. If they move, they must give 30 days notice to the local law enforcement that they are moving.
Failing to provide a timely and accurate written declaration is considered a Class C felony in Alabama, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Imagine having to deal with all the other pressures of moving, such as packing, finding a new place, dealing with selling a house or canceling out a lease and on top of all that having to tell the local police department or sheriff’s office you’re moving and where.
And it’s not as if the police department simply stores that information away and does nothing with it. The person’s name is stored in the state’s Sex Offender Registry, which is available for anyone in the world to search online. According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, there are more than 11,000 offenders in the system.
I bring up all this to prove how serious these penalties are. From the 18-year-old who has sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend and then has a bad breakup to the man accused of a sex offense for urinating outside, sex offenses aren’t always as heinous as portrayed on television. People who don’t commit rape or sexual assaults can be labeled sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
That’s why attacking the charges early in the process is crucial. Hiring an aggressive and experienced Birmingham criminal defense lawyer can make the difference between prison time and probation and being labeled a sex offender for the world to see and being able to live without neighbors looking at you as if you’re a violent criminal.
Sex crime prosecutions sometimes come down to a he said/she said types of cases, which makes it important to attack the credibility of the state’s witnesses. Suppressing physical evidence because police mishandled it can also be important in defending these types of cases. So, don’t leave this up to a rookie defense lawyer, trust a firm that has been doing this for years.