In adult sex cases, either one of two outcomes follow a guilty plea or verdict to a sex offense: Community Notification or Registration. All felony sex crimes involve Community Notification which is basically what it states; the entire community within a certain radius is mailed a flier / letter with the defendant’s picture. The mailing also states the convicted sex offender’s address and tells what he or she is guilty of allegedly doing. There are only certain areas sex offenders are allowed to live. They have mileage restrictions within how far they can live to children, i.e. daycares, schools, etc. Additionally, this label is for life and if at any time in the sex offender’s life he or she relocates to a different County, he or she must notify the Sheriff’s Department so they can send out notification.
We recently had a client that plead guilty to a crime that involved looking at some pictures on the internet that were questionable in nature to the age of the female. However, he took the State’s offer to plead guilty because he was not going to risk with a trial the chance of going to jail when he had the option with a plea stay out of jail and support his family. He entered what is known as a “best interest plea” or “Alford plea” meaning that he did not plead guilty because he was guilty with what the State charged him with but we felt as a team, that the State did have enough evidence to spin their evidence a certain way and there was a chance he could go to prison for an extended period of time. He entered into a guilty plea but because it was in his best interest not because he was guilty.
Every year, the Shelby County Reporter puts out a front page edition with every convicted sex offender in Shelby County. Additionally, the convicted sex offender will have his or her name placed on the Department of Human Resources’ Central Registry so he or she will never be able to coach Little League, be a Girl Scout Leader, or work in any capacity with any agency that must be licensed by the Department of Human Resources.
Community Notification also attaches to the State of Alabama Driver’s License. If you are a sex offender, it states it on your license. There is no distinction made in Alabama law as to whether the convicted sex offense is one where there was a violent, forcible rape or where there was a statutory situation. An example of a statutory rape situation is when a senior in high school that is 17 has sexual intercourse with his sophomore girlfriend that is 15. The age of sexual consent in the State of Alabama is 16. There is also a new statute our Legislature just passed regarding victims under twelve years old. If you are convicted of any type of wrongful touching within this age range, you are even prohibited from ever living with your own children. It takes no physical evidence for the State to charge you with these offenses. The victim’s statement or accusation alone is enough evidence to get a warrant and secure a conviction if the jury believes the victim.
Registration is much less intrusive but it only applies to the two sex offenses that are considered misdemeanors. Registration is where the convicted offender keeps his or her name current on the confidential registry that is kept at the Sheriff’s Office for the County in which he or she lives. It is still a lifelong label but it is much less intrusive and many people do not even know of the conviction.
The penalties of a sex offense conviction are devastating!! If you are ever remotely accused of anything that sounds like it could be a sex offense in any nature, you should contact our office at once so we can begin damage control immediately. There are many things that can be done to help prove your innocence before a warrant is issued or you are tried or convicted. The good news is that if you have a good defense team working on your side the chances of a conviction are drastically reduced and if you are not convicted you will never have to notify anyone as to your whereabouts.
Our firm specializes in these types of cases because so many lawyers do not know how to defend a sex case or refuse to listen to the other side of the story. At W. Barry Alvis and Associates, we are about protecting your Constitutional rights and making sure that everyone is given a fair trial and making the State prove their case if they feel you are someone who needs to be confined. We do not see any difference between a sex case and any other type of case because everyone deserves a defense for whatever crime they are accused of by the State of Alabama or the United States of America.