Crimes Against Children
The law seeks to protect those who cannot defend themselves. For this reason, crimes against children are some of the most serious a person can face. Like sex crimes, even the accusation of a crime against a child can be extremely damaging to a person’s reputation. Any plea or conviction may result in the life time requirement to register on the sex offender registry. However, there may be avenues to avoid such harsh consequences. Not every case is equal.
Crimes against children can take several forms, including:
- Child pornography
- Child molestation
- Endangering the welfare of a child
Endangering the Welfare of a Child in Missouri
Parents and guardians of children have a duty to make sure children are protected and well taken care of. If the law finds that a person has not been adequately caring for a child, they can face a charge of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, R.S.Mo. 568.050. This is a very serious charge and a person should contact a St. Louis criminal defense attorney right away
Endangering the welfare of a child can occur for any number of reasons, including:
- Creating a substantial risk of harm in a child
- Encouraging the child to engage in illegal activities
- Being a parent or guardian who refuses or through reckless conduct
- Knowingly encouraging a child to engage in public nuisance
This crime is a Class A misdemeanor unless it is part of a ritual or ceremony in which case it is a Class D felony.
This crime can occur if a parent, for instance, leaves a child unattended and goes out to run errands. Even if the child does not get injured and even if the parent did not do it maliciously, the parent can still face charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
Aside from the potential fines and time in jail, this could affect the right of a parent to have custody of their children. If the state finds that a parent has been repeatedly negligent in caring for a child or children, they can be placed in a foster home until the state feels confident that a parent can care for the child. In order to keep the child in your home and prevent the state from intervening in your family, contact a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer right away if you face this particular charge.
There is perhaps no more difficult a charge to face than an accusation of molesting a child. Child molestation includes any sexual or inappropriate contact with a child. There are varying penalties depending on the age of the alleged victim.
A conviction of child molestation, even if it is an SIS (suspended imposition of sentence) will require registration on the Missouri sex offender registry. This is a public registry of all sex offenders.
Criminal defense lawyers consider sex cases to be “all or nothing”. Any plea or conviction will result in life long consequences far beyond any jail time. Because of this, it is essential for the accused to have a thorough and quality defense. The details are often what turns these cases.
If the police find images on your computer or physical pictures of children in sexually explicit situations, you will face a charge of possession of child pornography, R.S.Mo. 573.037. This charge will have major implications for relationships, friends, family, and your freedom. If you have been charged with possession of child pornography in Missouri, you need to contact an experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorney right away.
- Promoting Obscenity 1st Degree
- Promoting Obscenity 2nd Degree
- Promoting Child Pornography 1st Degree
- Promoting Child Pornography 2nd Degree
If you are arrested with child pornography, you will face a Class C felony. However, depending on the amount of explicit images or movies you have, this can be upgraded to a Class B felony. It will be a Class B felony if:
- More than twenty still images of child pornography; or
- More than twenty obscene still images; or
- Child pornography comprised of one motion picture, film, videotape, videotape production, or other moving image; or
- Obscene material comprised of one motion picture, film, videotape production, or other moving image;
It will also be a Class B felony if you have previous convictions for possession of child pornography.
These are highly technical cases that require the input of computer forensic experts to analyze images and data. It also requires a St. Louis criminal defense attorney who has compassion for the defendant and will help get you through this difficult time. By hiring an attorney who has experience handling these difficult cases, you can be sure you get are getting the representation you deserve.
Amending Sex Crime Charges
It is difficult to amend a sex crimes charge to a non-sex crimes charge. Because of this, sex crimes cases are often viewed as “all or nothing” by criminal defense attorneys. Even a plea in which the judge orders a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) results in a requirement to register as a sex offender. Sadly, some inexperienced attorneys are unaware of this until after their client has plead, believing they will not have to register as a sex offender.
Sex offender registration is a total game changer. Because of it, even in cases where there is no criminal conviction, that person must publicly register for life. This seriously impacts all aspects of a person’s personal and professional life. With all this at stake, make sure you have all the knowledge and facts about your options.
Missouri Sex Offender Registration Requirement
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you will need to register with the Missouri sex offender registry, R.S.Mo. 589.400. Sex offender registration is mandatory for people convicted of certain sex crimes and failure to comply with this law can lead to stiff penalties. If you worry that your conviction may require a registration as a Missouri sex offender, contact a St. Louis criminal defense attorney who can discuss your charge and let you know how to remain compliant with the law.
Almost all people who were convicted of sex crimes or crimes against children need to register as a sex offender. Failure to register as a sex offender is a separate crime.