Being found guilty of a sex crime is serious. Whether it's a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction can result in years in prison and hefty fines. Under Iowa's sexual predatory offenses law, if you're accused of a subsequent offense, you can face enhanced penalties upon a conviction. In some cases, the sentence is doubled; in others, it's increased to life without the possibility of parole.
What Are Sexually Predatory Offenses?
The penalty enhancements discussed above apply to repeat offenders of sexual predatory offenses and sexually violent offenses.
In Iowa, a sexually predatory offense includes:
- Sexual abuse, including lascivious acts with a child, indecent exposure, and indecent contact with a child;
- Sexual exploitation of a minor;
- Enticing a minor; and
- Pandering involving a minor
Sexually violent offenses include murder, kidnapping, burglary, and child endangerment during which the alleged offender committed, attempted to commit, or intended to commit sexual abuse.
The penalty enhancement law concerns the sex crimes listed above that are charged as serious misdemeanors, aggravated misdemeanors, or felonies.
What Are the Increased Sentences for Repeat Offenders?
The sentence enhancements the court can impose upon you should you be convicted of a subsequent sex crime depend on the level of offense you're currently charged with.
For serious or aggravated misdemeanor convictions:
- If you have one prior sexually predatory offense conviction, you must serve double the maximum sentence for the underlying offense. For instance, an aggravated misdemeanor has a maximum jail term of 2 years. Upon conviction, you would be required to serve a 4-year sentence.
- If you have two or more prior sexually predatory offense convictions, you must serve a 10-year sentence. Thus, if the current offense is an aggravated misdemeanor, the court will sentence you to 5 times the maximum of a first offense conviction.
For felony convictions:
- If you have one prior sexually predatory offense conviction, the court will sentence you to a term of incarceration that's twice the maximum for the underlying offense or to a prison term of 25 years, whichever is greater.
- If you have two or more convictions for felony-level sexually predatory offenses, the court will sentence you to life in prison.
For sexual abuse offenses committed on a child under 12 years of age:
- If you were previously convicted of sexual abuse on a person younger than 12, the court will sentence you to life in prison upon a second conviction
Under the law, if you are a repeat offender, the court cannot defer judgment, defer your sentence, or suspend your sentence. The court may also subject you to an additional two years of parole or work release.
The most effective way to avoid the harsh consequences of sex crimes is to aggressively fight your charge. At Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger, our Iowa City attorneys provide effective defense and will seek an optimal result on your behalf.
Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (319) 499-5524 or contacting us online.