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Federal Sex Crimes

Michigan state and federal law prohibit specific sex-related crimes such as child pornography, human trafficking, and sexual assault. If an individual is charged with a federal sex crime, he or she can be tried in both state court and federal court.

Jail time, fines, and registering as a sex offender aren’t the only penalties for federal sex crimes. Many sex offenders will be court-ordered to complete some treatment program. Sex offender treatment and management programs involve psychological evaluations and education about the risks of reoffending. Judges will typically order defendants to complete a certain number of hours in these programs. The number of hours ordered is usually based on the offense’s severity. The defendant will need to pay to take these courses, and as expected, the course cost will increase if the defendant is ordered to complete extra hours.

Michigan Federal Sex Crimes Attorney

Sex crime accusations carry a stigma for life. Being wrongly accused of such a horrific crime can put your future, family and freedom at stake. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a federal sex crime, it is crucial you have experienced representation to guide you through this ordeal as soon as possible. J. Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C. is prepared to be a strong advocate for your case. He will work hard to obtain a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Call Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Bloomfield Hills, Warren, Sterling Heights, Roseville, Easpointe, Utica, St. Clair Shores, Troy, Pontiac, Rochester Hills, Waterford Township, Southfield, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield Township, Clarkston, and Novi.

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Types Of Federal Sex Crimes

Child Pornography

With the advent of the internet, child pornography has increasingly become an issue of interstate and international concern. When images and videos of child abuse are sent to different states or uploaded for people in other states to see, it becomes a federal issue. Possessing, receiving, marketing, advertising, selling, or sharing child pornography can lead to a federal investigation. This serious felony can carry a prison sentence of several years, even decades. Because a charge can be issued for each image and video, the sentences can stack up. There can also be multiple distribution charges if the same image is transmitted to several people. If a defendant is convicted of federal sex crimes against children, they can expect a rough time in prison. If they are released, it will be almost impossible to find employment, housing, and other basics of life.

Human Trafficking

Transporting an adult or child across state lines for sex purposes is trafficking, which is a serious crime. Trafficking also involves drugs and involuntary human labor, but sex trafficking is a huge issue impacting our country and the world. It is such a huge problem that it often goes on before our eyes without triggering suspicions. You can find the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s list of indicators of possible human trafficking here. You can report suspected human trafficking by calling 1-866-347-2423. Defendants convicted of human trafficking can expect severe penalties on a federal level due to the vast scale of victims and damage that sex trafficking causes.


Kidnapping isn’t a sexual offense but is often a crime committed in the commission of a sexual offense. Kidnapping is the nonconsensual abduction of a person from one place to another. If the perpetrator were to take control of a victim by force but keep them in the same place, the crime would not be kidnapping but involuntary confinement. In other words, asportation needs to occur for the crime of kidnapping to be committed. Someone can commit kidnapping without it becoming a federal issue if they remain within state lines. However, federal investigators may need to be involved in an in-state kidnapping if there is a substantial risk of the victim being taken out of the state.

Solicitation Across State Lines

Solicitation of a minor or an adult is a criminal offense. It becomes a federal crime if it occurs across state lines. Solicitation is seeking or requesting a criminal act, usually prostitution or sex with a minor. Even if the act doesn’t occur, it can be prosecuted as a crime if the attempt can be proven. With the internet and proximity of states to one another, solicitation could occur across state lines without the defendant even realizing it. But interstate intent isn’t required for prosecution by the federal government, and thus the defendant can serve time in federal prison for the offense.

Transporting A Minor Across State Lines For Sex

Some states define the term “minor” differently, and legally adept sex offenders may try to take advantage of this fact. However, this act could also trigger a federal investigation. Even an attempt at the act is a crime. Minors don’t have the same capacity for consent as adults. It isn’t in a child’s best interests to be taken away from their family, friends, school, and community by an adult for sex.

Sexual Assault

A variety of sexual offenses are considered crimes under federal law. One such law, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 109A, criminalizes sexual abuse. The crimes defined in Chapter 109A include sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, sexual abuse resulting in death, and sexual abuse of a minor, ward, or an individual in federal custody. The law makes a wide variety of sexually deviant behaviors federal offenses. Chapter 109A also includes provisions for repeat offenders and mandatory restitution.

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Sex Crimes Against Children

Almost all sex crimes against children are potentially charged as federal offenses. The government has a strong interest in prosecuting and keeping tabs on people who sexually abuse children. It is widely understood that rape and sexual assault are psychologically damaging. It can create trauma and stunt development when the victim is a child. Anything that can be charged as a sex crime as an adult carries a charge when committed against a child. Children can’t consent to sexual acts with adults. That means there is no such thing as a consensual sex act between a child and an adult, and every sex act between a child and an adult is a crime.

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Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

After being convicted of a sex crime, the defendant will usually be required to register with a national database as a sex offender. Failure to register and comply with the rest of the sex offender registry requirements is a federal crime that is severe enough to be punishable by prison time. Someone who fails to register as a convicted sex offender could even lose access to their passport and, therefore, their ability to travel outside the country.

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What It Means To Be A Federal Felony Sex Offender

Being convicted of a federal sex crime usually means the defendant has become a felon. Most people know that convicts serving sentences for crimes against women and children, especially sex crimes against children, have a rough time in prison. Federal prisons aren’t known for their comfortable living conditions, to begin with. A sex offender can usually expect quite a lengthy sentence. Many sex offenders end up isolated for their protection, which can make prison even scarier and more dehumanizing.

Most sex offenders convicted at the federal level will be required to register as sex offenders. States have laws regarding how close a sex offender can live to schools, daycare centers, public parks, and other places. Most sex offenders will struggle to be approved on applications for apartments, jobs, educational and volunteer opportunities, and more. The same can be said for felons, but it will be to an additional degree with the sex offender designation. Felons also lose several civil rights, like the right to vote, the right to run for public office, and the right to purchase and possess a firearm.

It should be noted that most federal sex crimes are also illegal under state laws. Prosecution by the federal government for a crime doesn’t preclude prosecution by the state for that same crime. The Supreme Court has upheld that this doesn’t amount to “double jeopardy.” That means a defendant could be convicted of a sex crime by a state or federal court and face prosecution again by the other jurisdiction. It also doesn’t preclude civil court action by the victim.

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Sexual Offender Registry Tiers And Time Requirements

The Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA, was passed in 2006. It strengthened reporting requirements for convicted sexual offenders across the country. Before its passage, there were some loopholes that sex offenders could use to avoid registration and its negative consequences. SORNA’s provisions make it easier for local and federal authorities to access a sexual offender’s information, such as name, past offenses, and current and past locations. It is a federal crime to fail to comply with the sex offender reporting requirements set forth by SORNA.

Someone can be required to register as a sex offender for a wide range of crimes; because they went to the bathroom in public or because they molested several children and distributed child pornography. There is a considerable difference in severity between these two offenses, so it isn’t entirely fair for both convicts to register under the same term of “sex offender.” That’s why there are three different tiers of sex offenders for registry requirements. Unlike some criminal designations, Tier I is the least serious (while still very serious), and Tier III is the most serious. A Tier I sex offender must maintain a current registration for 15 years. A Tier II sex offender must maintain a current registration for 25 years. A Tier III sex offender must maintain an active registration for life. Missing these continuous registration deadlines can have serious consequences, including prison time.

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Financial Ramifications Of A Federal Sex Crime Conviction

Finances may be the least of someone’s concerns when up against sex crime allegations. Not only is there significant prison time at risk, but sex crime allegations could permanently destroy relationships with friends and family members. Being accused or convicted of a federal sex crime could also have long-term negative career implications, which is an indirect financial ramification. As mentioned above, the offender will also need to complete a treatment and management program at their own expense. But one of the main concerns of a sex crime conviction is prison time, which can have a generational negative financial impact.

Someone serving several years, if not decades, in prison for a federal sex offense isn’t out in the world working and financially supporting their family. Their family could also spend considerable amounts on a loved one’s prison commissary, phone calls, and more. Even if the family doesn’t provide this type of financial support during the defendant’s prison sentence, a federal sex offense conviction will undoubtedly harm the family’s finances for life.

While hardly the most severe aspect of a sex crimes conviction, fines are imposed upon defendants convicted of all sex offenses. Because federal sex offenses are serious, their fines will usually be several thousand dollars. But these are just the fines owed to the government. There may also be court costs and other expenses imposed on the defendant to pay for the costs of their prosecution. These costs are in addition to a potential judgment that could be issued in a civil suit resulting from the same crime. The victim or the victim’s family can bring a civil lawsuit against the defendant for a monetary judgment. If the defendant is released from prison, they will likely spend the rest of their life in debt due to all these costs. However, it is entirely up to the victim or the victim’s family to bring a civil suit. Some offenses come with mandatory restitution, which is paid to the victim, but this isn’t an automatic part of the conviction.

A defendant who wants legal representation for these matters may need to pay out of pocket. While the court will appoint an attorney for financially indigent defendants, defendants of certain financial means may be required to reimburse the costs of their legal representation. On the other hand, the cost of a private criminal defense attorney can be substantial but can save the defendant more money than they spend in the long term. Civil defense attorneys require retainer payments, unlike many civil plaintiff’s attorneys, who will charge on a contingency basis.

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Additional Resources

Indicators of Human Trafficking | United States Department of Homeland Security – Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s page for a list of signs that observers should be wary of to detect potential human trafficking.

18 U.S.C. Chapter 109A | Office of the Law Revision Counsel – Visit this link to find the federal statute regarding various sexual abuse offenses, including aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, and sexual abuse of a minor.

Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act (SORNA) | United States Department of Justice – Visit the DOJ’s page regarding the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 for more information regarding failure to register, the purposes of the act, and more.

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Bloomfield Hills Federal Sex Crimes Lawyer | Oakland County, MI

If you have been arrested for a federal sex crime, it is crucial that you seek the experienced legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The potential consequences of a federal sex crimes conviction include not only incarceration in federal prison and substantial fines, but possible sex offender registration as well. You need a skilled federal criminal lawyer who knows how to fight and negotiate with the prosecutor. To secure the legal representation of J. Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C., call (248) 283-7000.

J.Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C. is an attorney that specializes in criminal defense and has extensive experience defending clients against sex crimes and other charges at the federal level. Dallo Law, P.C. is located in Bloomfield Hills, but we accept clients throughout Oakland County and Macomb County, Michigan.

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