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Columbus Sex Crimes Lawyer

Despite the presumption of innocence that is inherent to our criminal justice system, simply being accused of any kind of sexual offense can have an immediate and wide-ranging impact on the life of an alleged offender. The authorities investigating these alleged crimes often seek to elicit damaging statements from alleged offenders that prosecutors can use to obtain convictions that may send people to prison for several years and force them to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

If you were arrested or if you even think that you could be under investigation for any kind of alleged sex-related offense in Central Ohio, it will be in your best interest to not say anything to authorities until you have legal representation. Even if you know that you are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, any misstatement about or misrecollection of even a seemingly trivial matter could be used against you later on and could ultimately lead to a criminal conviction.

We Are Experienced Ohio Sex Crime Defense Attorneys

Joslyn Law Firm provides aggressive legal defense against all kinds of sexual offense charges for clients throughout the greater Columbus area. Our firm represents alleged offenders in communities throughout Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, Fairfield County, and Union County.

Brian Joslyn is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Columbus who understands the tremendous toll that criminal allegations take on everyday people and how being accused of a sex crime can impact the relationships they have with family, friends, and employers. Our attorney can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (614) 444-1900 or complete an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


Ohio Sex Crime Information Center

  1. Ohio Sex Crime Overview
  2. Definition of Sex Crimes
  3. Common Sex Crime Charges
  4. Sex Crime Defenses
  5. Ohio Penalties for Sex Crime Conviction
  6. Sex Crime Resources
  7. Allegations and Filing Sex Crime Charges
  8. Sex Crime Investigations
  9. Evidence in Sex Crime Cases
  10. The Court Process in Sex Crime Cases
  11. Sex Offender Registration
  12. Sexually Oriented Protection Orders and Victims' Rights in Sex Crime Cases
  13. Child Pornography Sex Crimes
  14. Collateral Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction
  15. Sex Crime Cases with Children
  16. Special Investigators and Prosecutors for Sex Crimes
  17. Related Sex Crime News and Articles

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1. Ohio Sex Crime Overview

Criminal offenses listed under Chapter 2907 of the Ohio Revised Code are considered sex crimes. The sex offenses established under state law typically involve some kind of prohibited sexual conduct.

While many people believe that sexual crimes are usually committed by complete strangers, the alleged offenders in these cases are typically people that the alleged victims knew personally, such as friends, family, or co-workers. Individuals who are convicted of sex offenses often face severe penalties that not only include lengthy terms of incarceration and substantial fines, but also possible requirements to register as sex offenders for several years—or possibly life.


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2. Definition of Sex Crimes

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(A) defines sexual conduct as “vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.”

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(B), sexual contact is defined as “any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.” Sexual activity is defined under Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(C) as sexual conduct or sexual contact, or both.


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3. Common Sex Crime Charges

  • Rape — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 defines rape as engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender or who is the spouse of the alleged offender but is living separate and apart from the alleged offender, when the alleged offender substantially impairs the other person's judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception; the other person is less than 13 years of age, whether or not the alleged offender knows the age of the other person; or the other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the alleged offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.
  • Sexual Battery — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03 generally defines sexual battery as engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender when the alleged offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit by any means that would prevent resistance by a person of ordinary resolution, the alleged offender knows that the other person's ability to appraise the nature of or control the other person's own conduct is substantially impaired, the alleged offender knows that the other person submits because the other person is unaware that the act is being committed, the other person is a minor, or other specific circumstances.
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 defines unlawful sexual conduct with a minor as an alleged offender 18 years of age or older engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender when the alleged offender knows the other person is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, or the alleged offender is reckless in that regard.
  • Sexual Imposition — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.06 defines sexual imposition as having sexual contact with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender, causing another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender to have sexual contact with the alleged offender, or causing two or more other persons to have sexual contact when either the alleged offender knows that either the sexual contact is offensive to the other person or one of the other persons, the other person's or one of the other person's ability to appraise the nature of or control the alleged offender's or touching person's conduct is substantially impaired, the other person or one of the other persons submits because of being unaware of the sexual contact, the other person or one of the other persons is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age and the alleged offender is at least 18 years of age and four or more years older than such other person, or the alleged offender is a mental health professional.
  • Gross Sexual Imposition — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.05 defines gross sexual imposition as either the alleged offender purposely compelling the other person or one of the other persons to submit by force or threat of force, substantially impairing the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception, or knowing that the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the alleged offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the ability to resist or consent of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age. 
  • Child Pornography — Federal law and state law both prohibit the production, transportation, and possession of child pornography. The specific criminal offense an alleged offender may be charged with depends on the specific activity and material involved.
  • Prostitution — State law in Ohio establishes multiple offenses relating to prostitution. Compelling prostitution is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.21, promoting prostitution is established under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.22, procuring prostitution is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.23, and solicitation for prostitution is established under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.23.

Learn more about common sex crime charges.


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4. Sex Crime Defenses

When a person is under investigation or has been arrested for any kind of alleged sexual offense in Ohio, that individual may be able to raise any one of a number of defenses in order to possibly have the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. The facts relating to each specific case are always different, but some of the most common defenses in sex crime cases include without being limited to:

  • False Accusations — Some alleged offenders may be falsely accused of sex crimes by ex-spouses or former partners out of revenge or for other ulterior motives.
  • Lack of Evidence — Prosecutors may be unable to convict alleged offenders for sex crimes when they do not have any or enough physical evidence to prove that a sexual offense was committed.
  • Consent — Alleged victims may claim that sex crimes were committed when they originally consented to sexual conduct with the alleged offenders.
  • Mistaken Identity — In some cases of alleged sex offenses, the alleged victims may misidentify their alleged offenders and cause police to arrest innocent people.
  • Affirmative Defenses — Depending on the specific sex crime a person is accused of, the alleged offender may be able to raise an affirmative defense in which he or she admits to the sexual conduct in question but cannot be charged with a crime because a certain fact negates the criminal charges.

Learn more about sex crime defenses.


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5. Ohio Penalties for Sex Crime Conviction

The possible sentences alleged offenders can receive if convicted of sexual offenses vary depending on the specific crimes they are accused of. Additional factors such as the criminal records of the alleged offenders and the ages of the alleged victims can also impact the severity of the consequences.

Under state law in Ohio, the maximum punishments for each grade of criminal offenses are as follows:

Classification

Term of Incarceration

Fine

Minor Misdemeanor

None

Up to $150

Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 30 days in jail

Up to $250

Third-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 60 days in jail

Up to $500

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 90 days in jail

Up to $750

First-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 180 days in jail

Up to $1,000

Fifth-Degree Felony

Up to 12 months in prison

Up to $2,500

Fourth-Degree Felony

Up to 18 months in prison

Up to $5,000

Third-Degree Felony

Up to 60 months in prison

Up to $10,000

Second-Degree Felony

Up to eight years in prison

Up to $15,000

First-Degree Felony

Up to 11 years in prison

Up to $20,000

Learn more about Ohio sex crime penalties.


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6. Sex Crime Resources

Columbus Police | City of Columbus — The Columbus Division of Police has more than 1,800 officers and 300 civilian employees covering 20 precincts across the greater Columbus Metropolitan area. The mission statement of the police department is, “We are in service with the purpose to protect, with the passion to persevere, and with the utmost pride in our performance.” On this website, you can learn more about the leadership of the Columbus Police, services it provides, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Columbus Division of Police
120 Marconi Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 645-4545

Franklin County Sheriff — The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for Franklin County. On this website, you can find information about some of the office’s programs and services, including the sex offender registry. You can also search for registered sex offenders in your area.

Franklin County Sheriff's Office
373 South High Street, Floor 2B
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 525-3333

Chapter 2907: Sex Offenses | Ohio Revised Code — View the full text of all Ohio statutes relating to sex crimes. The Ohio General Assembly enacts legislation that is published in the Laws of Ohio and codified in the Ohio Revised Code. The nearly 50 statutes contained in this chapter can also be viewed individually by clicking on the specific crime on the right side of the screen.

Learn more about sex crime resources.


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7. Allegations and Filing Sex Crime Charges

The manner in which an alleged victim reports an alleged sexual offense to police can vary depending on who files the report and where it is filed. Authorities will typically conduct their own investigation before any criminal charges are filed.

Learn more about allegations and filing sex crime charges.


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8. Sex Crime Investigations

After an alleged victim has reported an alleged sexual offense, authorities will typically collect any evidence from the scene of the alleged crime and make an effort to speak to the alleged offender. Alleged victims may also submit to rape kit examinations that allow medical professionals to collect other forms of forensic evidence.

When police do speak to alleged offenders, they will often try to conduct an interrogation—including possible use of a polygraph (lie detector) test. Anybody who is being investigated for any kind of alleged sex crime should refuse to make any statement to authorities without legal counsel.

Learn more about sex crime investigations.


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9. Evidence in Sex Crime Cases

Prosecutors need to prove the guilt of alleged offenders beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict them of sexual offenses. In order to accomplish this, a prosecutor will often present various forms of physical evidence that a sex crime was committed.

The most common type of evidence in most sex-related offenses is the testimony of the alleged victim, but authorities will typically seek any kind of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence. Other evidence may include photographs of injuries or witness statements.

Learn more about evidence in sex crime cases.


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10. The Court Process in Sex Crime Cases

After an alleged offender has been arrested for an alleged sexual offense, he or she may have to make multiple court appearances. Some of the steps in these cases generally include:

  • Arraignment — During the alleged offender’s first court appearance, he or she is informed of the criminal charges against him or her and is asked to enter an initial plea. A judge will also determine bail and any accompanying conditions of bail.
  • Pre-Trial Hearings — The alleged offender’s criminal defense lawyer will have the opportunity to file a motion for discovery in order to review all of a prosecutor’s evidence. Both parties may be able to file motions relating to that evidence or other issues, and the criminal defense attorney and prosecutor will generally begin or continue to negotiate a possible plea agreement.
  • Trial — If the prosecutor and defense lawyer cannot reach any kind of plea deal, the judge will typically set a date for trial. At trial, the prosecution and the defense present their cases to a jury that decides whether the alleged offender is guilty of the alleged sex crime.
  • Appeals — If an alleged offender is convicted of a sexual offense, he or she may still be able to file an appeal with a higher court. Criminal appeals must be based on some kind of error in the lower court’s handling of the sex crime case, not mere dissatisfaction with the outcome.

Learn more about the court process in sex crime cases.


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11. Sex Offender Registration

Some people who are convicted of certain sexual offenses are required to register as sex offenders. Sex offenders in Ohio are classified into one of three tiers depending on the sex crimes they are convicted of, and each tier has different registration requirements.

Tier-classification of registered sex offenders in Ohio works as follows:

  • Tier I — Sex offenders are required to register annually (once a year) with the county sheriff for 15 years. 
  • Tier II — Sex offenders are required to register biannually (every 180 days or twice a year) with the county sheriff for 25 years.
  • Tier III — Sex offenders are required to register quarterly (every 90 days or four times a year) with the county sheriff for life.

Learn more about sex offender registration.


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12. Sexually Oriented Protection Orders and Victims' Rights in Sex Crime Cases

Even if an alleged offender is not charged with a sexual offense, an alleged victim can still seek a protection order against that person by filing a petition for a Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order (SOOPO). The SOOPO process is similar to the procedure involved in many domestic violence civil protection orders, but there are some key differences.

The general division of the Common Pleas Court in which the alleged victim lives handles SOOPO petitions as opposed to the court’s domestic relations division, and SOOPOs cannot make any rulings on child custody or order alleged offenders to pay spousal or child support. A SOOPO can still impose several different restrictions on an alleged offender that limit his or her contact or the distance at which he or she can be within the vicinity of the alleged victim.

Learn more about sexually oriented protection orders and victims' rights in sex crime cases.


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13. Child Pornography Sex Crimes

Alleged offenders accused of child pornography offenses in Ohio can face state or federal charges. Prosecutors frequently seek maximum punishments for these offenses, making it critical for any person accused of one of these crimes to immediately seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Learn more about child pornography sex crimes.


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14. Collateral Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction

In the state of Ohio, being convicted of any criminal offense carries many other penalties beyond just possible incarceration and fines. People who are convicted of sex-related crimes not only might have to register as sex offenders, but depending on the severity of the criminal offenses, they may also lose public housing benefits, their rights to possess firearms, and the ability to serve on a jury or hold public office.

Sexual offense convictions can also make individuals ineligible for certain kinds of employment and lead to some people having professional licenses revoked.

Learn more about collateral consequences of a sex crime conviction.


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15. Sex Crime Cases with Children

When the alleged victim of an alleged sexual offense is a minor, prosecutors will aggressively pursue maximum sentences. The possible penalties for a conviction can also be enhanced, depending on the specific crime that an alleged offender has been accused of.

Learn more about sex crime cases with children.


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16. Special Investigators and Prosecutors for Sex Crimes

Law enforcement agencies and prosecutor offices in Ohio often have specialized units that are dedicated specifically to investigating cases of sexual offenses. The units often assist in collecting evidence and helping prosecutors obtain convictions.

Learn more about special investigators and prosecutors for sex crimes.


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17. Related Sex Crime News and Articles

DeWine issues update on sexual assault kit testing — Five years after launching the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative to address rape kits—some of which were decades old—that had never been sent to a DNA lab for testing, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a status update on the initiative’s progress on September 7. According to WMFD-TV, 294 law enforcement agencies had submitted 13,930 kits to be tested as of September 1, 2016, and forensic scientists with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) had completed testing on a total of 11,705 kits that resulted in 4,221 hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). In December 2014, the Ohio legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 316, requiring law enforcement agencies to submit previously untested rape kits connected with open investigations to a crime lab for testing within one year and also requiring any newly collected kits connected with an investigation to be sent to a crime lab for testing within 30 days.

Former Ohio State childcare worker pleads guilty to sexual abuse of boy — The Columbus Dispatch reported on August 23 that a 34-year-old former Ohio State University childcare worker pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery, three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and three counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor after admitting that he sexually abused a child. The man was an 18- or 19-year-old student employee when the abuse began in 2000 or 2001 and he could be sentenced to as many as 44 years in prison. Franklin County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force downloaded child pornography from a computer in a home that the man shared with his brother and Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Rausch told the judge that the images included "homemade pornography" in which the man was seen engaging in oral sex with a young boy whom investigators identified and contacted. She said the videotaped acts took place in the man’s car when the boy was younger than 16, and the abuse at the daycare program took place when the boy was younger than 13.

Prostitution bust nets 68 arrests in Hilltop neighborhood — WSYX-TV reported on July 1 that undercover officers arrested 68 people in a two-day prostitution sting focused on Sullivant Avenue in Columbus. Police told WSYX that “they saturated the area with undercover officers for two days straight after receiving an excessive amount of complaints from citizens, neighborhood groups and 311.” The alleged offenders arrested in the sting included 44 women and 24 men.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Columbus Sex Crime Lawyer

Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested for any kind of alleged sexual offense in Central Ohio? You should contact Joslyn Law Firm as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.

Columbus criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn has been ranked one of the 10 best criminal defense lawyers in Ohio by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys and nominated as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in the country by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Call (614) 444-1900 or submit an online contact form right now to schedule a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options.


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