Jessica’s Law

After a young girl was kidnapped and eventually murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005, Florida set a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years to life for certain sex offenses against children. The statute titled “Jessica’s Law” was named after the victim Jessica Lunsford. Ever since Jessica’s Law was enacted in Florida, 44 states have followed its lead. The state of Utah utilizes Jessica’s Law to protect potential victims of child sexual assault with harsh mandatory minimum sentencing for first time child sex offenders.

A conviction for a child sex crime as a first-time offender comes with potentially life-long penalties. Aside from imprisonment and fines, you could potentially face additional collateral consequences for having a sex crime on record. This includes the inability to obtain a professional license or qualify for a mortgage.  If you have been charged under Jessica’s Law, it is important to obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney in Utah that can aggressively represent you.

Salt Lake City Sex Crimes Attorney | Jessica’s Law in Utah

A child sex crime conviction can follow an individual for several years, if not for a lifetime. Having the proper legal team working towards your freedom and ensuring your future makes all the difference. If you have been charged with a child sex crime as a first-time offender, contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law as soon as possible.

Sex crimes attorney Susanne Gustin represents individuals in Salt Lake and Davis County. She also serves clients in West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, Taylorsville, South Jordan, Layton, Bountiful, Clearfield, Kaysville, and Syracuse. Your first consultation is free of charge, so call (801) 243-2814 today.

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What is Jessica’s Law in Utah?

Jessica’s Law, adopted by Utah in 2008, is a statute designed to assign harsh mandatory minimum sentencing to first time child-sex offenders. It was originally enacted in 2005 after the kidnapping and brutal murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford.  Currently, 40 states have introduced Jessica’s Law modeled after the Florida statute.

Utah Jessica Law mandates minimum sentence of 30 years to life in prison for adults convicted of lascivious acts against a minor. It also requires the defendant to wear electronic tracking devices for a lifetime. Utah “Jessica’s Law” applies to the following three child sex offenses: 

  • Rape of a Child – Utah Code 76-5-402.1
  • Sodomy on a Child – Utah Code 76-5-403.1
  • Object Rape of a Child – Utah Code 76-5-402.3

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Sex Crimes Against Children in UT

Being accused of any type of sex crime is a serious matter in the state of Utah. When the charges involve a minor, the consequences can be even more severe. That is why it’s important to obtain experienced legal representation. According to the Utah criminal code, there are several sex offenses that involve children and minors. Some of the most common sex crimes against children are: 

  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse
  • Rape of a Child
  • Sodomy of a Child
  • Statutory Rape

The following are convictions offenders must register as a sex offender for 10 years following termination of imprisonment:

  • Incest
  • Voyeurism
  • Sexual battery (four convictions for registration)
  • Lewdness (four convictions for registration)
  • Kidnapping
  • Custodial Sexual Relations (only if the victim is underaged)
  • Forcible Sex Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Aggravated Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16- or 17-Year-Old
  • Lewdness Involving a Child
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

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Grievous Sexual Offenses in Utah 

According to Utah Code 76-1-601, several sexual offenses are considered “grievous.” Grievous sexual charges are utilized to calculate if the sex offender will face enhanced penalties for the child sex crime they have been accused of. If during the course of the trial, the trier of fact finds that the individual has been previously convicted of a grievous sexual offense, the penalty may be life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”).

The Utah criminal code constitutes the following sexual offenses as grievous:

  • Rape of a Child – § 76-5-402.1
  • Object Rape – § 76-5-402.2
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child – § 76-5-404.1
  • Object Rape of a Child – § 76-5-402.3
  • Sodomy on a Child – § 76-5-403.1
  • Forcible Sodomy – § 76-5-403(2)
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault – § 76-5-405
  • Rape – § 76-5-402

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Additional Resources for Jessica’s Law 

Utah Department of Corrections: Sex Offender Registry – Visit the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) website to read Utah’s laws regulating registered sex offenders. Click the link to learn about requirements for registering and length of registration for certain offenses. It also lists convictions for which an offender must register for life.

Prevent Child Abuse in Utah – Prevent Child Abuse Utah is an organization founded in 1982. The mission of Prevent Child Abuse Utah is to forge and guide a community commitment to prevent child abuse in all forms through programs, services, public awareness, education, public policy development and system partner collaboration. Click the link to view programs, events, and a resource library.

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Salt Lake City Sex Crimes Lawyers | Jessica’s Law in UT

If you are facing charges for child sex crimes under Utah Jessica’s Law, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. Susanne Gustin has decades of courtroom experience defending clients against a wide array of offenses including sex crimes, theft and property crimes, and violent crimes. She will protect your rights no matter how severe the charges. 

Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law represents and serves clients in Salt Lake City, Midvale, Taylor City, Clearfield, Riverton, Layton, and neighboring areas. Call (801) 243-2814 right now to schedule a free, initial consultation. Criminal defense attorney Susanne Gustin is prepared to defend you.

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