Utah Sex Crimes
Click here for specific Utah sex crimes.
Definition of a Utah Sex Crime/Sex Offender
There is a specific code section in Utah that set forth crimes for which a conviction results in the defendant being designated as a sex offender, specifically:
(i)a felony or class A misdemeanor violation of enticing a minor;
(ii) sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult,
(iii)a felony violation of unlawful sexual activity with a minor;
(iv) sexual abuse of a minor;
(v) unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old;
(vi) rape of a child;
(viii) object rape;
(ix)Section 76-5-402.3, object rape of a child;(x)a felony violation of forcible sodomy;(xi) sodomy on a child;
(xii) forcible sexual abuse;
(xiii) sexual abuse of a child or aggravated sexual abuse of a child;
(xiv) aggravated sexual assault;
(xv) custodial sexual relations, when the person in custody is younger than 18 years of age.
(xvi) sexual exploitation of a minor;(xvii)Section 76-7-102, incest;
(xviii) lewdness, if the person has been convicted of the offense four or more times;(xix) sexual battery, if the person has been convicted of the offense four or more times;(xx)any combination of convictions of lewdness, and of sexual battery, that total four or more convictions;
(xxi) lewdness involving a child;
(xxii)a felony or class A misdemeanor violation of voyeurism;
(xxiii) aggravated exploitation of prostitution; or
(xxiv)attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit any felony offense listed above.
Witness Credibility in Sex Cases
In determining credibility of a defendant and alleged victim in a sex criminal case, the state gets the benefit of model jury instruction CR 207- Witness Credibility. That jury instruction states that the jury may consider the question, "does the witness have something to gain or lose from the case?" and, "does the witness have a reason to lie or slant the testimony?" These considerations cut against the defendant, since the defendant is facing prison, a felony conviction and mandatory registration on the sex offender registration. As such, a defendant is highly motivation to present evidence favorable to his/her defense and has more to lose than any other witness. As a result, prosecutors argue that the defendant should be accorded the least credibility by the jury. Conversely, prosecutors argue that victims have every reason not to come forward; shame, invasive physical examinations, subjection to cross examinaton. For the foregoing reasons, prosecutors argue that the victim should be accorded the highest credibility when weighing testimony.
Utah Sex Offender Registry Requirements
When a person has been convicted of one of the crimes for which the person is designated as a sex offender, there is a determination of whether and how long the person must register as a sex offender. The duration of the registry is either for a defendant's lifetime requirement or for a period of 10 years after termination of the sentence (after probation has been completed). In limited circumstances, a defendant can petition to be removed from the registry 5 years after termination of his/her sentence.
Lifetime Sex Offender Registration Required
Convictions for the following crimes (including attempt, soliciting or conspiracy) result in a lifetime registration requirement, per UCA 77-41-105(3)(c)(i):
(a) child kidnapping, except if the offender is a natural parent of the victim;
(c) rape of a child;
(d) object rape;
(e) object rape of a child;
(f) sodomy on a child;
(g) aggravated sexual abuse of a child; or
(h) aggravated sexual assault;
(3) a felony violation of enticing a minor over the Internet;
(4) aggravated kidnapping, except if the offender is a natural parent of the victim;
(5) forcible sodomy;
(6) sexual abuse of a child;
(7) sexual exploitation of a minor; or
(8) aggravated exploitation of prostitution
* In addition, a second conviction for any crime listed in the sex offender definition (on this page) not listed above results in a lifetime registration requirement.
* Pursuant to UCA 77-41-105(3)(c)(ii), the registration requirement is not subject to exemptions and may not be terminated or altered during the offender's lifetime.
10 Year Sex Offender Registration Requirement
Pursuant to UCA 77-41-105(3)(a), conviction of any of the following crimes carries a 10 year sex offender registry requirement:
3. Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
4. Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old
5. Forcible Sexual Abuse
7. Lewdness (4 convictions required for registration)
8. Sexual Battery (4 convictions required for registration)
9. Lewdness Involving a Child
10. Aggravated Human Trafficking
11. Custodial Sexual Relations (if victim was under 18 years of age)
12. Sexual Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult
13. Sexual abuse of a minor
14. Attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit any felony offense listed above.
* A second conviction for any of the crimes listed above results in a lifetime registration requirement.
Utah Sex Crime Defenses
Defending sex crimes is challenging and requires the skill and expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Pretrial defenses include motions to suppress and motions in limine seeking to limit the State's introduction of certain evidence. Trial defenses typically fall into the two categories: (1) consent (*note- for some crimes consent is not a defense); (2) denial of sexual activity.
Pretrial motion practice is fundamental to a good defense. Well conceived and executed motions can eliminate some or all of the state's evidence against a defendant. Successful motions practice can result in a dismissal of a case prior to trial or a favorable plea deal as the State's confidence for a conviction is placed in doubt.
Consent: Consent is a good defense in a number of sex crimes, principally ones involving contact between two adults. The defense of consent is rarely proven directly, since had the alleged victim given consent the prosecution would not have brought the charges. Proof of consent (or more specifically, reasonable doubt as to lack of consent) is proven by circumstantial evidence; how the "victim" behaved towards the defendant both before and after the alleged crime, what the victim said to others, and evidence (or lack thereof) of any DNA evidence.
Denial of sexual contact: where there is no DNA evidence and no pretrial statement from the defendant admitting sexual contact, a denial of the contact requires the jury to weigh the credibility of the defendant against the claims of the victim. It would initially appear that determining credibility head to head would present serious difficulties for the state considering its burden of beyond a reasonable doubt, but the state is given some tools and arguments that makes its burden considerable easier, as discussed below.
Removal from Sex Offender Registry in 5 Years
There is a possibility of removal from the sex offender registry within 5 years of the termination of the sentence (the end of probation) under the following conditions:
The offender was convicted of:
(1) Kidnapping, and the conviction is the only conviction for which the offender is required to register;
(2) Unlawful Detention, and the conviction is the only conviction for which the offender is required to register;
(3) Unlawful sexual activity with a minor and, at the time of the offense, was not more than 10 years older than the victim; or
(4) Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old, and at the time of the offense, was not more than 15 years older than the victim;
(b)five years have passed since the completion of the offender's sentence;
(c)the offender has successfully completed all treatment ordered by the court;
(i)the offender has not been convicted of any other crime, excluding traffic offenses, as evidenced by a certificate of eligibility issued by the bureau;
(ii) "Traffic offense" does not include a violation of Title 41, Chapter 6a, Part 5, Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Driving;
(e)the offender has paid all restitution ordered by the court;
(f)the offender has complied with all the registration requirements at all times as required in this chapter, as evidenced by a document obtained by the offender from the Utah Department of Corrections, which confirms compliance; and
(g)the office that prosecuted the offender, and the victim, or if the victim is still a minor, the victim's parent, are notified and provided with an opportunity to respond in accordance with Subsection (3)(a).