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How Are Sex Crimes Handled in the San Fernando Courthouse?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Jun 07, 2022

If you're being charged with a sex crime in the San Fernando courthouse and you have an appearance date – if it's a felony, you'll start in Dept. S, which is on the first floor, first courtroom on the left as you go through the metal detectors.

You will typically enter a not-guilty plea at your first court appearance and put the case in one of the preliminary hearing courts.  As far as how they're handled in that courthouse, they have a special unit of prosecutors that all they do is take sex crimes and domestic violence-related offenses.  They call it the VIP Unit.

And basically, there are about six to eight prosecutors that are dealing with cases similar to yours, so obviously, you want to have an attorney:

  • that's experienced with the San Fernando court, and
  • that knows how to deal with these sex crime prosecutors.

It's an adamant group to deal with.  They specifically likely asked to be involved with prosecuting sex crimes, and they're very tough on sex crimes. Another facet of the San Fernando court that you will have to deal with is the judges.  Unfortunately, especially in today's political climate, sex crime cases are treated very harshly, so you want:

  • a defense attorney who knows the courthouse,
  • who's dealt with the prosecutors,
  • who knows the tendencies of the judges, and
  • knows how to deal with cases similar to yours.

In this article by our California criminal defense lawyers, we will examine this topic in greater detail below.

What Are the Common Sex Crime Charges in California?

  • Penal Code 311 PC – possession of child pornography,
  • Penal Code 647.6 PC – annoying or molesting a child,
  • Penal Code 220 PC – assault with intent to commit felony,
    Penal Code 647(J)(4) PC – revenge porn
  • Penal Code 243.4 PC – sexual battery,
  • Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with a minor,
  • Penal Code 288a PC – oral copulation with a minor,
  • Penal Code 290 PC – failing to register as a sex offender,
  • Penal Code 314 PC – indecent exposure,
  • Penal Code 261 PC – rape,
  • Penal Code 264.1 PC – gang rape,
  • Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
  • Penal Code 266h and 266i PC – pimping and pandering,
  • Penal Code 269 PC – aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
  • Penal Code 288.4 PC – arrange a meeting with a minor,
  • Penal Code 288.3 PC – contact minor to commit a felony,
  • Penal Code 288.2 PC – send harmful material to a minor,
  • Penal Code 288.5 PC – continuous sexual abuse of a child,
  • Penal Code 647(a) PC – lewd conduct in a public place,
  • Penal Code 647(b) PC – solicitation of prostitution,
  • Penal Code 647(J)(4) PC – revenge porn,
  • Penal Code 653.22 PC – loitering for the purpose of prostitution,
  • Penal Code 653.23 PC – supervise or aid prostitution.

Reviewing the Sex Crime Evidence to Determine Strategy

It's terrifying when you're charged with a sex crime and considering how you will deal with the situation. You'll want to find somebody you think is one of California's best sex crime defense attorneys.

Best Sex Crime Defense Attorney in California

What I have you do is we sit down in my office and talk about the case you're charged with.  Specifically, what the charges are, what evidence the prosecutor has, and we decide whether we're going to fight the case.

Are we going to do a preliminary hearing and try to challenge the prosecutor's evidence, or is it the type of evidence where they've got good evidence, and we need to try to work out some resolution through putting together a mitigation package?

So, the courthouse is fair.  The prosecutors are tough but fair, and I would say the same of the judges.  They're tough, but they're fair.

So, you've got to make sure that you've got an attorney who has experience dealing with the local politics of the San Fernando court, knows how to handle cases just like yours, and obviously, is not afraid to fight a case.

What About Sex Offender Registration?

We will have to assess whether or not you're facing sex registration.  If so, for how long under the new three-tier system? Is it possible to get you a charge that does not include sex registration?

I can tell you that having handled sex crimes for nearly three decades, probably around 95% of the sex crimes, you will be required to register as a sex offender.

There are some sex-related crimes that you don't have to register as a sex offender, so that becomes critical if you have a sex case where you have a chance to avoid sex registration. Then you've got to review the three-tier system, where there are some sex crimes where:

  • you must register for ten years (Tier 1); or
  • you have to register for 20 years (Tier 2); and
  • there are some severe sex offenses where you have to register with your local law enforcement agency for the rest of your life (Tier 3).

How Can You Fight Sexual-Related Allegations?

Even if they have a strong case against you, your defense attorney will need to look at angles to negotiate a better resolution, like filing potential motions and maybe damaging the prosecutor's case.  If the prosecutors feel like their case is airtight, they're not likely to give you an offer that you will want to accept.

San Fernando, California

So, it is a strategy in dealing with the San Fernando courthouse, and obviously, you want an attorney who has practiced there and knows how to handle cases there.

The Hedding Law Firm has been a presence there for approximately 30 years.  When I started practicing, I started working for the District Attorney's office in East Los Angeles, and then I worked for a superior court judge in Burbank. Then, in 1994, I started doing criminal defense and defending people just like you in the San Fernando courthouse.

I remember the big earthquake hit, and they had to move all of the cases out to the other buildings, and then they eventually built the court back so people could go into it, and I've been practicing there ever since.

So, I have a lot of experience there – a lot of success there.  You've come to the right place if you want the best in the San Fernando courthouse related to sex crimes.  I've defended thousands of cases there.  Pick up the phone now and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We offer a free case review by telephone or by filling out the contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.