William Gibbons, a 48-year-old Level 3 sex offender, was arrested Wednesday afternoon when Transit police allegedly saw him publicly urinating on a Downtown Crossing platform. He was charged with indecent exposure and failing to register as a sex offender. Transit police were notified around 4:45 p.m. that a man had exposed himself, the Boston Globe reported. It’s alleged that Gibbons was still urinating when police found him. After he was arrested, police learned that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failure to register.
First, this story shows the importance of hiring a criminal defense lawyer when charged with a sex crime. Sex offense convictions will continue to haunt you, especially where you could be classified as a Level 3 sex offender. A Level 3 designation arises where the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) determines that the risk of re-offense is high and that the person poses a danger to the public.
A second point involves the advantages of hiring a good lawyer once you have been charged with failure to register. Under General Laws c. 6, Section 178H(a), a prosecutor has to prove that a defendant knowingly failed to register. An experienced defense attorney can make that knowledge element difficult to prove. Even where the knowledge was available to the defendant, the prosecutor cannot meet his/her burden unless it is proven the defendant consciously disregarded the information necessary to provide him/her with the requisite knowledge. So, for example, if the SORB didn’t mail Gibbons a notification, he might not be guilty of this crime even if notifications were published in multiple newspapers. This is just one example of the many ways a criminal lawyer can fight your failure to register charge.
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