When is Sodomy a Crime?

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Depending on the state in which you live, sodomy may or may not be codified as a crime. For the most part, it is difficult for sexual activity to come to the awareness of law enforcement if it takes place in the privacy of your own home. Even if your state has a sodomy code still on the books, it is likely invalid due to the Supreme Court's holding in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated a sodomy code criminalizing consensual sex between same sex partners.

Sodomy and the Criminal Code

The precise definition of sodomy can vary drastically depending on who you ask. The criminal code in many states uses the term sodomy without much definition. Some jurisdictions will include oral sexual acts, anal sexual acts, bestiality or any sexual act the court deems unnatural.

States that may currently still have criminal statutes that exist for individuals guilty of sodomy or unnatural sexual acts include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

In several states, sodomy statutes have been found to be unconstitutional. Because of the Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, most of these statutes will likely not stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

Many sodomy statutes are extremely old and really do not make sense considering the current activities of regular citizens. Many other states have repealed previous sodomy statutes since they have become so outdated.

One way that you may still be charged with a sexual crime for sodomy is if you expose yourself in public or do sexual acts in public with the intent or knowledge that other people see you. This can result in public exposure or other sexual charges. Such sexual charges can result in serious penalties including jail time, fines and mandated sexual offender registration. Because of the impact these charges or a conviction can have on your future, it is wise to seek wise legal counsel if you find yourself in such a situation.

Getting Legal Advice

A lawyer knowledgeable about local criminal statutes can assist you if you are concerned about sexual conduct charges. Hiring an experienced attorney to help you resolve your case could mean the difference between your continued freedom to live your life and a life filled with embarrassment and pain. A lawyer can explain your rights and help you prepare your case for trial.

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