Victimless Crimes & Marsy’s Law

Victimless crimes don’t have a black and white definition, but are still a serious concern and in fact, constitute 86% of federal prison population. Some offenses that have been categorized as a victimless crime include: public drunkenness, vagrancy, various sexual acts, obscenity, pornography, drug offenses and gambling to name a few. If you find yourself being charged with a victimless crime, make sure to call an experienced attorney who can help you get through it.

Victimless crimes are harder to detect and prosecute than crimes with victims because they tend to have no complaining parties other than the police because the immediate participants in these crimes do not see themselves as victims, have no desire to complain and would fear criminal liability if the did complain. Additionally, these acts usually take place in private and do not directly victimize any third party and the police, therefore, have to engage in a number of practices that are subject to serious abuse such as surveillance and entrapment or the use of unreliable informants or widespread searches of people, houses, or other nonpublic places for contraband and evidence.

There has been much criticism of the term victimless crimes because it’s extremely subjective as there is no such thing as victimless crime because most so-called victimless crimes do in fact have a victim or at least potential victims such as tax-payers who pay for rehabilitation systems. It also fails to provide an objective standard that could be easily applied to every case, therefore leaving it up to varied interpretations. For example, many people think that prostitution and related crimes are victimless as the business of prostitution does not have a victim.

Instead, it dictates certain morals that people should not be imposing on others and is therefore a choice and there is no harm. However, many people would say there are victims: the victims are the girls/women who are forced to work in the industry. Just as how “hate speech” harms all members of the target group. Regardless of the definition and what you deem is accurate, make sure to contact an experienced attorney who understands the nuances to help you get through it.