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There might be no end to being a fugitive from justice

If you've been accused of a sex crime, it often seems as if the accusation itself can destroy your life. It certainly has a profoundly negative effect on your reputation, which can follow you wherever you go. A conviction is worse, of course. Depending on whether you are charged in state or federal court, a conviction means years behind bars and, in most cases, lifetime registration as a sex offender.

In some circumstances, these cases can have very serious repercussions without incarceration and registration. Consider the case of Hollywood director Roman Polanski.

The French-Polish director, producer and performer is currently 83 years old and has lived abroad as a fugitive from justice for the past 40 years. In 1977, Polanski pled guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but he fled before he could be sentenced. He has accused the sentencing judge of reneging on certain promises, and he has accused other judges of misconduct over the years.

Polanski recently petitioned a Los Angeles judge to allow him to return to the U.S. and face the music -- with a promise that he would serve no further prison time. That petition was denied, along with other requests. According to Polanski's lawyer, the alleged judicial misconduct was not addressed.

Until Polanski resolves his criminal troubles he can't return to the United States, where he had once hoped to resume his Hollywood career. The ongoing legal battle has also kept the events of 1977 fresh in the minds of the public -- and of potential employers.

Hopefully, you know that becoming a fugitive is extremely inadvisable. With a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can almost always resolve criminal charges more effectively by showing up to face them.

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Edward R. La Rue
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