If you or a loved one is facing legal charges for sex crimes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you’ll want to understand the complexities of the state’s laws right away. Sex offenses can range widely in severity depending on what specific charges the crimes carry. However, you should understand that sex offenses and rape charges are very serious crimes in Florida, and consulting a reputable sex crime defender is your best course of action.
Sex offenses can affect your future by impacting your ability to buy a home and build a career as well as educational opportunities, your relationships and reputation. A sexual offense conviction can follow you throughout the rest of your life, impacting your wellbeing.
In South Florida, sex offense charges can come with a variety of punishments. If you or someone you know is facing sex offense or rape charges in the Fort Lauderdale area, get in touch with our criminal defense attorneys immediately. We offer free consultations for your case.
Sex Offense Charges in Fort Lauderdale
Depending on the severity of the sex crime, Florida courts may charge you with any number of sex offense charges. When determining your charges and punishment, your judge will consider the following details of your case: whether penetration occurred, whether use or threat of force was used, age of victim, past criminal history, and other factors.
One of the biggest details that will affect the outcome of your case is whether consent was given freely and willfully. By Florida statute, if a person made it explicitly clear through verbal or non-verbal communication that you were not given consent for a sexual act, sexual offense charges can be filed.
And, if the act in question involved a minor, the defendant will be charged with a sexual offense because, by law, minors cannot give legal consent. These are details to keep in mind when navigating your legal case.
Different Sex Crimes
Statutory rape occurs in any situation where a sexual act occurs with a minor 12 years old or younger. If one of the parties in a sexual offense case is under the age of 18, the difference in ages cannot be more than four years. Sexually battery is an automatic charge in these cases as minors can’t legally consent to sex.
When the defendant performed vaginal, oral, or anal sexual acts with a victim without their consent, sexual battery has been committed.
Sexual battery is included as a charge in Statutory Rape cases in Florida when the following occurs:
- The defendant solicited a minor for sexual acts
- The victim in the case was under the age of 18
- The offender knows or has custody over the minor
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Aggravated sexual battery charges following normal sexual battery charges, but involves one major difference: the sexual act is carried out via the use of a deadly weapon to intimidate or threaten the victim into the sexual act.
Aggravated sexual battery can also be charged when the victim has been drugged or is mentally or physically impaired or unable to consent to said sexual acts. This charge can also apply in situations where the offender is in a position of power over the victim.
Lewd and Lascivious Acts
Lewd and lascivious acts are defined in Florida by the following sexual acts:
- Indecent or vulgar exposure of genitalia to a minor, elder, or disabled individual
- Molestation of any kind
- Forcing, encouraging, or enticing sexual activity
- Sexual exhibition via digital devices like phones, computers, etc. where the offender exposes genitalia, masturbates, or performs sexual conduct
- Lewd and lascivious battery: the offender performs sexual acts or forces or entices sexual contact with a victim between 12 and 16 years old
- Lewd and lascivious molestation: the accused intentionally touches the victims body parts or forces them to touch theirs, and the victim is under 16
- Lewd and lascivious conduct: the accused touches the victim in a sexual way or forces the victim touch them sexually, and the victim is under 16
Prostitution and Solicitation
Solicitation is defined as the offering of one’s prostitution services or offering someone else’s prostitution services.
Prostitution occurs when engaging in a sexual activity in exchange for payment. If an individual is underage, charges can become more severe.
Child phonography charges can be issued if one party is in possession of child pornography of any kind.
Sexual Offense Punishments in Fort Lauderdale
Florida is among the states with the harshest punishments for sex offense crimes in the United States. The penalties for sex crimes include:
- Sexual battery: 2nd degree felony with 94.5 months to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines
- Sexual battery on a child under 12: life felony and a life prison sentence with no option of parole
- Sexual Battery with use of deadly weapon: life felony, and 126 months to a full life sentence in prison
- Aggravated sexual battery: first degree felony with 94.5 months to 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines
- Aggravated sexual battery on a person between 12 and 18 years old: life felony, 108 months to a life sentence in prison
- Lewd or lascivious battery: 7 to 15 years in prison
- Statutory rape: 5 to 17 years in prison
What to Do If You’re Convicted of a Sex Crime in Florida
If you’re in a situation where you’re facing sex offense charges in Fort Lauderdale or anywhere in Florida, your punishment may be severe: including thousands of dollars in fines, and up to a life sentence in prison.
In addition to the penalties laid out above, you may be labeled a sexual offender or sexual predator depending on the charges you face and the outcome of your case. In this scenario, you are added to the Florida state database of sexual offenders in addition to whatever other punishment you may be facing from your sentencing. This distinction comes with extremely strict rules that you must follow at all times to avoid harsher punishments.
How Do I Know If I Will Be Considered A Sexual Offender?
You may be considered a sexual offender if you’ve committed any of the following crimes:
- lewd and lascivious acts with a minor
- sexual performance with a minor
- child pornography possession
- child prostitution
Who Is Considered a Sexual Predator?
In Florida, sexual predator status is a very serious label that should not be taken lightly. Sexual predators are considered sex offenders with multiple offenses. The status occurs when the offender is convicted of a first degree sexual felony or two second degree felonies.
Consult an Experienced Sex Offense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
If you’re facing sex offense charges, contacting a trusted, local attorney is your best course of action. A great legal team will help you navigate the legal situation, and will make you feel well represented to get you the best possible outcome.
The sex offense legal experts at Smith & Eulo have years of experience defending sexual offense cases through Fort Lauderdale. Get in touch with our team to help create the best possible defense for your case.
Contact us for a free consultation today, we also offer payment plans.
In addition to our Fort Lauderdale location, we also have offices in:
- Daytona Beach
- Fort Myers
Here are additional legal resources in the Fort Lauderdale area.