Being charged with a sex offense in Florida is an incredibly serious situation. Even if you’ve only been accused of a sex crime, it can have lasting affects on your reputation in your community, career, and personal relationships. It can further complicate your life by making it difficult to get a job, apply for a loan, buy a home, or get an education.
A sexual offense or sexual assault occurs when the offender intentionally subjects a person–the victim–to unwanted sexual contact without consent. These crimes are aggressively prosecuted by Florida courts, and their penalties can include jail time, fines, and probation, as well as having to register as a sex offender on the national registry. This registry will make public your name, address, and criminal history for anyone to see.
What are Florida’s Sex Offense Charges?
When courts are considering whether to charge you with a sex crime, their deliberations will take into consideration the age of the victim, the acts that occurred, threat of violence, penetration, and whether the act was incestual.
Sex offenses largely hinge on consent and if it was freely and willfully given. In Florida Courts, if a victim gave verbal or non-verbal indications that they were not giving consent for a sexual activity, a person can be charged with a sex crime.
It follows that if the victim was a minor, the perpetrator will be automatically charged with a sex crime because minors can’t legally give consent. The types of sex crimes are as follows:
Sexual battery is where the defendant had anal, vaginal, or oral contact with the victim without their consent. There are additionally rules in place for specific circumstances involving the following victims and situations:
- The victim was under 12 or between the ages of 12 and 18
- The offender has custody of the child, or knows them
- The perpetrator solicited the child for sexual activity
Aggravated Sexual Battery
You could be charged with aggravated sexual battery if you committed an act of sexual violence by using a deadly weapon to threaten or force the victim into sexual activity. These charges also apply if the victim was physically or mentally incapable of resisting or consenting, or if the victim is drugged. Additionally, if the defendant was in a position of authority over the victim and forced sexual contact, that is a punishable offense.
Charges of statutory rape are passed down in any occurrence of sexual contact with a minor 12 years or younger. Sexual battery is automatically charged in these cases as well, given that kids legally can’t give consent if they’re under 18. Florida’s Romeo & Juliet law prohibits sexual acts between partners under 14 years of age. If one partner is under 18, their age gap can’t be more than four years.
Lewd and Lascivious Acts
Lewd and lascivious acts in Florida are charged in the following circumstances:
- A perpetrator exposed their genitalia in a vulgar or indecent way to a minor, elder, or disabled person
- An offender molested a victim
- They encouraged, enticed, or forced sexually intimate acts
- Exhibiting over digital devices such as phones or computers
- Lewd and lascivious battery is when the offender engages in sexual activity with a victim aged 12 to 16 years or entices them to engage in sexual contact
- Lewd and lascivious molestation is when the offender intentionally touches the victim’s private body parts such as genitals, breasts, or buttocks, or forces the victim to touch the offender, and the victim is under 16 years of age
- Lewd and lascivious conduct is when the offender touches the victim under 16 years in a sexual manner or forces the victim to touch the offender
- Exhibition occurs when the offender exposes their genitals, masturbates, or engages in any sexual conduct without physically touching the victim
Prostitution and Solicitation
Any kind of prostitution or solicitation of a prostitute is a criminal act for adults. However, this charge is more serious if the propositioned individual is a minor, regardless if the offender made the proposition through the child’s parents, legal guardians, or custodians.
Other sexual offenses include possession of child pornography of any media type.
What are the penalties for sexual offenses?
Penalties for sex offenses in Florida are some of the harshest in the country. These penalties include:
- Sexual battery is a second degree felony and incurs at least 94.5 months and up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines
- Aggravated sexual battery is a first degree felony and incurs a minimum of 94.5 months or as much as 30 years’ prison term, a possible 30 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines
- Aggravated sexual battery on a person between 12 and 18 years of age is a life felony with a minimum of 108 months and up to life in prison
- Sexual battery on a child under 12 years is a life felony with a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of getting parole
- Using a deadly weapon to commit sexual battery is a life felony and incurs 126 months imprisonment on the lower end, and life in prison is possible
- Lewd or lascivious battery incurs a prison sentence ranging from seven to 15 years
- Statutory rape carries a penalty of between five and 17 years in prison
Contact Smith & Eulo for Experienced Sex Offense Defense
You must contact an attorney if you’ve been arrested for a sex crime or you’re suspected of having committed a sex crime. An attorney can help strategize a strong defense to minimize any penalties against you. Their defenses include:
- Pleading innocent
- Mistaken identity; the victim mistook you for someone else
- Having an alibi proving that you were present elsewhere
- The consent was given freely
The team at Smith & Eulo are highly skilled and experienced at defending their clients against a variety of charges. Call us today for a free case review with one of our team members.