Getting charged with sex crimes in Florida can have long-term effects on the defendant’s future. Even if the allegations are not proven, social stigma and mistrust from friends, family, neighbors, and employers can ruin a person’s reputation and life.
A sex offense or sexual assault is a crime where the offender intentionally subjects the victim to unwanted sexual contact without their consent. Such crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Florida courts, and penalties include incarceration, probation, and fines. Even after the sentence is complete, offenders feature on the state sex offender registry where their information is made available to anyone looking into their backgrounds.
Seek Consultation with a Lakeland Sex Offense Lawyer
Considering that your freedom and future are at stake, your best bet is to get the allegations dismissed. In place of working with a general criminal defense lawyer, you’d want to contact an attorney who has the expertise and skills in specifically dealing with sex crimes.
There are many possible defenses such as:
- Mistaken identity; the victim mistook you for someone else
- Having an alibi proving that you were present elsewhere
- The consent was given freely
Be careful before accepting a plea bargain. The incident can reflect on your permanent record.
Sex Crimes in Florida
“Sex crime” is an umbrella term that includes several different legal designations, each with a specific definition and resulting penalties. The courts consider several factors when ruling on such crimes, such as the victim’s age, acts of physical violence, the threat of violence, the presence of penetration, or whether the act was incestual. Here are some examples of charges.
Sexual battery is defined as an offense where the defendant had anal, vaginal, or oral contact with the victim without their consent. There are specific rules in place for the following types of sexual battery:
- Victim was below 12 years of age.
- Victim was between 12 and 18 years old.
- Offender is known to the victim or has custody of the child
- Soliciting a minor to engage in sexual activity (unless Romeo and Juliet Law applies)
- Otherwise uncategorized unlawful activity with a minor
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Using a deadly weapon to threaten the victim or force them into sexual activity is aggravated sexual battery. If the offender takes advantage of a victim who is physically or mentally incapable of resisting or consenting, or if the victim is drugged, aggravated sexual battery charges apply.
Lewd & Lascivious Offenses
Florida statutes define several acts as lewd and lascivious offenses such as:
- Exposing genitalia in a vulgar or indecent way
- Exhibiting to a minor
- Exhibiting to an elderly or disabled person
- Encouraging, enticing, or forcing unnatural sexual acts
- Exhibiting over digital devices such as phones or computers
Prostitution and Solicitation
Any kind of prostitution or solicitation of a prostitute is a punishable offense for adults. The charges become more serious if the perpetrator solicits a minor. This includes when the defendant has attempted to solicit the child for sexual conduct over the internet or solicited them indirectly through their parents, legal guardians, or custodians.
Other Sexual Offenses
Sexual offenses of various other categories carry severe penalties, such as child pornography where the defendant knowingly possesses, controls, views, or handles any kind of obscene media depicting a child. Any kind of media including, videos, pictures, and other representations showing a child engaging in sexual conduct are prohibited. Statutory rape is engaging in sexual activity with a child, regardless of whether the adult has perceived any of their actions as consent.
Penalties for Sexual Offenses
Penalties for sex offenses in Florida are some of the harshest in the country. Once convicted, offenders must serve their entire sentence without any chance of probation or gain time where the prison term is reduced. Here are some of the possible punishments.
- 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.
Consult With a Sex Offense Attorney
Sex offenses are highly sensitive and complex, and it is advisable to rely on skilled attorneys experienced in the functioning of the Florida legal system. The lawyers at Smith & Eulo have won several awards and peer recognition for their handling of sexual charges with exceptional tact. Rely on their knowledge and they can help you come out of a difficult situation with your reputation intact.