Sex crimes are punished harshly in Florida. Often, people who are convicted face time in prison, fines, and a requirement that they register as sex offenders. They also face the social stigma associated with sex crimes, and they may have trouble securing a job, schooling, or housing. Sex crimes include Internet sex crimes, rape, statutory rape, lewd and lascivious crimes, and prostitution, among others. At Hanlon Law, serving people in the Clearwater area, sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon is committed to protecting the rights of the accused. He provides a strong, thorough defense to our clients.Internet Sex Crimes
The Internet is often used to commit sex crimes. Some Internet sex crimes include possession of child pornography, transmission of child pornography, soliciting a minor, chat room luring, obscenity, and child exploitation. Each crime has its own proof requirement, but what is common among them is that the elements need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard. Solicitation of a minor, for example, occurs if you are over the age of 18, and you lure, encourage, or entice a minor to be involved in a sexual act via a computer networking system. You should be aware that the crime is complete if the enticement is completed, even if there has been no actual meet-up. However, if you travel at all to meet a minor with the intent to have sexual activity, this is a second-degree felony that can be punished with a maximum of 15 years in prison.Rape or Sexual Battery
Under Florida Statute section 794.011, rape or sexual battery occurs if the defendant has non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral contact with somebody else, using either a sex organ or an object. Rape is a second-degree felony. The punishment for a rape conviction depends on the defendant's age, the victim's age, and whether there are any aggravating circumstances. Unless there is a basis for a downward departure, judges must sentence a defendant convicted of sexual battery to at least 94½ months in prison and can also impose 15 years’ imprisonment, 15 years of sex offender probation, and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. People convicted of sexual battery are not allowed to petition to be relieved from a federal or state requirement to register as a sex offender. A knowledgeable Clearwater sex crime attorney can help you try to avert or minimize these penalties.Statutory Rape
Statutory rape, which is a charge involving sex with a minor, is somewhat complicated. It is never legal to have sex with a child who is 15 or younger, since children are considered incapable of consent. Even if someone between the ages of 12 and 16 verbally consents, it is statutory rape, also known as lewd and lascivious battery with a minor. You can also be charged with lewd and lascivious battery if you have encouraged someone under age 16 to be involved with sexual activity, such as prostitution or sadomasochistic abuse. If lewd or lascivious battery is proven, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. If you are 18 or older and commit statutory rape, and you have certain prior convictions, you may be facing first-degree felony charges, which should be handled with the assistance of a knowledgeable Clearwater criminal attorney.Lewd and Lascivious Crimes
Lewd and lascivious crimes are sex crimes involving a victim who was younger than 16. One such crime is statutory rape or sexual battery. Others are lewd and lascivious molestation, lewd and lascivious conduct, and lewd and lascivious exhibition. These are very serious charges, and you should be aware that you cannot defend yourself on the basis that you were ignorant of the victim’s age. If you are a parent of a child accused of lewd and lascivious acts against another child, your child's age is also not a defense. However, a sex crime attorney in Clearwater can advise you on other strategies that may apply to your case.Sex Offender Registration
People who have been convicted of certain sex crimes in Florida or other jurisdictions may be required to register as sex offenders. You are supposed to report at a sheriff's office to register if you have been released from prison or convicted for a qualifying offense when you were not in prison or jailed, or if you were convicted elsewhere, after you have established Florida residence. Some of the sex crimes that result in a registration requirement include rape, kidnapping of a minor, prohibited sexual misconduct, human trafficking, unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, procuring minors for prostitution, sexual performance by a child, computer pornography, child pornography transmission, racketeering that involves a sex crime, and selling or buying underage minors. Additionally, sexual predators must register as sex offenders.Prostitution
Prostitution is sometimes called the world's oldest profession, but it is prohibited under Florida Statute section 796.07. Generally, prostitution involves giving or receiving a person’s body for sexual activity for hire. You can be charged with a prostitution crime in multiple ways, including by purchasing someone for sexual activities, owning a brothel, offering someone for prostitution or another lewd or indecent act, offering or agreeing that prostitution can occur in your building or structure, transporting someone while knowing or reasonably believing that the reason to take them is prostitution, offering to commit prostitution, soliciting someone to commit lewdness or prostitution, or helping any of these prostitution activities to occur.Injunctions Against Sexual Violence
People who believe that they are victims of sexual violence may file for an injunction for protection that prohibits the alleged perpetrator of the violence from coming within 500 feet of them or contacting them. Under Florida Statute section 784.046, sexual violence can include sexual battery or rape, lewd or lascivious acts against minors under age 16, luring a child, sexual performance by a child, or other forcible felonies. It can be important for a Clearwater sex crime lawyer to help you fight an injunction, even if you plan to stay away from someone who has accused you of a sex crime, since further criminal charges can be based on a violation of a protection order. This matters, for example, if you share a child or go to school or work with the victim, and the order mandates that you keep a certain distance that is not feasible.Consult a Tenacious Sex Crime Attorney in Clearwater
It can be devastating to be accused of a sex crime. Although these cases can be more challenging than some other charges to defend because consent may not always be a defense, there are often strong strategies available. For example, the alleged victim may not be credible, or you may have been entrapped. There may be constitutional violations that can allow us to file a motion to suppress evidence, thereby undermining the prosecution's case. If you are charged with a sex offense in Clearwater, you should consult us. Our founder, Clearwater criminal attorney Will Hanlon, has more than two decades of experience defending sex charges. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form for an appointment.
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