Do not wait until you are arrested for a sex crime. Do not try to talk your way out of it. Do not talk to the police—or to anyone—about your charges. As soon as you are aware of an investigation and impending criminal charges, it is critical that you contact an experienced, knowledgeable sex crimes defense attorney. By retaining a skilled lawyer as soon as possible, you give yourself the best chance at mounting a successful defense. A good criminal defense
attorney will immediately begin interviewing those involved in the incident, considering the use of polygraphs, subpoenaing crucial evidence, and challenging any violations of your rights that may have occurred. These steps, when taken at an early stage, can make the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Do not gamble with your future.
A sex crime conviction will change your life forever. If you are facing prison, sex offender probation, and sex offender registration, hiring an experienced sex crimes lawyer may be the most important decision you make. Not all criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience in defending sex crimes, including:
- Sexual Battery (Rape). Under Florida Statutes § 794.011, a person can be charged with this offense if he or she commits any nonconsensual oral, anal or vaginal penetration of another person using a sexual organ or any other object. The definition does not apply to procedures performed with a medical purpose. Although it is referred to in the law as “sexual battery,” this offense is generally considered to refer to rape, and it can result in a first-degree felony, life felony, or capital felony conviction. This difference depends on the age of the victim, whether the victim had any disabilities, and whether any weapons were used in the commission of the offense.
- Lewd and Lascivious Molestation. Per Florida Statutes § 800.04(5), this crime—sometimes referred to as child molestation—is committed when a person intentionally touches the breasts, genitals, or buttocks of a child younger than 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner. The offense is also committed when a person encourages, forces, or entices a child younger than 16 to touch another person in a lewd or lascivious manner.
- Child Pornography. Florida Statutes § 847.001(3) defines child pornography as any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Possessing, distributing, transmitting, and manufacturing child pornography is all illegal in the state of Florida, and all of these acts are felonies covered by Florida Statutes §§ 847.0135, 847.0138, and 827.071.
- Statutory Rape. The age of consent is the legally recognized age at which an individual is believed capable of making decisions regarding sexual activity. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. Per Florida Statutes § 794.05, a person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with someone who is 16 or 17 years old commits a second-degree felony.
- Traveling to Meet a Minor. Per Florida Statutes § 847.0135, traveling to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child is a second-degree felony. The severity of this offense requires a judge to enforce a 21-month minimum prison sentence. Maximum penalties can include 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation, and $10,000 in fines as well as sex offender registration.
- Indecent Exposure. Florida Statutes § 800.03 makes it unlawful for a person to expose his or her sexual organs in a vulgar or indecent manner while in public, on somebody else’s private premises, or anywhere where the person can be seen from such private premises. This statute also makes it unlawful to be naked in public except in a place that is intended for that purpose. This offense is generally a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. However, a similar offense committed in the presence of a child can lead to felony charges. For example, under Florida Statutes § 800.04(7), if a person 18 years of age or older commits lewd or lascivious exhibition in the presence of a child younger than 16 years of age, the crime is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Under Florida law, persons convicted of qualifying sexual offenses are required to register at their local sheriff’s office once they establish any permanent, temporary, or transient residence. Qualifying offenses include rape, sexual assault, and child molestation. The complete list of registration requirements is found in Florida Statutes §§ 775.21 and 943.0435. Failure to register as a sex offender is a criminal offense, generally classified as a third-degree felony and punishable by 5 years in prison. Under some circumstances, failure to register may even be considered a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison.
- Solicitation of Prostitution. Under Florida Statutes § 796.07(2)(f), a person commits the crime of soliciting prostitution when he or she solicits, induces, entices, or procures another person to make an appointment for sex or to engage in prostitution or lewdness. A first solicitation offense is a first-degree misdemeanor in the state of Florida. A second offense is a third-degree felony.
If you are charged with a sex crime in the state of Florida, you may face severe penalties and consequences. Many sex offenses carry the potential for long imprisonment and registration into a public sex offender database. Even relatively minor sex crimes such as indecent exposure can lead to a jail sentence, sex offender registration, and a derailed future. We have seen the devastation a false sex crime accusation can cause the accused, their families, and their friends. However, with the assistance of an attorney who has the right kind of experience, sensitivity, and skill, you can defend against such accusations and be vindicated.
The Robert Foley Law Firm has successfully defended clients charged with sex offenses that are punishable by life. Our office has expertise in all of the issues that may arise in sex offense cases—from investigating weaknesses in an accuser’s credibility to disputing scientific evidence.
If you are facing false allegations of rape, sexual assault, or any sex crime, you need a fearless, talented, and dedicated attorney. Contact Robert Foley Law in Fort Myers to discuss false accusations, investigations, or charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious conduct, child pornography, traveling to engage a minor in sex, prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, or failure to register as a sex offender.