Crimes involving sex can result in severe legal consequences. A sex conviction can lead to expensive fines, probation and possible incarceration. The issues, however, don’t end when you’re released from prison. If the court finds you guilty you could have issues gaining employment, housing or in your personal life.
A sex crime conviction carries both serious penalties and a negative stigma. If you’re registered as a sex offender, this stigma may follow you for years. You may have your credentials entered into a sex offender registry. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to notify your neighbors that you’re a registered sex offender.
Attorney for Sex Crimes in St. Petersburg, Florida
If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, it’s important that you act now. Florida aggressively prosecutes sex offenses to the full extent of the law. You could face steep fines and possible prison time. Don’t speak to any law enforcement and contact the attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A..
The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. have the skills you need for your case. Our attorneys will file motions, collect evidence and do whatever possible to help win your case. We represent clients with any kind of sexual offense including:
- Sexual battery;
- Child pornography;
- Soliciting for prostitution;
- Engaging in prostitution;
- Lewd and lascivious offenses;
- Sexual misconduct;
- Child pornography;
- Giving obscene material to a minor;
- Transmission of child pornography by an electronic device;
- Soliciting a child for unlawful conduct using a computer; or
- Soliciting a legal guardian of a child for unlawful sexual conduct using a computer.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Pinellas County area and surrounding communities including Pinellas Park, Dunedin, Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Contact us now at (727) 388-4736 today for a free consultation.
Overview of Sex Offenses in Florida
- Sex Offenses Under Florida Law
- Consent in Florida
- Florida’s Sex Offender Registry
- Additional Resources
Sexual Offenses Under Florida Law
Florida isn’t kind to those convicted for sexual offenses. Sexual offenses tend to have heavy sentencing, which includes felony charges. It can be tricky to defend a sexual crime because the stakes are so high. This is why it’s important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Listed below are some sexual offenses and their penalties in Florida
Sexual Battery in Florida
Sexual battery is any kind of sexual penetration without consent. It can also be referred to as rape or sexual assault. The penalties for sexual battery depend on the victim and if aggravating factors were present in the crime. The following are aggravating factors that could enhance the penalties for sexual battery.
- The victim was physically helpless;
- The victim was coerced into submission with threats of serious bodily injury;
- The victim was coerced by threats of future retaliation if they don’t submit;
- The victim was drugged without consent;
- The victim was taken advantage of because of their mental faculties;
- The victim was physically incapacitated; or
- The alleged offender was in a position of authority.
A sexual battery conviction without aggravating factors is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 15 years in prison;
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated sexual battery is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 30 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
The following crimes are considered a life felony in Florida.
- Sexual battery on a child younger than 12;
- Sexual battery by a person under 18 years old on a child under 12;
- Aggravated sexual battery on a child between the ages of 12 and 18 years old;
- Sexual battery with a deadly weapon; and
- Sexual battery that was likely to cause serious injury.
A life felony is punishable by:
- Up to life in prison;
- A fine of up to $15,000.
Lewd or Lascivious Crimes in Florida
Lewd and lascivious behavior encompasses four types of offenses in Florida. A lewd and lascivious act is any sexual conduct involving a person under 16 years old. This can include consensual sexual activity.
Florida Statute § 800.04(4) states that lewd or lascivious battery is any kind of sexual activity with a person between the ages of 12 and 15. It can also include encouraging or enticing a minor under the age of 16 into sexual activity. Lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 15 years in prison; and
- A possible fine up to $10,000.
Lewd or lascivious molestation is any intentional touching in a sexual manner to a child under the age of 16. Most lewd or lascivious molestation cases involve inappropriate touching a minor’s breast, genitals, buttocks or genital area.
If the offender is under the age of 18 and the victim is under the age of 12, it’s a second-degree felony. It’s also a second-degree felony if the offender is over 18 and the victim is between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. The penalties for a second-degree felony are up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the offender is 18 or over and the victim is under the age of 12, the crime is a life felony. The penalties for a felony include:
- Up to life in prison; and
- A fine of up to $15,000.
Lewd or lascivious conduct is when a person is trying to solicit a minor under the age of 16 into sexual activity. If the offender is 18 or older, then the crime is a second-degree felony. Lewd or lascivious conduct by a person who’s under 18 is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to five years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $5,000.
Sexual activity in front of minors is also a crime in Florida. A person commits lewd or lascivious exhibition if they participate in sexual conduct in front of a child under the age of 16. The prosecution must prove the offender did one of the following to be charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition.
- Exposed their genitals in a sexual manner;
- Masturbated; or
- Committed a sexual act that didn’t involve the participation of the alleged victim.
Lewd or lascivious exhibition is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Child Pornography in Florida
Florida has stringent laws to deter child pornography. Florida Statute § 827.071 states possessing, controlling or viewing child pornography is a crime. The term “controlling” means that the offender had access to the pornography. Child pornography can include videos, photographs, shows and other presentations of sexual conduct.
Possessing child pornography is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. It’s important to know that every transmission of child pornography is another charge. This means you could have multiple counts of child pornography from one electronic device.
How Consent is Defined in Florida
Florida Statute § 794.011 defines consent as the intelligent, knowing and voluntary admission to sexual conduct without coercion. The victim doesn’t have to physically resist to say they didn’t give consent.
Victims who were physically helpless, unconscious, or asleep aren’t capable of giving consent under Florida law. This includes any person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s also not consensual if the victim was coerced into a sexual act by a person who is in a position of control. It’s still considered sexual battery if the offender wasn’t aware that they were in a position of authority.
Children under the age of 12 aren’t capable of giving consent in Florida. This means any sexual encounter with a child younger than 12 years old is a crime. In addition, Florida law states that parents or legal guardians cannot give consent for their child. A parent who has coerced their child into sexual conduct can be charged with sexual battery.
Florida’s Sexual Offender Registry
Some sex crime convictions require the accused to register as a sex offender. The sex offender registry is a database of people who were convicted with specific sex crimes. The alleged offender must provide the local county sheriff’s office with identifying information within 48 hours of conviction.
The accused’s credentials will be entered into the sex offender registry. The offender will be required to re-register when needed and update the local sheriff’s office if they relocate. In addition, some people are forced to disclose their sex offender status every time they move. This could affect their ability to gain housing, employment or have personal relationships.
Florida Sex Crimes Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of state laws concerning sex crimes. Access the statutes to find more information about sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery and services for victims.
RAINN – Visit the official website for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or RAINN. Access the site to learn more about sex crimes statistics, Florida’s sex crimes and resources for those struggling with sexual violence.
Lawyer for Sexual Offenses in Pinellas County, Florida
If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can clarify your legal options, collect evidence and defend your rights. For a practiced attorney call Morris Law Firm, P.A..
Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients in Pinellas County Court including surrounding areas such as Bradenton, Tampa, Clearwater, Palm Harbor and Pinellas Park. Call (727) 388-4736 today to schedule a free consultation.