Faced with sex crimes allegations, you may have no choice but to fight the charges. As frightening and uncomfortable as facing these charges might sound, a conviction for a sex crime in Pinellas County will stay with you for the rest of your life. Once you complete your prison sentence and probation, and pay your fines, you must register as a sex offender — probably for the rest of your life.
The sex crimes lawyers in Pinellas County at Goldman Wetzel understand how difficult this can be. We provide aggressive representation to protect your legal rights and ensure the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for help: 727-828-3900.
What Are the Penalties for Sex Crimes in Florida?
Sex crimes convictions carry some of the harshest penalties of all crimes in Florida.
The penalties for a sex crime conviction vary depending on the nature of the offense; however, here are some examples.
- Solicitation: Up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines, for the first offense
- Indecent Exposure: Up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines, for the first offense
- Voyeurism: Up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines, first offense
- Sexting: Up to one year in jail, $1,000 in fines, for second offense
- Lewd and Lascivious Behavior: Up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 fine, depending on the age of the victim
- Sexual Battery: Up to life in prison, depending on the age of the victim
- Possession of Child Pornography: Five years and $5,000 for each offense
- Child Molestation: 30 years to life and $15,000 in fines
Some offenses qualify for federal sex crimes charges, which carry penalties that are significantly harsher. Offenses that may qualify for federal charges include:
- Sexual assault of a minor
- Online solicitation of a minor
- In-person solicitation of a minor
- Sexual abuse of an elderly person
- Sexual abuse of a disabled person
- Distribution of child pornography
In addition to the fines and jail or prison time associated with sex crimes in Pinellas County, you will also face probation, sex offender counseling, a permanent criminal record, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Aggravating circumstances can significantly increase the level of charges and the severity of penalties for conviction. Using a weapon, for example, or any incident involving a child below the age of 12, allows the prosecutor to charge you with a capital felony, which carries a life sentence in prison with no possibility of parole.
Registering as a sex offender in Pinellas County will significantly affect your life, disqualifying you from many jobs and strictly limiting where you can live. You cannot hold most types of professional licenses. You may even lose custody of your children.
The stigma of a sex crimes conviction will permeate every area of your life, personally and professionally.
How Can the Sex Crimes Lawyers of Goldman Wetzel Help Me?
After your arrest for a sex-related offense, the police often offer to “help you” in exchange for answering their questions.
Officers often try to entice suspects to provide information without their attorney present by implying — or stating — that they may have influence with the prosecutor or even the judge.
If the police pick you up on a sex crimes charge in Pinellas County, the most important thing you can remember is that they will never have your best interests in mind — only your lawyers will do that. They will use your words against you to obtain a conviction.
The sex crimes lawyers of Goldman Wetzel will look out for you, protecting your legal rights and making sure you know the truth about your options and how they will affect your future.
In many cases, it may take state and federal prosecutors a few days or weeks after an arrest to formally press charges. If you contact us immediately upon your arrest, we will intervene and try to convince them to consider lesser charges or, ideally, convince them not to file charges at all.
If the prosecutor does elect to move forward with charges, our team will obtain and analyze all the evidence against you, leaving no stone unturned as we work to identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Armed with that knowledge, we can often convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges against you — or even dismiss them completely.
However, in some cases, we have no choice but to go to court, and present a strong case in your defense.
However, your sex crimes case may progress, we will be with you, supporting you, through every step of the process. We will ensure you understand all your options, including the benefits and drawbacks of each. Because you must live with the consequences — whatever they may be — we will do everything humanly possible to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
What Defense Strategies Does Goldman Wetzel Use for Sex Crimes?
The circumstances of your case will guide our defense strategies in your case. However, some of the most common defense options for sex crimes in Pinellas County are as follows:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Insufficient evidence
- Faulty DNA evidence
- False accusations
The sensitive nature of sex crimes requires that we take a careful approach to building your case. We often must obtain background information about the accuser, interview witnesses, explore the implications of prior or related cases, or obtain testimony from psychological and subject matter experts.
In a sex crimes case, it is our job to investigate the accuser to discover any potential motivation for a false accusation.
Why Is Goldman Wetzel the Right Firm for Me?
At Goldman Wetzel, we work as a team to defend you against sex crimes charges. Our innovative approach to criminal defense calls on our experience as both prosecutors and defense lawyers in the Florida State Attorney’s office and the Pinellas County criminal justice system. Our insight into the legal process makes us uniquely qualified to help you through this challenging time.
And because we work together on each case, you get the benefit of two minds and two sets of unique ideas to help build a defense in your case.
We also provide complimentary consultations and case reviews. This allows us to answer your questions and explain your options, so that you can make an informed choice about your future. Contact Goldman Wetzel to schedule an appointment: 727-828-3900.