A conviction for a sex offense will stay with you for the rest of your life. As frightening and uncomfortable as facing these charges might sound, you may have no choice but to fight the allegations. If you’re facing sex offense charges, it’s important that you consider seeking the help of a sex crimes attorney in Pinellas County, FL.
Sex crime convictions can affect your life, both personally and professionally. Our team of criminal defense attorneys understands how difficult this can be. Goldman Wetzel offers aggressive representation for sex offenders in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton and surrounding areas.
What Cases Do our St. Petersburg Sex Crimes Attorneys Handle?
If you’ve been accused of a sexual allegation, our attorneys can help you build your defense. Goldman Wetzel represents individuals that face sex offense charges such as:
- Sexual battery
- Traveling to meet a minor
- Child pornography
- Indecent exposure
- Date rape
- Internet sex crimes
- Lew and lascivious
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Statutory rape/unlawful sexual activity with minors
What Are the Penalties for Sex Crimes in Florida?
Sex crime 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 a 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
Federal Sex Crimes
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.
Can a Sex Offender Get Off the Registry in Florida?
In Florida, sex offenses are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Therefore, only a small group of individuals can file a petition to remove their names from the registry. Some of the requirements to qualify for removal are:
- Having 25 years in the registry and have not been arrested for any misdemeanor or felony.
- Not being more than 4 years older than the victim.
- The victim was 13-18 years old.
- The sexual act was consensual and does not break any federal law
- Do not have other convictions for sex offenses, such as sexual battery, lewd and lascivious, sexual performance by a child, or computer pornography.
Meeting these requirements won’t remove your name automatically from the registry. You or your sex crimes attorney in Pinellas County can file a petition for removal. Based on your requirements and criminal record, the court may or may not deny your petition.
How Can a Lawyer for Sex Offenders in Pinellas County Help Me?
If you’re facing a sexual offense allegation, it’s convenient to have the help of an experienced attorney. Some of the advantages of having a lawyer on your side are:
Provide you legal advice when facing law enforcement officers
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.
A lawyer will prevent you from giving information that may hurt your case. They will also make sure to protect your rights and tell you what the best course of action is and how it can affect your future.
Negotiate your charges
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 a Pinellas criminal defense attorney immediately, they can intervene and try to convince the prosecutors 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.
Offer aggressive and compassionate legal representation
In some cases, we have no choice but to go to court and present a strong case in your defense.
However, as your case progresses, Goldman Wetzel lawyers 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 offense case, it is our job to investigate the accuser to discover any potential motivation for a false accusation.
Contact our Sex Crime Attorneys in Pinellas County, FL
If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime, it’s important to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you build the best defense for your case.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal defense firm that defends individuals facing criminal charges for sexual offenses in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg and Bradenton.
Our team of experienced attorneys will answer your questions and provide you with the best legal options for your case. We work as a team to build the best defense possible for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.