Florida sex crimes laws are very strict and harsh. In other words, a conviction for these offenses not only can lead to hefty fines and incarceration, but also to long-lasting consequences that can negatively impact other aspects of your life. As a result, if you are facing a sexual crime accusation, you should consult a defense attorney.
Unlike other offenses, the punishments for sex crimes in Florida are not over after the offender served his or her sentence. Since these crimes require convicts to register as a sex offender, people tend to suffer social stigma. As a result, your employment opportunities, housing or even the ability to move freely can be affected.
Given the potential penalties that sex crimes carry, you should enlist the help of a criminal attorney. At Goldman Wetzel, we understand that facing criminal charges can be a devastating and confusing experience. Hence, our sex crimes lawyers are committed to fighting for our client’s rights. Contact us today if you want to learn more about your legal options.
What Are Sex Crimes in Florida?
In Florida, a sex offense is a non-consensual and unlawful sexual contact or behavior that results in the sexual gratification of the offender. These crimes might involve the use of force or threats. Depending on the severity of the offense, sex crimes charges range from misdemeanors to felonies.
Just like other crimes, sex offenses can be classified as forcible or non-forcible sex crimes. As its name suggests, forcible sex crimes are offenses that take place without the victim’s consent and that, as a result, involve the use of threats or force.
On the other hand, a non-forcible sex offense does not entail any form of violence. In fact, the victims of these crimes are people that Florida law considers incapable of giving consent such as minors, disabled or mentally ill people.
There are many unlawful activities and conducts that can be classified as a sex crime in Florida. Hence, the penalties for sex offense depend on the nature of the crime, whether there was use of violence, the type of victim and the defendant’s prior convictions.
Facing an accusation or being arrested for sex crimes in Florida, does not mean that you have been convicted. In order for this to happen, the prosecution’s case needs compelling evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you actually committed the crime.
Some of the evidence that can be used against a sex crime include the following:
- Victim’s statement
- Medical evidence
- Defendant’s statement
- Witnesses and documents
- DNA evidence
When you are arrested for a sex offense and provide a statement without an attorney, you might say something detrimental that can be used against you. For that reason, it is crucial to have the legal counsel of a defense attorney. If you are facing charges in the Tampa Bay Area, contact our criminal attorneys.
Types of Sexual Offenses in Florida
Florida sex crimes include a wide range of offenses. Some of the most common cases include:
- Sexual battery: according to the Florida Statute § 794.011(1)(h), sexual battery is any type of penetration that takes place without the victim’s consent. In Florida, sexual battery is also known as rape or sexual assault.
- Prostitution: prostitution is engaging in sexual activity in exchange for a fee. Even though there might be consent from both parties, in Florida, it is illegal to offer or solicit prostitution.
- Indecent exposure: it is a non-forcible sex offense. As its name suggests, indecently exhibiting or exposing a person’s sexual organs in a public place (or the property of another person) is considered indecent exposure in Florida.
- Lewd and lascivious: touching in a lustful manner or engaging in sexual activity with a minor under 16 years of age is considered lewd and lascivious in Florida. Given that a minor does not meet the age of consent, even if the act was consensual, a person can face criminal charges.
- Child pornography: in Florida, possessing, producing, or distributing an image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct is considered child pornography. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a child pornography offense can be prosecuted as a Florida or federal crime.
- Failure to register as a sex offender: registering as a sex offender is a mandatory penalty in Florida for most sex offenses. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges and conviction that includes imprisonment and fines.
Even though all of these crimes are sex-related, they vary in nature and severity. If you have questions about your Florida sex crimes charges and potential penalties, book an appointment with our defense lawyers.
Florida Sex Crimes Charges & Sentencing
In Florida, the penalties associated with sex crimes depend on the severity of the offense, the defendant’s prior convictions and the type of victim. Less severe charges start as misdemeanors, but serious sex offenses are considered felonies.
Sex crime misdemeanors in Florida include prostitution and indecent exposure. A first-time offense for prostitution is considered a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. Penalties increase for subsequent offenses.
On the other hand, an indecent exposure crime is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. As a result, a conviction for this crime can result in up to 1 year of jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
As for felony sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, possession of child pornography, and a third prostitution offense are classified as third-degree felonies. A conviction for any of these crimes can result in up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
Given that they involve minors, the severity of the penalties for lewd and lascivious in Florida depend on both the victim and the defendant’s ages. The punishments for these crimes range from 5 years to life imprisonment.
Sexual battery in Florida is considered a second-degree felony. This means that a conviction can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Nevertheless, severe forms of sexual battery result in more severe penalties.
In addition to their specific penalties, most Florida sex crimes also include probation and mandatory sex registry as part of their punishments. Determining the potential penalties for your charges depends on the circumstances of your case.
If you want to know more about the punishments associated with your charges, speak to the sex crimes lawyers at Goldman Wetzel.
Sex offenses probation
As established before, most convictions for sex crimes in Florida lead to probation. In some cases, defendants might agree to it without fully understanding the limitations that sex offenses probation carry.
Overall, some of the conditions for sex crimes probation include the following:
- Mandatory curfew.
- Attend and complete a sex offender treatment program.
- Provide law enforcement with DNA samples.
- Prohibition to contact the victim.
- No contact with children unless is approved by the court (if applicable).
- If the victim was a minor, prohibition to live close to a school or a place where children congregate.
- Make restitution to the victim for medical, physical and psychological care.
- No access to internet or computer services until the treatment program or risk assessment is completed.
Given that these conditions are established by the court, failing to obey these terms is considered a violation of probation which can result in criminal charges and penalties that include fines and imprisonment.
Crimes that qualify for sex offender registry
As its name suggest, a sex offender registry contains public record information on sexual predators and sexual offenders in Florida. Defendants only need to provide this information if they have been convicted for certain sex crimes.
In Florida, sex offenses that qualify for sex offender registry include the following:
- Lewd and lascivious
- Sexual battery
- Unlawful sexual activity with minors
- Kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor under 13 years of age
- Sexual misconduct
- Video voyeurism
- Human trafficking
- Child pornography
- Luring or enticing a child
Contact a Sex Crimes Lawyer
Florida laws are very harsh when it comes to sex crimes. An accusation for these offenses can result in severe consequences that will hurt your reputation and your freedom. It is not easy to overcome these charges alone, you should retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal defense law firm that represents clients facing criminal charges in the Tampa Bay area including Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota Counties. Book an appointment by calling at (727) 828-3900.
If you are facing sex crimes charges in Florida, you should have an experienced attorney on your side. With Attorney Wetzel’s trial background and Attorney Goldman’s experience as a former prosecutor, the legal team of Goldman Wetzel can provide you with a strong defense. Schedule a free consultation today and learn more about your legal options.