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Sex Crimes

A sex crime conviction doesn’t only carry serious penalties, but also a severe negative stigma. Many people with prior sex crime convictions have issues gaining employment, housing or public or private loans. In some cases, the court will require the defendant to register as a sex offender as an additional punishment for the crime. This means that anyone with internet access can pull up the details of your prior sex crime conviction.

It’s critical that you act now to stave off these consequences. You can be assured that if you are accused of any type of crime involving sex, you will face aggressive prosecution before a tough jury. That is why it’s important that you have an experienced sex crimes attorney on your side.

Sex Crimes Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we fight relentlessly for our clients who are accused of a sexual offenses. We have prosecutorial experience in our firm that we can use to advocate for you. Sex crimes are a very serious matter and the social stigma surrounding it is devastating to one’s career and future. Our sex crimes defense lawyers have represented people of all types of sex offenses including the following

With our firm, there will always be an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf. We will represent you on every stage of this critical and frightening time. We are available to you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Call us now at (561) 557-8686 so we can start your defense. We represent any person charged in Palm Beach County area including West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Juno Beach, Greenacres and Jupiter.

Overview of Sex Crimes in FL

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How is Consent Defined in the State of Florida?

It’s likely you have heard the term consent often in films or shows involving sex crime trials. However, it’s important to remember Florida’s state law has a specific definition for the word consent which is crucial in a sex offense trial. Florida Statute Section 794.011 defines consent as the knowing, intelligent and voluntary admission to sexual contact without any kind of coercion. Even if the victim didn’t physically resist it doesn’t mean that consent was given.

Florida law states victims who are physically helpless, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unconscious, or are asleep are not capable of giving consent. In addition, if the offender in a position of control over the victim and can easily coerce them into a sexual act, then the victim is unable to give consent. The offender will still be charged with a sex crime if they weren’t aware their position was one of authority.

A child under the age of 12 is simply unable to give consent in Florida. Any sexual encounter with a child under the age of 12 is a crime even if the offender is also a minor. Florida legislation also states that parents or legal guardians of a child under the age of 12 cannot give consent for their child to engage in a sexual act.

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What Are Some Types of Sex Crimes in Florida?

The state of Florida has harsh penalties for those convicted of sex crimes. Most sex crimes in Florida have heavy sentencing requirements for the judge and are at felony-level. Since the stakes are so high, it can be difficult to defend sex crime charges especially since a lot of the evidence tends to be a lot of “he-said-she-said” and less concrete fact.

Listed below are some sexual crimes and their penalties under Florida law.

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Lewd and Lascivious Offenses Penalties in Florida

Florida has a specific set of laws for sex crimes involving victims under the age of 16 years old. These are referred to as lewd or lascivious offenses and in Florida there are four types you can be charged with. It’s important to understand that even if the act is consensual between both parties you can still be charged with a lewd or lascivious offense.

Under Florida Statute Section 800.04(4), it’s established that lewd and lascivious battery is any kind of sexual activity between a person who is between the ages of 12 and 15. The crime also includes encouraging or enticing a minor under the age of 16 into any kind of sexual activity. If convicted, lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree punishable by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine up to $10,000.

Intentionally touching a child under the age of 16 sexually or with sexual intent is known as lewd and lascivious molestation. Most lewd and lascivious molestation cases involved the inappropriate touching of a child’s genitals, buttocks, breast or their genital area.

The penalties for lewd and lascivious molestation depend on the victim’s age. The lightest sentence is a third-degree felony if the offender is under the age of 18 and the victim is between the ages of 12 and 16. A third-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

If the offender is under the age of 18 and the victim is under the age of 12, then a conviction is a second-degree felony. Offenders over the age of 18 who lewdly and lasciviously molested a child between the ages of 12 and 15 will also face a second-degree felony.

However, if the offender is 18 or over and the victim is under the age of 12, then the crime will be elevated to a life felony.  The maximum penalties for a life felony include:

  • Up to life in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $15,000.

A person can be charged with lewd or lascivious conduct if they do or attempt to solicit a minor under the age of 16 into sexual activity. Offenders who are 18 years or older will face a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine up to $10,000.

When the offender is younger than 18, then the crime is charged as a third-degree felony. The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

If a person performs or engages in sexual activity in front of minors, they can be charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition. To convict a person of this crime, the prosecution must prove the following elements without a reasonable doubt.

  • The defendant willingly and knowingly did one of the following
    • 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 can lead to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Child Pornography Under FL Law

To deter the distribution and production of child pornography, Florida has implemented stringent child pornography laws. Under Florida Statute Section 827.071, it states that possessing, controlling or viewing any kind of pornography including minors is a crime. This can also include photographs, videos, shows and other presentations of sexual conduct.

The possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony in Florida. The penalties for a third-degree felony include up to 5 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000. It’s important to understand that each piece of child pornography material can be considered a separate charge under Florida court. Essentially, this means you could be charged with multiple counts of child pornography from using one electric device.

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Sexual Battery Penalties in Florida

Any type of sexual penetration without consent is known as sexual battery, also commonly referred to as rape. The penalties for a sexual battery conviction depend on the victim’s physical and mental state as well as if any aggravating factors were present during the commission of the crime. The aggravating factors and elements that could enhance the penalties for a sexual battery conviction include the following:

  • 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 taken advantage of because of their mental faculties;
  • The victim was physically incapacitated;
  • The victim was drugged without consent;
  • The victim was physically helpless; or
  • The alleged offender was in a position of authority.

Sexual battery without aggravating factors is a second-degree felony, which can lead to:

  • Up to 15 years in prison;
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

If any of the above aggravating factors are found to be fact by the court, then the crime will be enhanced to aggravated sexual battery. 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.

If any of the following factors occurred during the crime, then the crime will be reclassified to a life felony under Florida law.

  • The victim was under the age of 12;
  • Aggravated sexual battery on a minor between the ages of 12 and 18;
  • The crime included a deadly weapon; and
  • The crime caused serious bodily injury on the victim

A life felony can result in up to life in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

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Additional Resources

RAINN – Visit the official website for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or RAINN a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for survivors and people struggling with sexual abuse. Access the site to learn more about sex crimes statistics in the US, Florida’s sex crimes penalties and resources for those struggling with sexual violence.

Florida Sex Crimes Laws – Visit the official website of the Florida Statutes to learn more about their sexual offenses and other related crimes. Access the statutes to find more information about sexual battery, solicitation of a child, prostitution, child pornography, aggravated sexual battery and other various sex offenses.

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Defense Lawyers for Sex Offenses in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime, then its within your best interest to gain legal representation with Meltzer & Bell. Our experienced Broward County defense lawyers have represented numerous people accused of sex offenses. Let us guide you by providing excellent legal counsel and build a strong defense for your case.

Sexual offenses are an incredibly serious matter. You can have an aggressive, experienced defense attorney on your side. Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to have a skilled Fort Lauderdale sexual offense lawyer fighting for you. Call us at (561) 557-8686 to set up a free consultation.Meltzer & Bell practices throughout the greater Broward County area including Hollywood, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Davie.

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