An individual who engages in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age can be charged with lewd or lascivious battery, and sexual penetration between a person 18 years of age or older and a person less than 12 years of age constitutes sexual battery (more commonly referred to as rape). If a person 24 years of age or older engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age, that individual can be charged with the crime of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.
It is extremely important for any person who is arrested or under investigation for this crime to understand that Florida Statute § 794.021 establishes that ignorance of an alleged victim’s age, misrepresentation of age by an alleged victim, and bona fide belief that an alleged victim was over a specified age to be a legal defense against these criminal charges. All alleged offenders should exercise their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and avoid answering any questions that could be used for self-incriminating purposes.
If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for alleged unlawful sexual activity with a minor in South Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively defends clients accused of sexual offenses in Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, and many surrounding areas of Broward County.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who understand the profound implications that convictions for these types of offenses can have on the lives of alleged offenders, which is why they fight to achieve the most favorable resolutions that result in the fewest possible penalties. Call (954) 716-8538 right now to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Under Florida Statute § 794.05, an alleged offender 24 years of age or older commits unlawful sexual activity with a minor if he or she engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age. Sexual activity is defined for the purpose of this statute as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.”
In addition to the aforementioned prohibitions on claims relating to mistake of age, Florida Statute § 794.05(3) also establishes that an alleged victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in a prosecution under this section.
Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors is a second-degree felony. Convictions may be punishable by any combination of the following punishments:
People convicted of these crimes can also be required to register as sex offenders. Florida Statute § 943.04354, better known as the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” law, allows certain alleged offenders to file motions or petitions in state court for removal of the sex offender registration requirement if they were convicted of an applicable offense, are required to register as sexual offenders or sexual predators solely on the basis of these convictions, and are not more than four years older than the victims of violations who were 13 years of age or older but younger than 18 years of age at the times the violations were committed.
Nancy J. Cotterman Center (NJCC) | Broward County’s Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center — The mission of the NJCC is “to improve and enhance the quality of life for victims of sexual assault and child abuse through effective forensically sensitive interventions, implemented by professionals specializing in the fields of sexual assault and child abuse.” View videos, read recent news, and find answers to frequently asked questions on this website. You can also find information about the NJCC’s crisis unit, counseling unit, and child protection teams.
Tulier v. State, 147 So.3d 1037 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2014) — Roberto Tulier stopped at a stop sign while driving an SUV and asked a 16-year-old boy on his bicycle if he wanted to make $400 in exchange for providing oral sex. The boy called his father and Tulier ran over the boy’s bicycle before leaving the scene. Tulier was convicted of aggravated assault and attempted sexual activity with a minor, but he argued on appeal that the trial court erred in failing to grant his motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial on the attempted sexual activity with a minor count, maintaining that his offering the victim $400 in exchange for oral sex was not sufficient to amount to an act toward the commission of sexual activity with a minor but rather merely amounts to solicitation. The Second District Court of Appeal agreed, reversing his conviction for attempted sexual activity with a minor.
Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation in Broward County for alleged unlawful sexual activity with a minor? Even if you are completely confident in your innocence, you should still not say anything to authorities until you have first contacted Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent individuals in Deerfield Beach, Margate, Wilton Manors, Weston, Coconut Creek, Tamarac, Sunrise, Hallandale Beach, and several other nearby areas in South Florida. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (954) 716-8538 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
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