The Jimmy Ryce Act & Sex Crime Charges in Florida
In Florida as well as in the United States, sex crimes are among the most socially stigmatized and often carry extremely harsh penalties, including jail time, monetary fines, and more. Those suspected of committing a sex-related crime in Florida who cooperate with police without the support of a skilled Florida sex crime defense lawyer are effectively harming their case – regardless of whether they are innocent or guilty.
At Musca Law, our experienced Florida sex crime defense attorneys are fully aware of the strategies used by investigators in order to prove their cases, and have effectively safeguarded our clients against them.
Understand that investigators often misquote an accused’s statements and twist his or her words in order to zealously seek a conviction. They also tend to disregard exculpatory evidence that is favorable to the accused. This is why you need a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense lawyer from Musca Law who will develop the strongest defense strategy on your behalf. Contact Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Choose an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
Even when the evidence seems to favor the state, there exist various options to seek a dismissal or reduction of the charges, as well as a potential reduction of the penalties.
A skilled Florida sex crime defense attorney who has significant experience handling sex crime cases is fully aware of the applicable laws as well as has adept negotiation skills and proven trial experience.
The attorneys at Musca Law work zealously to safeguard the interests and rights of individuals facing sex crime-related charges. We are fully aware of the fact that those accused of a sex crime often experience embarrassment, shame, and also, fear about their future. Our skilled team of legal professionals offers non-judgmental and confidential legal representation. Many times, allegations raised by alleged victims cannot be proven given that they are misrepresented or completely untrue.
What is the Definition of a Sex Crime?
A “sex crime” applies to any criminal act that involves sexual activity. Crimes that involve sexual activity in Florida include:
- Child-related sex crimes
- Lewd, wanton and lascivious acts
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Human trafficking
- Dissemination or possession of obscene matter
- Child pornography
- Statutory rape
Florida law imposes extremely strict penalties for those accused of a sex-related crime. The penalties depend upon the type of offense, how many charges the accused is facing, and his or her prior criminal record. In general, the types of penalties that apply to sex crimes may include:
- Monetary fines
- Mandatory mental health treatment
- House arrest
- Sex offender registration
- Community service
- Indefinite civil commitment
The Jimmy Ryce Act
An essential element of sex crime penalties that deserve attention is the indefinite civil commitment of sex offenders that often occurs long after an individual has served his or her sentence. This law is codified at Florida Statutes Section 394.912. This law came into effect back in 1999.
The Jimmy Ryce Act (the “Act”) calls for the involuntary commitment of violent sex offenders who have a personality disorder or a mental abnormality that makes them more prone to engaging in future acts of sex-related violence. In essence, this Act involves the confinement of individuals for crimes that they have the potential to commit but have not yet committed. The civil action arising pursuant to the Act is started following a review by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Corrections, and state attorneys.
The purpose of the Act is to provide recidivists (repeat offenders) with intensive mental health treatment prior to being released into society. Nearly 700 sex offenders at any given time are housed by the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, Florida. The law has been the subject of several constitutional challenges however, this form of indefinite civil commitment has been upheld in 1997 by the United States Supreme Court in Kansas v. Hendricks. Furthermore, the Legislature of the State of Florida has strengthened the Act, which makes it harder for sex offenders to be timely released back into society. What this means is that the Act is not going anywhere anytime soon, causing sex offenders to face numerous challenges, especially if they have a prior criminal record.
Sex Offense Defenses in Florida
Those accused of sex offenses in Florida are innocent until proven guilty, however, they must fight aggressively to establish their innocence. Both the prosecution as well as judges often favor the victim in sex offense-related cases. Accordingly, the primary way in which to defend an accused is to create a good offense. This means working to collect exculpatory evidence (evidence in favor of the accused) that supports an accused’s innocence, as well as their credibility, integrity, and motives.
If possible, a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney starts with a pre-filing investigation prior to when charges are filed. It is typically easier to persuade the prosecutor not to file charges than to convince him or her to dismiss the charges once they have been filed.
An experienced Florida sex crimes defense attorney also examines all aspects of the accused’s story in looking for potential weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. He or she also combs through the methods used by investigators to ascertain whether any evidence was obtained in violation of an accused’s Fourth Amendment right against an unlawful search and seizure.
The defenses that may be available depend upon the unique set of facts and circumstances of each case. At Musca Law, we are committed to aggressively fighting to safeguard the legal rights and interests of each client.
Musca Law Stands Ready to Defend Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one is facing sex crime-related charges, act quickly to seek the advice of a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney. Your constitutional rights are on the line and you need the best defense possible from the start. Musca Law is a large criminal defense firm that has extensive experience handling serious criminal charges. To speak with a Florida criminal defense attorney about your criminal matter, contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 24/7. We look forward to helping you in any way we can.