Lakeland Sex CrimesSex crime allegations can be devastating, not to mention humiliating. If convicted, you face prison time, exorbitant fines, and lifetime registration on sexual offender or sexual predator lists. Musca Law’s experienced Florida sex crimes lawyers know how threatening these severe stakes and hostile prosecutors can be. We will work diligently to ensure that your rights are upheld and that you receive the best possible defense. In many cases, sex crime allegations are brought about due to innocent circumstances and complex family dynamics. The criminal justice system is not impervious to mistakes, and our Florida criminal defense team can shed light on your situation and use proven methodologies to build your defense. At Musca Law, we know that everyone is entitled to fair representation and having their story heard. Our knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve as your advocates in fighting aggressively to defend your rights.
Sex Crimes in Florida
Sexual Battery/Aggravated Sexual Battery/Rape
If you have been accused of rape, it is absolutely crucial that you get a Lakeland criminal defense attorney to stand by you. Sexual battery is an extremely damaging charge and a conviction of sexual battery will bring with it permanent repercussions. Associated charges or any aggravating factors could even lead to a charge of aggravated sexual battery, which occurs in instances where the victim is incapacitated or helpless; some examples include sexual battery against a minor who is under 12 years of age, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, or sexual battery liable to cause grave personal trauma. If the accused is found to be guilty of a charge of sexual battery, their sentence will vary greatly depending on how old they are, whether or not they have a past criminal record, the victim’s age at the time of the attack, and any other aggravating circumstances that might arise. In addition to this, any person who is found guilty of a sexual battery charge has to register as a sexual predator.
Sexual Assault of a Minor/Sexual Battery of a Minor
The sexual assault of a minor is deemed either as an aggravated assault or sexual battery, due to the young age of the victim, and is usually prosecuted very harshly. The assault charge could be given a penalty of as much as 15 years in prison, while battery could end in a much harsher sentence of up to 25 years.
Prostitution/Solicitation of Prostitution
In the state of Florida, prostitution continues to be illegal, as are employing the services of a prostitute, operating a brothel, and pimping. The punishment that comes with these sex crimes will vary in accordance with the specific act. For instance, the solicitation of a prostitute is included in the John Statute and most likely will result in you having to pay a $5,000 fine. For each charge of prostitution, each recorded offense will pave the way for greater and greater punishments. For people who have resorted to using prostitution to supplement their addiction, attending drug court classes may possibly be an available option. It is noteworthy, however, that no matter which sex crime(s) you have been accused of, it is in your best interest to obtain the the legal services of a Lakeland criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in the ins and outs of such cases and circumstances.
Internet Child Pornography
In the event that you are charged with the possession of child pornography or with circulating child pornography, a guilty charge will lead to very hefty fines. The prison time for this crime is decided based on how many total counts of child pornography you have been charged with. For instance, if you have been charged with four counts of the possession of child pornography, you could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of $20,000, and you will be legally obligated to register yourself as a sex offender, with restrictions enforced on where you are and are not allowed to live.
Solicitation of a Minor
In sex offender cases where the supposed victim is underage, you should be prepared for the prosecution to come at you with everything they have. Approaching a minor child online with sexual intent carries with it a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in state prison. Each occurrence of solicitation of a minor, however, can be charged as a completely individual count, each charge adding on possible time in prison.
Statutory Sexual Assault of a Minor
This charge, known more commonly as statutory rape, applies to persons who are over the age of 24 and engage in sexual activity with someone who is either 16 or 17 years old. This person could be charged with statutory rape because, according to Florida state law, the child has not yet reached the legal age of consent. Statutory rape is tried as a second-degree felony in Florida, and if you are found to be guilty, you could face as much as 15 years in state prison.
If you have been charged with or are under investigation for any of these sexually motivated crimes, then it is in your best interest for you to contact a sex crimes criminal defense attorney from Musca Law as soon as you are able to do so.
Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction
Being convicted of a sex crime charge can drastically and permanently change your life, and not for the better. Convictions related to sex crimes can lead to:
- A lengthy prison sentence;
- Exorbitant fine amounts;
- Registration as a sex offender or as a sexual predator;
- Loss of employment;
- Loss of friends and family;
- Inability to find employment;
- Inability to obtain student loans, bank loans, government assistance, or professional licensing;
- Inability to rent a house or an apartment;
- Geographical restrictions on where you are permitted to live; and/or
- Wearing a tracking device on your ankle.
These punishments should not be taken lightly as they can have a serious negative impact on your personal and professional prospects for the remainder of your life. Contact our Lakeland office and ask to speak to one of our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation and case review.
Removal From the Sex Offender Registry
Any sex crime offender stays on the national sex offender registry for the rest of his or her life as mandated by law. The singular exemption to this law is if and when the offender has been granted a full pardon, or the offender has had their conviction set aside in a post-conviction hearing for any crime that meets the guidelines for labeling the individual as a sexual offender or a sexual predator for the purposes of registration.
Some sexual offenders might be permitted to have their names eliminated from the sex offenders registry, and may have their legal requirement to register as such lifted, if the offender:
- Has been legally discharged from prison or under legal supervision for 25 consecutive years;
- Has not perpetrated any misdemeanor or any felony offense within that time frame; or
- Was ultimately found not guilty of the offenses committed as an adult.
Each case is distinctive and the way in which your case is handled will mainly have to do with the specific circumstances of that case. A diligent criminal defense attorney will be able to decide which course of action is ideal for your exact predicament. This course of action could include attempting to establish your innocence after entering a plea of not-guilty, bartering a plea deal in which you will plead guilty in exchange for a decreased sentence, or entering a plea of no contest, which is where you do not say that you are guilty but you also do not wish to dispute the allegations. Every single plea comes with its own set of repercussions and it is essential that you know what they are before you proceed any further.
If a Musca Law attorney decides to enter a not-guilty plea, then we could attempt to prove your innocence in numerous ways. This could involve poking holes in or displaying issues with the victim’s account of the events, proving your alibi, arguing a case of mistaken identity, demonstrating that there was, in fact, consent given beforehand, proving that you were somehow of diminished capacity when the alleged incident took place, spotting any procedural errors committed by law enforcement or by the prosecutor, or highlighting how the accusations are nothing more than a false accusation that is an act of revenge or an attempt to discredit you.
In some instances, it is prudent to come to an agreement with the prosecutor and enter into a plea deal. Usually, this involves you pleading guilty or no contest to the allegations in exchange for a lessened sentence. This can reduce the overall burden of a criminal trial on all those involved in the case, including you and your family. There are plenty of former defendants who have found this to be an efficient way to circumvent having to register as a sex offender or a sexual predator.
A no-contest plea might also be helpful for anyone who is prepared to accept the facts of the case, but not prepared to admit their guilt. The defendants who decide to plead no contest will be able to avoid a criminal trial as long as the judge allows the plea, and the decision cannot be used to your disadvantage in any future legal proceedings.
In reality, the very best defense for your specific case will be built by a thorough investigation on the part of your criminal defense attorney, in combination with the details surrounding your case. In order to decide which of these legal defenses would most likely result in the best possible outcome for you, you need to consult with an experienced Lakeland sex crimes attorney.
Hiring a Lakeland, FL Criminal Defense Attorney
The offensive characteristics of sexually motivated crimes can frequently cause law enforcement officials to hurry through an investigation in an attempt to get “someone behind bars.” Furthermore, the prosecutors usually feel that justice demands a heavy-handed approach when it comes to prosecuting these types of charges, even when inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story emerge or tainted evidence becomes obvious.
If an innocent person is convicted of a crime they did not commit or if the actual perpetrator of the crime remains free to commit other crimes, then absolutely no justice has been served.
Being charged with a sex crime is actually fairly common. As a matter of fact, Florida’s Trial Court Statistical Reference Guide calculates that more than 3,300 charges for sexually-related offenses were filed between the years 2016 and 2017.
In the event that an accusation of a violent sexual crime is made, the stakes are especially high for the person who has been accused. Even misdemeanor sex crimes like voyeurism, solicitation, and prostitution have their own sets of very severe potential outcomes.
Anyone who is accused of a felony sex crime is looking at a long prison sentence, along with being a registered sex offender or sexual predator. A guilty verdict for a felony sexually motivated crime will be accompanied by life-long supervision, making it exceptionally challenging to find a place to live or to obtain gainful employment.
The criminal defense attorneys that we have here at Musca Law represent individuals who have been accused of all kinds of sexually motivated crimes, from misdemeanor solicitation or prostitution cases, to felony sexual battery and child pornography charges. We realize that being accused of a sex crime does not automatically mean that you are guilty. Our sex crimes attorneys have years of trial experience, a formidable amount of legal knowledge, and a clear grasp of prosecution tactics. We will thoroughly examine your case and look for discrepancies in statements which may mean a consensual act or a false allegation. If you have been charged or are under investigation for such a crime, contact us today so that we can start building up your defense. Even if you are currently undecided about if our legal services are the right fit for you, you can call our Lakeland office today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of the practicing sex crimes attorneys, in order to find out more.