Lakeland Sex Crime Defense LawyersSex offense convictions can have serious repercussions, including the creation of a permanent criminal record, fines, jail time, and registration as a sex offender if the offense was a felony. Retaining an experienced Lakeland sex crime defense attorney is critical to helping innocent defendants avoid these types of penalties.
Lakeland Sexual Assault and Battery LawyerRape, sexual assault, and sexual battery are all prosecuted under Fla. Stat. 794.011, which prohibits the non-consensual penetration of the vagina, mouth, or anus with a sexual organ or another object. This is one of the most serious charges that a person can face, as convictions could result in life imprisonment, although the severity of the sentence will largely be guided by the presence of certain factors, including the age of the victim, whether the defendant used force or a weapon while committing the crime, and whether the victim was physically or mentally incapacitated.
Demonstrating that a person consented to the sexual activity in question is also usually a complete defense to this charge. There is, however, an exception under Fla. Stat. 794.05, in which a person can be charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, or statutory rape, if he or she is at least 24 years old and engages in sexual activity with someone between the ages of 16 and 17 years old. In these cases, defendants are prohibited from arguing that the other party consented to the activity, as minors are not considered to have the maturity to consent to sexual activity.
Lakeland Lewd and Lascivious Acts LawyerWhen an act does not rise to the level of sexual assault or rape, it is often charged under Fla. Stat. 800.02, which prohibits unnatural and lascivious acts. The former is understood to refer to conduct that isn’t in accordance with normal feelings or behavior, while the latter is a term used to describe conduct that is lustful or excites a desire for sexual satisfaction. These terms are extremely vague, so a variety of offenses could potentially be charged under this statute. For this reason, many plea deals involve an agreement between the defense and the prosecutor that a defendant will plead guilty to this less serious offense, which is only punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Lakeland Child Pornography AttorneyNot all sex offenses in Florida require a defendant to perform a sexual act. In fact, a person can be charged with a felony for the mere possession of images that satisfy the definition of child pornography under Fla. Stat. 827.071. This law applies to photos, movies, computer depictions, shows, images, data, and any visual representation of a sexual performance where a minor is involved in sexual conduct, such as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, lewd exhibition, physical touching of the private parts, and masturbation. However, before a person can be convicted of possessing images that satisfy the definition of child pornography, prosecutors have to prove that the defendant intentionally viewed the images, which requires evidence of deliberate, voluntary, and purposeful viewing of more than a single depiction. Although possession of child pornography is usually charged as a third-degree felony, a charge can be enhanced to the second-degree felony offense of possession with the intent to distribute if three or more copies of a single representation of a sexual performance by a minor are recovered from a defendant’s possession.
It is also not uncommon for those who are accused of possessing child pornography with the intent to distribute it with other related offenses, such as promoting the sexual performance of a child. This statute is broadly defined, so a number of different activities fall under the purview of promotion, including manufacturing, selling, mailing, distributing, exhibiting, publishing, and delivering a pornographic image depicting a minor. As long as prosecutors can prove that the defendant was involved in one of these activities and was aware of the character and content of the images, he or she can be charged with promoting the sexual performance of a child. Another commonly charged pornography-related offense is found in Fla. Stat. §847.0137, which prohibits transmitting child pornography with an electronic device. This offense covers situations where a defendant is accused of:
- Sending the images from out of state to someone in Florida; or
- Sending the images from Florida to the resident of another state.