Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in Cape Coral, Florida (FL)
Sex Crime Laws in Cape Coral, Florida
While individuals facing sex crime-related charges are by law presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law, these suspects may feel as though they are responsible for meeting the burden of proving their own innocence. Specifically, there are a number of serious repercussions associated with the conviction of a sex crime in Florida. Sex crimes are associated with public scorn where the accused may be labeled a predator or pervert. Combatting the public’s perception of the individual charged, let alone convicted of sex-related criminal acts, is an uphill battle. Notwithstanding, anyone who is facing sex crime charges is guaranteed certain constitutionally protected rights. Despite the stigma, these people have the same rights anyone charged with a crime in the State of Florida.
Sexual Criminal Behavior in Cape Coral, Florida
In Florida, there are a number of sex-related offenses, which include the following:
Under Florida Statutes Section 796.07, makes acts of prostitution illegal and criminalizes the solicitation of prostitutes. This statute also punishes those who run a business that would be considered a house of ill repute or massage parlors where sexual acts may be carried out. Section 796.06 also prohibits the renting of a property that will be used for the aforementioned purposes. Furthermore, the law, under 796.04, prohibits efforts made by one individual with the intent to coerce another to engage in prostitution. Pursuant to 796.05, anyone benefitting monetarily from prostitution or “pimping” is committing a criminal offense.
Sexual Battery Charges
Sexual battery charges cover a wide range of criminal violations, which are defined under Chapters 794 and 800. Sexual battery includes rape, statutory rape, and sexual assault, or indecent assault. The punishment under 794 will vary in severity depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the victim’s age, the accused’s age, facts that would make the perpetrator a figure of authority, as well as other aggravating factors. Perpetrators who enlisted the use of a weapon or who have been convicted of prior sexual offenses can face harsher penalties.
Under the law, sexual battery is defined as anal, vaginal, or oral penetration or union with the sex organ of another individual in addition to the penetration of any of the above areas with an object without his or her consent. When consent is granted under duress or undue influence, then it will not be considered freely given. Moreover, an individual will not be deemed as consenting to a sexual battery if he or she does not fight back or resist.
Lewdness and Indecent Exposure
Florida Statutes Chapter 800 refers to lewdness as a crime related to sexual battery offenses as they are set forth in Chapter 794. Specifically, Section 800.04 punishes those who engage in sexual conduct with a minor who is over twelve years of age but younger than sixteen. Many people are familiar with the term “statutory rape,” which is commonly used to refer to this crime. By simply believing that the victim is an adult, even by misrepresentation, is not a valid defense to this crime. Moreover, the statute sets forth the penalties associated with such acts as lewd and lascivious conduct or lewd molestation where a person makes contact with the sexual organs of another without his or her consent or if due to the victim’s age there is a presumed lack of consent. Section 800.4 also criminalizes the lewd and lascivious exhibition or acts of indecent exposure where an individual lewdly exposes his or her genitalia while in public. Penalties associated with each individual offense can be located within each section of the statute.
Protection of Minors from Harmful Sexual Material
Under Chapter 847, it is illegal to exploit children sexually and minors are protected from the prurient or deviant intentions of consenting adults. Qualifying actions include showing material considered obscene to a child, which constitutes a felony of the third-degree under Section 847.0133. Under 847.001, obscenity relates to material that
In order to understand the statute, it is necessary to determine what is and is not considered legally “obscene” in the state of Florida. Section 847.001 defines “obscene” means the status of material which; the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests; depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct as specifically defined herein; and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Prosecution of Sex Crimes in Cape Coral, Florida
The investigation and prosecution of sex-related offenses are rather onerous in Florida. Many claims associated with sex crimes are not supported with physical evidence, however, prosecutors will often take these cases to trial even if they lack sufficient evidence or the investigation was insufficient. This is because prosecutors have a bias that is directed at those suspected of committing sexual assault. In some instances, police will carry out a rapid investigation of the matter in order to avoid having the case remain open. Rushing the process can result in the wrong individual being arrested for and charged with a crime.
One common issue that complicates sex crime investigations and cases is delayed disclosure. This is frequently a component of a crime where the accuser and the accused know one another; however, this is not always the case. Delayed disclosure happens where the victim informs someone else of what allegedly happened to him or her long after the incident occurred.
Many prosecutors are prone to believe that alleged victims of sex crimes are always honest; however, this is not always true. Numerous individuals who have faulty memories, biases towards certain individuals, or hold grudges, and are liable to make false allegations against another. Their accounts of what happened to them must be subjected to extensive cross-examination. Therefore, the individual accused of a sex crime in Florida must carry out an intensive and extensive investigation of all factual allegations before the trial begins. A seasoned lawyer will assist the accused in doing so, and engage in the rigorous cross-examination of every government witness.
Confronting false allegations of sexual abuse can have very serious repercussions in a person’s life and may affect their family life, position in their community, and status at work. Even being acquitted of committing a sex crime can negatively affect the accused’s reputation.
Undercover Sting Operations in Cape Coral, Florida
Law enforcement in Florida enlists the use of undercover sting operations to infiltrate groups carrying out acts of human trafficking, prostitution rings, and street-level sexual conduct. As such, many people, both young and old, and wealthy and poor, have been the subjects of undercover stings that are conducted by law enforcement.
There are several ways in which law enforcement can conduct stings. Specifically, police often pose as minors and chat with people online. A female officer could disguise herself as a prostitute in order to carry out a “john” sting. Moreover, officers can put false advertisements on the internet to lure people to try and solicit a prostitute or distribute child pornography.
Accused individuals caught in the course of a “sting” operation can raise the affirmative defense known as entrapment, which violates the due process rights of the accused individual. Under Florida Statutes Section 777.201, entrapment involves several elements. Specifically, “[a] law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with a law enforcement officer, or a person acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer perpetrates an entrapment if, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a significant risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.”
The person who is facing accusations is tasked with the burden of proving that he or she only carried out the offense that he or she is accused of as the result of law enforcement efforts to entrap that individual. The court must acquit the accused if he or she is able to “prove entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence.” Whoever is the trier of fact, whether it is a judge or jury, has the responsibility of deciding the issue.
A person who is facing an accusation that he or she engaged in solicitation has a defense of withdrawal, which is also known as renunciation. Specifically, pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 777.04(5)(a)-(c), renunciation occurs where the defendant abandoned his or her attempt to commit the offense or otherwise prevented its commission; after soliciting another person to commit an offense, persuaded such other person not to do so or otherwise prevented commission of the offense; or after conspiring with one or more persons to commit an offense, persuaded such persons not to do so or otherwise prevented commission of the offense.
To meet the requirements for this defense, the individual must have completely and voluntarily withdrawn from any criminal activity.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a database known as the Combined DNA Index System, which is commonly referred to as CODIS. CODIS stores the DNA profiled of convicted individuals, as well as that of unknown biological profiles from people suspected of committing offenses that investigators have obtained from the scenes of crimes.
Law enforcement can upload samples from unknown profiles to CODIS and compare the information with others that are held the database in order to determine whether any matches exist. CODIS hits cannot be admitted in court unless they have a; however, they can identify an individual suspected of committing a crime.
Should there be a match, crime scene, technicians must acquire a sample from the individual whose DNA profile appears in the CODIS search and compare with the accused’s sample that was uncovered at the crime scene in order for a judge to rule that the evidence may be admitted at trial.
CODIS is an effective tool used by law enforcement. When there is a match, the evidence is compelling where the judge could rule that the DNA evidence is conclusive. Notwithstanding, scientific evidence may contain errors. Those who analyze the DNA can make mistakes or even fabricate the results. Anyone who faces sex-related charges must review all of the government’s evidence very closely and analyze each possible defense in order to avoid a suspect being wrongfully convicted.
Sentencing and Penalties for Sex Crime Convictions in Lee County, Florida
Florida Statutes Section 775.082 lists the sentencing guidelines associated with sex crimes in the state. The specific punishment depends upon whether the underlying offense constitutes a capital felony, life felony, first-degree felony, second-degree felony, a third-degree felony, a first-degree misdemeanor, or second-degree misdemeanor.
There are certain sex-related crimes, such as the solicitation of a prostitute, which will be considered misdemeanors associated with one-year sentences in jail for first-time offenders. The defendant may meet qualifications for a diversion program, depending upon the individual’s prior criminal record, if any. However, those convicted of sexual violence or sexual activity with a minor that resulted in serious bodily injury could face a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole as well as the death penalty. Other offenses carry with them a penalty of up to life in prison with the possibility of parole, or a term of years. Once a person has served his or her prison sentence, he or she will be subject to probation for a certain period of time, including life.
Additional Consequences of Sex Crimes in Cape Coral, Florida
Sex Offender or Sexual Predator Registration
Many sex-related offenses that are committed in the state of Florida will lead to the convicted offender having to register as a sex offender with the county sheriff in the location where the convicted individual lives. The duty of the person to register as a sex offender is considered in addition to and separate from prison sentences any probationary period that is imposed by the presiding judge in one’s case. Notwithstanding, the judge can render a finding that the accused is a sexual predator, which mandates reporting as a sex offender.
Under the Florida Sexual Predators Act, it seeks to prevent sex offenders from committing further acts of sexual violence. Specifically, the Act requires registration and, in some cases, may also dictate that the offender forfeits his or her internet connection. Moreover, the statute states that there must be public notice pertaining to the sex offender.
Under Florida Statutes Section 775.215, a sex offender may be limited in terms of where he or she can reside. Specifically, a person subject to this law must reside a minimum distance of 1,000 feet from a daycare, school, or park.
Musca Law: Aggressively Protecting the Rights of Cape Coral, Florida Residents
If you are facing criminal charges in Cape Coral, Florida, you need an aggressive advocate in your corner. Our Cape Coral defense lawyers bring more than 150 years of collective experience to the table. We know how to handle tough charges, from DUI to sex crimes. When the unimaginable happens, and you find yourself facing serious criminal accusations, make sure you reach out to Musca Law—Florida’s trusted criminal defense firm.
Our firm’s attorneys are among The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, included in the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense, and boast 10.0 Superb Avvo ratings. We know how to protect your future. We are trustworthy, tenacious, and relentless when it comes to defending your name. Our skilled lawyers work to exploit the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a strategic defense for clients. Our record of success in and out of the courtroom speaks for itself.