Clearwater Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
In Clearwater, Florida, a variety of offenses fall within the purview of the broad term “Clearwater sex crimes.” There are, however, significant differences between the elements that must be proved for each offense, so it is important for those who have been accused of committing a sex crime to have a solid understanding of the state’s sex offense laws.
Child Pornography Lawyers in Clearwater
Although possession of pornography in Clearwater is probably one of the most commonly charged child pornography-related offenses, a number of different types of conduct are actually unlawful in Florida, including distributing, manufacturing, producing, and transmitting child pornography. It is also not uncommon for a person who is charged with one child pornography offense to be charged with another. For example, even showing someone else an image that satisfies the definition of child pornography can also be considered promotion. In fact, those with three or more copies of the same image in their possession can expect to be charged not only with possession, but also with promotion, production, or even promoting the sexual performance of a child.
Clearwater Solicitation Crime Attorneys
Under Fla. Stat. 796.07, inducing, enticing, bribing, requesting, or procuring a person to engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation is considered solicitation of a prostitute in Clearwater and is unlawful. As long as a person made an offer to exchange money for sex, he or she can be charged with solicitation, even if the other party was not actually a prostitute but was involved in a sting operation. Solicitation is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but can be upgraded if the person being solicited was a minor. These allegations are usually part of an internet sting operation, in which a police officer poses as a minor for the purposes of curtailing computer sex crime. For this reason, some defendants are able to successfully raise the defense of entrapment, which occurs when an undercover officer entices a person to commit a crime that he or she would not normally have committed.
Child Molestation Lawyers in Clearwater, Florida
The sexual abuse, or molestation of a minor in Clearwater is prohibited under Fla. Stat. 800.04, which makes it unlawful to perform a lewd act in the presence of a child or upon a child’s body if the act was performed to gratify sexual desire. Sexual activity that involves intercourse automatically satisfies the definition of a lewd act. However, intentionally touching a minor in an inappropriate way can also be charged under this statute. Child molestation is a strict liability crime, which means that defendants cannot bring up the other party’s age during their defense.
Clearwater Sexual Assault Lawyers
A person can be charged with sexual assault in Clearwater if he or she is accused of non-consensual sexual touching, rape, sexual battery, or groping. Defendants are not permitted to reference the other party’s promiscuity or age during trial, although they can attempt to prove that the accuser consented to the act. Many defendants who are accused of date rape are charged under this statute, which means that they cannot argue that the accuser consented even if the individual didn’t offer physical or verbal resistance, as consent is only valid if it is given knowingly and voluntarily.
Lewd and Lascivious Crime Attorneys in Clearwater
In Clearwater, Florida, those who inappropriately touch, expose themselves to, or have sexual contact with minors can be charged with committing a lewd or lascivious crime. These offenses fall under a few different categories, including: exhibition, conduct, battery, and molestation, all of which prohibit any type of sexual contact with a minor, including exposure, touching, and solicitation. While these offenses apply specifically to minors, adults can also be charged with lewd behavior or acts under Fla. Stat. 798.02 and Fla. Stat. 800.02.
Sexual Battery Lawyers in Clearwater, Florida
Rape and sexual assault in Clearwater fall under Florida’s sexual battery law, which can be found at Fla. Stat. 794.011. Unlike other sex offenses, sexual battery requires actual intercourse. Furthermore, defendants are prohibited from discussing an accuser’s reputation for promiscuity during trial, but are allowed to argue that they were falsely accused or that the other party consented to the sexual conduct. The only exception to the latter is when the accuser was incapacitated, drugged, or suffering from a mental defect.
Indecent Exposure / Exposure of Sexual Organ Lawyers in Clearwater
Those who intentionally expose themselves in a vulgar manner with the intent of causing offense can be charged with indecent exposure in Clearwater. While prosecutors are generally required to prove that someone else witnessed the exposure in order to convict a defendant, this is not required when the act occurred in a public place. If a location does not qualify as public property, a defendant can only be convicted if he or she was on someone else’s private property or was within view of others.
Clearwater Voyeurism Lawyers
Clearwater and Florida law specifically prohibit voyeurism, which is described as secretly observing someone else with lewd or lascivious intent, while the person is in a public or private dwelling where he or she has an expectation of privacy. Proving intent is a key aspect of these types of prosecutions, as those who did not view someone purposefully or with vulgar intent cannot be convicted.
What is Date Rape?
Date rape is a form of sexual battery. Sexual battery, according to Florida laws, means “anal, oral, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.” The state’s definition of sexual battery does not pertain to any actions that were taken for a legitimate medical purpose.
So in order to prove sexual battery, the State of Florida must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused perpetrated an act upon the victim in which either
- the sexual organs of the accused penetrated or made contact with the vagina, mouth, or anus of the victim
- the anus or vagina of the victim was penetrated by an object
- The victim was physically incapacitated or otherwise unable to resist
- The accused subdued the victim into submission by threatening to use force or violence able to cause serious personal injury to the victim and the victim had reason to believe that the accused had the capacity to carry out the threat
- The accused coerced the victim into submission with the threat of retaliation against the victim or another person and the victim had reason to believe that the defendant had the capacity to execute the treat in the future
- The accused, without the prior awareness or permission of the victim, gave or had knowledge of someone else giving to the victim, a narcotic, anesthetic, or other intoxicating substance that physically or mentally disabled the victim
- The victim was mentally defective and the accused had actual knowledge of that fact
- When the incident took place, the accused was an official or someone who acted in a controlling capacity, like a certified law enforcement officer or person in control at a correctional institution and the accused was acting in such a way as to cause the victim to reasonably conclude that the accused was in a state of power or authority
- The victim as physically handicapped
- The accused’s actions were perpetrated without the victim’s permission
- The age of the accused at the time of the incident
- The age of the victim at the time of the incident
The sexual battery law in the state of Florida demands that the state furnish proof of both the victim’s and the accused’s age because the law classifies the sexual assault of someone with respect to the age of the offender and of the victim.
The law in the state of Florida defines consent as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.” The law specifically declares that the word is not to be thought or interpreted to indicate the lack of physical resistance on the part of the alleged victim towards the alleged offender. In other words, just because your victim could have tried harder to fight you off but failed to do so, does not imply any form of legal consent under Florida laws.
In Florida, the legal age of consent is 18 years old. The state does, however, have what is known as a Romeo and Juliet law which makes special accommodation for persons as young as 16 years of age to be able to lawfully consent to sex with another person, provided that the other party involved is no older than 23 years of age. Consent is frequently a pivotal issue in the majority of sex crime cases due to the fact that many sex offenders think that they cannot be held criminally accountable just because an underage victim agreed to sexual activity, or because a victim “did not try very hard” to stop them.
Registering as a Sex Offender in Florida
The state of Florida legally requires all sex offenders and sexual predators to abide by several registration requirements, including but not limited to:
- Showing up in person to the sheriff’s office to register within 48 hours of either
- Establishing a temporary or permanent residence in the state of Florida
- Being released from jail or prison
- Going to register in person at a local branch of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 48 hours of original registration with the sheriff’s office
- Physically appearing at the sheriff’s office to re-register under any of the following circumstances:
- Twice a year basic check-in as legally ordered of all sex offenders
- Four times yearly as legally required for all sexual predators, special case sex offenders, as well as any underage sexual offenders
- Once every 30 days for any sex offender or sexual predator who has only given information for a transient residence
- Reporting any new or revised information such as a new address, cell phone number, place of employment etc. since the last time you registered.
Penalties for Failing to Register
Failing to register yourself as a sex offender or a sexual predator is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by as long as five years in state prison, five years of supervised probation, and a fine of as much as $5,000.
If you or some you love have been arrested and charged with a crime of a sexual nature in the Clearwater area of Florida, especially one involving an underage child, it is to your benefit to hire legal representation from one of the most proficient and accredited criminal defense attorneys in Florida as soon as possible.
The state of Florida has a very rigid and unsympathetic stance on any crimes that involve illicit sexual acts, especially those acts that are perpetrated against a child. The primary intention of these laws is, of course, to defend innocent victims against sexual predators and to try and make our state a safer place for everyone. There are some cases, however, where misrepresentations, hyperbolic accounts or out-and-out malicious accusations have been made.
Those who are accused of committing crimes of a sexual nature not only suffer harsh social stigmas, but they also can be penalized with huge fines, fees, and a lengthy period of incarceration. Also, in Florida, offenders who are convicted of sexual crimes that are classified as felonies against minors are mandated to register as sex offenders. Taking into account everything that is truly at stake, having the best criminal sex crimes defense attorney on your side is of the utmost importance when it comes to challenging the charges that have been brought against you and moving forward with your life.
We offer a free, no-obligation, confidential initial consultation for our potential clients, from which we will be better able to learn about your charges and then advise you on your best course of legal action and help determine what kind of defense we should be building for your case. Don’t hesitate to call us today!