Fort Walton Beach Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
Of the many types of sex offenses in Florida, those allegedly committed against children are considered to be the most serious. For this reason, these types of offenses are often aggressively investigated and prosecuted, even to the detriment of a defendant’s rights, making it critical for those who have been charged with a sex crime involving a child to consult with an experienced Fort Walton Beach sex crime defense lawyer who can ensure that their rights are protected.
Fort Walton Beach Child Molestation Attorney
Fort Walton Beach child molestation falls under the purview of Fla. Stat. 800.04(5), which defines molestation as the intentional touching of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks, whether clothed or unclothed, of someone under the age of 16 years old in a lewd or lascivious manner. This statute also covers situations where a person is accused of forcing a minor to engage in this type of conduct.
All offenses involving allegations of sexual abuse against children are charged as felonies, although the age of the victim and the offender respectively will have a significant impact when determining the severity of the punishment. For instance, when a victim was 12 years of age or older, but has not yet reached 16 years of age, and the alleged offender was less than 18 years old, he or she faces a third-degree felony with a minimum three years imprisonment. When a victim was under 12 years of age, however, the defendant can be charged with a second-degree felony, even if he or she was also under 18 years of age. Similarly, if a victim was between the ages of 12 and 16 years old and the offender was 18 years of age or older, the latter can expect to be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of four and one-fourth years in prison. The most serious charges are reserved for situations where the victim was under the age of 12 years old and the offender was over 18. In these cases, defendants face life felony charges, punishable by a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
With so much at stake, raising a strong defense to child molestation charges is important. Possible defenses include:
- Law enforcement officers violated the defendant’s right to be free of unlawful searches and seizures
- The defendant is the victim of mistaken identity or false accusations;
- The defendant did not have a lewd or lascivious intent; or
- The alleged victim was not a minor.
However, there are certain defenses that are not available to defendants, including that the alleged victim has a history of sexual profligacy, the minor consented to the acts, or the minor lied about his or her age.
Fort Walton Beach Rape Attorney
When an offense exceeds the bounds of child molestation, a defendant can be charged with rape, which falls under the category of sexual battery contained in Fla. Stat. 794.011. Unlike molestation, which involves unlawful touching, sexual battery occurs when a defendant unlawfully penetrates a minor in a sexual manner. Adults convicted of committing or even attempting to commit a sexual battery against someone under the age of 12 years old face capital felony charges, while those under the age of 18 years old who commit this offense against someone under the age of 12 years old face life in prison. Charges can also be enhanced if the defendant allegedly used a weapon, force, or drugged the victim.
Fort Walton Beach Indecency with a Child Lawyer
Under Fla. Stat. 800.04, a person can be charged with the offense of indecency with a child, if he or she took part in lewd or lascivious conduct with a child. This type of offense usually falls somewhere between indecent exposure and molestation or sexual assault and includes exposing the genitals or performing a sexual act in the presence of a child. However, once the actions escalate to intentional touching, charges will usually be enhanced to molestation. Indecency with a child is charged as a second-degree felony, although this offense can be downgraded to a third-degree felony if the defendant is also a minor. Like those charged with sexual battery, defendants accused of indecency with a child cannot argue that the victim consented to the activity or that he or she had a reputation for promiscuity. Similarly, defendants are prohibited from presenting evidence that a minor lied about his or her age or that the defendant legitimately believed that the victim was an adult.
Potential Defenses Against Sex Crime Charges
No matter what type of sex crime charges you are currently facing, the state of Florida is required to establish proof of each component of the supposed crime of which you are being accused, if they wish to be able to secure a conviction. At Musca Law, we will fully examine and dispute the case that the state feels they have against you. This includes the statement of the alleged victim and any other statements from any witnesses there might have been.
A criminal defense against charges of a sexual nature is usually based on aspects of the case like:
- False accusations;
- False witness testimony;
- Flawed forensic testing techniques and results;
- Police, prosecution, or witness prejudice;
- Mistaken identity or a faulty police line-up; and/or
- Improper misleading witness interviews.
At the very heart of the majority of adult sex crime cases lies the question of consent. Our clients frequently admit to engaging in the sexual act but maintain their view that the act was consensual. Frequently, as they are questioned more and more, the story that is told to law enforcement and to attorneys by the supposed victim of this sexual act varies as the case moves closer to trial, and the possible outcome of the accusation this person is attempting to levy against you start to become very real.
Sex-related criminal acts that are perpetrated against minors are regarded as being sanctioned “strict liability” crimes. In all of these types of cases, consent is entirely irrelevant because Florida state law considers an underaged child as being incapable of understanding, and therefore giving, their consent.
Ultimately, sex crime cases usually boil down to which person’s account of the events that took place is more convincing. In most cases, there is always an occasion to demonstrate to the prosecutor that justice would be better served by creating a lesser charge and/or reducing the proposed sentence. If it is determined that the state’s argument does not support the accusations against you, then the charges against you will quite possibly be dropped or defeated at trial.
If it becomes necessary in a sex crimes case, our attorneys will consider whether or not agreeing to a plea bargain might actually be the best thing for your situation. We would, of course, make absolutely certain that you are wholly informed about the outcomes of any agreement that you might make.
Our attorneys will seek the outcome that is the most beneficial to you, no matter what the circumstances of your case happen to be. We will also see to it that you understand everything that we are doing and everything that is happening every step of the way as we move forward with your case.
Punishment for Sex Crimes in Florida
Florida state law addresses any form of sexual violence that is committed by one person against another in a number of various ways. When you come in for your free initial consultation, our sex crimes attorneys will be able to define the specific nature of the charges that have been brought against you, what they could likely imply for your future, and in what way we might be prepared to defend you once we have the opportunity to further examine the details of your specific case.
The sentences for sexual battery/rape are usually acknowledged beside other factors, like the age of the accused, the age of the alleged victim, and whether or not any aggravating circumstances were present. It is also necessary to note that, in keeping with Florida laws, every single person who is convicted of sexual battery is ordered to be identified as either a sexual predator or a sexual offender and will, therefore, be forced to comply with all of the state’s sexual predator and sexual offender registration laws for the remainder of their lives. In addition to all of this, the Adam Walsh Act dictates that anybody who is convicted of sexual battery is unfit to petition for their removal from state and/or federal sexual offender registration lists at any point in time because the character of the crime was non-consensual sexual interaction.
Regrettably, this means that if a younger teen, for example, is found guilty of the crime of sexual battery, allegations of date rape, or rape under dubious or suspicious circumstances,, they will be an identified and registered sex offender for the remainder of their life.
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that is looked upon by prosecutors, congressmen and law enforcement officials as a sort of slave trade. Human trafficking is described as the unlawful sale or trading of a human being for the financial purpose of sexual abuse or coerced labor.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center claims that there are 28 million human beings that are enslaved throughout the world, and the state of Florida ranks third in the United States for the number of calls taken each year by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s telephone hotline (1-888-373-7888).
Human trafficking in the United States principally deals with the forced sexual exploitation of children and women. Its primary targets are most commonly comprised of but not limited to:
- Teenagers who have run away from home
- People who are homeless
- Illegal immigrants
- People with substance abuse problems
- Children who are neglected and/or abused
On July 1, 2012, some changes were made to the laws surrounding the issue of human trafficking. These new, harsher laws now call for:
- Raising the classification of the crime of human smuggling from a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year of incarceration to a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years of incarceration
- Identifying people who have been convicted of human trafficking as sexual predators or sexual offenders, which inflicts long-term monitoring and certification conditions once the offender has been released from prison
- Conceding that any property that was used to facilitate human trafficking may be susceptible to seizure by law enforcement officials.
- Mandating that all massage parlor owners and employees show a valid photo ID if requested by law enforcement
Penalties For Human Trafficking
A person convicted for the crime of human trafficking will likely be sentenced to a minimum mandatory term of 21 months in state prison. The judge will also have the option to impose any of the following:
- A maximum of 30 years in state prison
- A maximum of 30 years on supervised probation
- A maximum of $10,000 in administrative fines
When the supposed victim in a human trafficking case is a minor or someone deemed to be mentally defective and the reason for the trafficking was financial gain brought on by forced sexual activity, the sentences become even greater. There will be mandatory sentencing to state prison for a duration of 66-months. The judge also has the option to add an additional sentence of any of the following:
- Life in state prison
- Life on supervised probation.
- A maximum of $10,000 in administrative fines
If you or someone that you love has been arrested and charged with rape, sexual assault, or any other type of sexual crime in Florida, the steps that you choose to take to protect yourself can determine your whole future. You should challenge sex crime charges of any type with the aid and support of a proficient and accomplished criminal defense attorney. One who will guard your rights and stay in your corner from start to finish.
The legal team here at Musca Law is able to accommodate you with a loyal team of defense attorneys and strategic defense to counter any sex crime charges that you may currently be facing. Contact us today for a realistic evaluation of your case in a free, no-obligation, no judgment initial consultation.