Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
How to Beat a Sex Crime Charge in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida (FL)
In Florida, sex crimes are amongst the most culturally stigmatized and usually carry incredibly harsh penalties, such as jail time, monetary fines, and more. Those suspected of perpetrating a sex-related crime in the State of Florida who cooperate with law enforcement without the assistance of a skilled Florida sex crime defense lawyer are damaging their defense – regardless of whether they are innocent or guilty.
At Musca Law, our hardworking Florida sex crime defense attorneys are aware of the strategies used by detectives and prosecutors to prove their cases. Our firm has effectively safeguarded our clients every step in the process.
Understand that vice and law enforcement investigators often misrepresent an accused’s statements and twist their words in order to obtain a conviction. Investigators will also tend to overlook exculpatory evidence that is favorable to the accused. This is why your case needs a competent Florida criminal defense lawyer from Musca Law who can develop the strongest possible defense strategy on your behalf. Contact Musca Law 24/7 at (904) 610-6545 to learn more about your legal rights and options. You may also stop by our local office located at 630 W Adams St #205, Jacksonville, FL 32204.
Even though suspects accused of committing a sex crime are deemed innocent until proven guilty, defendants often feel helpless and that they have no chance of being acquitted. However, sex crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Jacksonville, and a conviction will result in severe consequences, including jail time, lengthy probation, public scorn, loss of reputation, loss of privacy, and being labeled a sex offender for the rest of your life to name a few. In addition, combatting social stigma is a major obstacle. It is important to understand that if you are being charged with any type of sex crime, you have legal rights, the same rights afforded to individuals facing criminal charges in Florida.
Sex crimes are the most socially stigmatized and prosecuted criminal offenses in Florida, where the law allows convicted offenders to be subject to the strictest and most draconian penalties. A person convicted of a sex offense will face imprisonment, the inability to obtain employment, housing, or a bank loan, lifetime sex offender registration, irreparable social stigma, involuntary commitment to a civil treatment center, and probation that significantly limits his or her freedom.
At Musca Law, our skilled Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Lawyers represent those facing the following sex offense charges:
- Sexual battery;
- Sexual assault;
- Aggravated sexual battery;
- Lewd, wanton, or lascivious acts;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Indecent exposure;
- Sex offender registration offenses;
- Child pornography;
- Child molestation;
- Child sex crimes; and
- Human sex trafficking.
When someone is charged with or convicted of a sex crime, they face irreparable public ridicule and scorn. Even so, they are afforded the same constitutional rights provided to those facing other criminal charges. In fact, a defendant is entitled to an attorney to represent their interests, which is crucial in sex offense cases that are heavily prosecuted in Jacksonville, Florida.
If you or a loved one are being accused of a sex crime in Jacksonville, Florida, it is crucial that you speak with one of our skilled Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Lawyers at Musca Law to learn more about your legal options, possible defenses, and your legal rights. You can call us 24/7 at (904) 610-6545 to receive your free and completely confidential case consultation. Don’t wait, as your livelihood and freedom are at stake! You may also stop by our local office located at 630 W Adams St #205, Jacksonville, FL 32204.
What is the Definition of a Sex Crime?
A “sex crime” pertains to any criminal act that involves some sort of sexual activity. Crimes that involve sexual activity in Florida include:
- Child-related sex crimes
- Lewd, wanton and lascivious acts
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Human trafficking
- Dissemination or possession of obscene matter
- Child pornography
- Statutory rape
Florida law imposes harsh penalties for those accused of a sex-related crime. The penalties depend upon the type of offense, how many charges the accused is facing, and his or her prior criminal record.
In general, the types of penalties that apply to sex crimes may include:
- Monetary fines
- Mandatory mental health treatment
- House arrest
- Sex offender registration
- Community service
- Indefinite civil commitment
If you or a loved one are being accused of a sex crime in Jacksonville, Florida, it is important that you contact our Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options. You can call us 24/7 at (904) 610-6545 to schedule your free and completely confidential case consultation. Don’t wait, as your livelihood and freedom are at stake! You may also stop by our local office located at 630 W Adams St #205, Jacksonville, FL 32204.
Sex-Related Criminal Behavior in Jacksonville, Florida
Florida law provides definitions of a variety of different sex-related crimes, which are as follows:
Prostitution – Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 796.07, prostitution-related activities and the soliciting of a prostitute is forbidden in Florida. The statute also criminalizes those who operate houses of ill repute and massage parlors where its workers perform sexual acts for money. Property rental agreements involving real estate to be used for such purposes are also violations of Florida law. Moreover, according to Florida Statute 796.07, coercing others to engage in prostitution is illegal in Florida, as well as profiting from acts of prostitution, which is also known colloquially as "pimping."
Sexual battery – There are many types of criminal offenses that fall under the umbrella of sexual battery. These sex crimes are defined under Florida Statutes Sections 794 and 800. Sexual battery includes statutory rape, rape, sexual assault, as well as indecent assault. Which penalties may apply are presented under Florida Section 794 and are determined based on the individual facts of the case, such as the victim's age and the age of the alleged offender. Other potential aggravating factors could come into play, as well. For example, those who use a weapon during the commission of sexual battery will face more severe repercussions.
Under the applicable law, sexual battery includes anal, vaginal, or oral penetration and/or union with the sex organ of another person or the penetration of one of the areas as mentioned earlier with an object without the consent of the alleged victim. Consent that is given due to undue force or duress is not considered under the law as freely given. Additionally, a person does not need to fight back or resist for the law to determine consent was not freely given for a sexual act.
Lewdness and indecent exposure – Lewdness, according to Florida Statutes Chapter 800, is an offense associated with sexual battery, as it is defined in Chapter 794. Under Florida Statutes Section 800.04, it prescribes the punishments for people who engage in sexual acts with a minor who is under sixteen years of age but older than twelve. This offense is referred to as statutory rape under the relevant law. It is not a legitimate defense against charges for this crime to assume that the child was old enough to consent, even if the child's age was understated to the accused.
The statute also provides the consequences for those convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct or lewd molestation in instances where the accused makes contact with the sexual organs without that person's consent. Section 800.04 also makes it a crime to expose one's genitals in public.
Exposing minors to harmful sexual material – Chapter 847 of the Florida statute says that it is a third-degree felony to show obscene material to minors. Section 847.001 defines "obscene" as "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."
Florida´s “The Jimmy Ryce Act”
Florida enacted a law that authorizes the state to hold certain sex offenders in custody indefinitely. In Florida, that law is known as “The Jimmy Ryce Act.” The Jimmy Ryce Act was passed in 1999 and is found in §394.912 of the Florida Statutes. The state will file a civil lawsuit instead of criminal charges to prove that the individual who will be freed from prison after completing a long sentence for a sexually motivated crime should be involuntarily housed in the Florida Civil Commitment Center because the person has a mental defect which makes him or her a danger to reenter society as a sexual predator.
In other words, the Jimmy Ryce Act (the “Act”) asks for the involuntary confinement of violent sex offenders who have a personality disorder or a mental abnormality that makes them more likely to engage in future acts of sex-related violence. In essence, this Jimmy Ryce Act involves the confinement of people for crimes that they have not committed. The civil action arising pursuant to the Jimmy Ryce Act is started following a review by the Florida Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Children and Families, and state attorneys.
The Jimmy Ryce Act aims to give recidivists (repeat offenders) intensive mental health therapy before being released into society. About 700 sex offenders are housed by the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, Florida. The law has been the subject of numerous constitutional challenges; however, this form of indefinite civil commitment was upheld in 1997 by the United States Supreme Court in Kansas v. Hendricks. Furthermore, the Legislature of the State of Florida has strengthened the Jimmy Ryce Act, which makes it more difficult for sex offenders to be timely released back into society. This means is that the Jimmy Ryce Act is not going anywhere anytime soon, causing sex offenders to confront many challenges, especially if they have a prior criminal record.
Undercover Sting Operations in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Police officers in Florida regularly engage in undercover sting operations to infiltrate groups who they think are engaged in acts of human trafficking, prostitution rings, and street-level sexual conduct. Accordingly, several people have discovered themselves at the center of an undercover sting administered by law enforcement.
There are several scenarios in which police officers may engage in undercover sting operations. For instance, law enforcement officers frequently pose as children and try to instigate chats with alleged offenders on the Internet. A female police officer can pretend to be a prostitute to engage “johns” as part of a sex sting operation. Additionally, police can post false advertisements online to draw in people who solicit the services of a prostitute or to distribute child pornography.
Those who are accused of a sex crime in Florida and were caught in the sting may be able to mount a defense alleging they were entrapped by law enforcement, which is a violation of a person’s right to Due Process. According to Florida Statutes Section 777.201, the elements of entrapment are defined. That section defines entrapment as happening when “[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.”
In Florida entrapment cases, a defendant must prove the only reason they engaged in the sex crime was because of law enforcement's attempts to carry out an entrapment. An acquittal happens if the defendant is able to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard in showing that they were entrapped by law enforcement.
The ultimate judgement is left to the trier of fact, who may be a judge or a jury.
CODIS – The Combined DNA Index System
The Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, is a criminal database that is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The database holds the DNA profiles of those convicted of crimes, including sex-based criminal offenses, in addition to the DNA profiles of those who investigators believe committed a crime if the investigators were able to obtain their biological samples.
CODIS authorizes law enforcement to upload specimens collected from unknown people to the database and compare them with others existing in the system to ascertain whether there are any matches in the system. If a match is discovered, a crime scene technician must collect a sample from the person whose matching DNA profile emerged from the CODIS and compare it with the alleged offender’s specimen obtained at a crime scene so that a presiding judge will allow such evidence in the accused’s trial.
CODIS has been demonstrated to be an effective tool for criminal investigators. When a match happens, the evidence seems quite compelling, which frequently results in the judge ruling that the DNA evidence is undeniable. In many criminal cases, though, the science is flawed. Precisely, those who examine the DNA may make an error or even manufacture test results. Accordingly, anyone who is facing criminal charges related to sex-based offenses should closely examine all of the evidence and, with the help of an experienced Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Attorney, develop the strongest defense strategy feasible.
The Prosecution of Sexual Offenses in Jacksonville, Florida
In Jacksonville, many criminal cases involving accusations of sexual abuse, despite a lack of physical evidence, are usually brought to trial, regardless of whether the investigation was satisfactory. Prosecutors and judges alike often have prejudices that are directed toward those indicted of a sex-based crime. In some sex crimes cases, law enforcement will quickly investigate the accusations to prevent it from remaining open. This can result in the wrong person being arrested and charged with a sexual offense.
One common issue that often causes difficulties in a sex offense case is what is known as "Delayed Disclosure." Delayed Disclosure occurs when a victim informs another person of what purportedly occurred long after the alleged incident occurred.
A lot of prosecutors usually believe that the alleged victim of a sexual-based offense is always truthful. Regrettably, this is not always the case. Many people have incorrect recollections, hold grudges, or have biases that undermine their judgment of certain people. Such circumstances mean that false allegations can be made against other persons. This is exactly why their stories must be challenged, and the witness must be cross-examined. This is also why a person facing criminal allegations of sexual abuse must engage in an intense and meticulous investigation of the case before a trial commences. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will aid the alleged offender in such efforts and rigorously cross-examine every witness brought by the prosecution.
Being falsely accused of a sex crime has severe consequences for the life of the suspect, which could affect their status at work, position in the community, and family life. Even if a person is exonerated, just the accusations alone can dramatically alter one's reputation, as suspicions usually linger.
Stages of a Sex Crimes Case in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
If the magistrate consents to release the defendant on bond, then you can begin working on your Sex Crime case. There are several phases to your case, and you will go through each of them in turn. Each phase of your case has the potential to dramatically change your life, for better or for worse, based on how effectively each phase was managed. Our sex crime defense attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida, know each step and the various avenues that exist for challenging your criminal charge, and our attorneys will be able to guide you confidently through this entire process:
Arraignment - Our Jacksonville law firm will draft and file a "Notice of Appearance" document on your behalf. With a plea of not guilty, you will not be required to appear at your arraignment in almost all instances.
Preliminary Hearing - The next step in your case is the preliminary hearing. This hearing happens before formal charges are filed. There are two different types of preliminary hearings. One is an adversarial hearing. In an adversarial hearing, supplementary facts and evidence are assembled in an effort to stop the criminal charges from being filed. In order to be awarded this sort of hearing, your Sex Crime attorney must file a notice asking for one within 21 days following your arrest. This is one of the reasons why immediately retaining a Sex Crime attorney is so important. The second type of preliminary hearing is also known as a bond hearing. This type of hearing necessitates a restrained amount of testimony and is required to discharge a defendant from jail. The amount of the accused's bail bond is set during this preliminary hearing.
Pretrial Motions - These motions are employed to collect information so that your lawyer may be granted a dismissal for your case, negotiate a plea deal, or arrange a less harsh sentence with the prosecutor. These are all tactics that are regularly used to keep you in the safest possible position while decisions that will affect the result of your Sex Crime case are still being made.
Discovery - Discovery is the process in which your lawyer will obtain copies of any evidence used against you. Generally speaking, this could include items such as videos, lab reports, witness statements, and more. Your Sex Crime attorney will carefully review all of this evidence to prepare your defensive tactics and ensure an optimal result for your Sex Crime case.
Pretrial or case management - After the discovery phase is over, the pretrial motions will be filed, and any relevant deadlines will be put into motion. A trial date will also be established at this time.
Pretrial motions - Pretrial motions are a remarkably valuable part of your criminal defense process because they can result in a deal. It is essential to your case's success to understand that the prosecution must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you committed the crime. Mistakes are commonly made when law enforcement officers conduct their investigations. Your Sex Crime Defense attorney will carefully examine the evidence for any errors and ensure that the burden of proof is placed fully on the prosecution. Your attorney will also look at the circumstances surrounding your arrest and make certain that all appropriate methods were followed and that the law enforcement officers met all legal obligations. When errors are discovered, your acquittal becomes far more possible.
Plea bargains or trial - Once all relevant motions have been filed and the judge has passed down all the rulings, it is determined whether to enter a plea or go ahead with a trial. When you enter plea discussions, you are asking that the prosecuting attorney make a reasonable offer in exchange for not having to be dragged through a lengthy, expensive, and arduous trial. Most of the time your Sex Crime lawyer can renegotiate any expensive fines to be switched over to hours of community service instead.
Trial and sentencing - At Musca Law, our sex crimes defense attorneys work their hardest to reach a reasonable and equitable outcome for our clients so that a trial will not be needed. In the event that a trial is required, we always apply our experience, knowledge, and skill to the trial process. With our trial attorneys' extensive years of prior involvement in courtroom environments, they are entirely acquainted with each court's approach and the court personnel and the judges that will be there. A Florida attorney from Musca Law will work until the matter is settled to make sure your sentencing is minimal and that the whole ordeal passes as quickly and as painlessly as possible for you.
Challenging the Credibility of the “Victim”
Many officers and prosecutors "rush to judgment" quickly upon hearing the victim's side of the story. Not everyone who claims to be a sexual assault victim is a victim. While some accusers disclose their stories with gut-wrenching certainty, others might gloss over or hide facts that cast doubt on their credibility.
The credibility of the accuser is often the crux of the case. The prosecutor will win a conviction if the jury believes the accuser, especially when the victim did not reveal the abuse until after it is over. Decades could pass between when the crime transpired and when the victim discloses. In these sorts of criminal cases, often called "delayed disclosure cases," too much time has passed to collect evidence like hair, semen, blood, or DNA. These items do not survive intact forever. Without that evidence, the government must ask the jury to convict the defendant solely on the victim's account. The victim would appear to be more believable if they had a valid reason to delay disclosure, such as fear or lack of a trusted person to tell.
The best defense for sex crimes in Florida will depend upon the particular case's nature, facts, and circumstances. Only a Florida sex crime defense attorney with tremendous experience and a documented history of success has the knowledge, skill, and determination to investigate the case and develop a multi-tiered defense that will produce the best result. The best defense in one case might not carry any weight in another.
Casting uncertainty on the credibility of the accuser is crucial to winning an acquittal after trial for a Florida sex crime in delayed disclosure cases. A meticulous investigation conducted by the defense can reveal that the victim had a motive to lie, that the victim had a bias against the accused, or that the victim is outright lying.
Many of the same issues that surface in delayed disclosure cases also arise in cases dubbed "date rapes." Date rape is an incident that involves two people who are known to each other. Frequently, the defense in date rape cases does not involve disproving sexual contact. Most cases of date rape cases involve the issue of consent.
Consent to engage in sexual contact must be freely given and may be revoked at any time. Thus, the central issue in date rape cases concerns the credibility of the complainant and whether she or he freely consented to the sexual act or withdrew consent. Some cases involve the issue of whether the alleged victim could legally consent to sex at all.
A minor has no legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse, even if she or he verbally consents. The words are meaningless if the person is not old enough. This scenario is commonly referred to as statutory rape. Moreover, drugging another to have sex or have sex with a person so intoxicated that the individual cannot make a rational decision to consent to sex is rape.
In these cases, the credibility of the alleged victim is the lynchpin of the case. Constructing a solid defense can expose the weakness in the government's case and lead to the accused winning an acquittal.
Scientific evidence could play a significant role in sexual assault cases in Florida. When a person is sexually violated by a stranger, the only evidence of identification might be DNA. If the offender let a sample behind, then the government will build a case to eliminate all other possible people as suspects, leaving the person matched to the sample as the guilty party. The vast majority of jurors are overwhelmed by DNA and other scientific evidence. In fact, many lawyers and judges also lack the knowledge to understand DNA completely. Defense in a sexual assault in that instance could focus on the validity of the scientific process, the collection of evidence, the preservation of evidence, and the validity of the test and results.
Defense Against Allegations of Solicitation in Jacksonville
An individual accused of engaging in any solicitation acts can raise the defense of withdrawal, also referred to as renunciation under Florida law. Under Florida Statutes Section 777.04(5)(a)-(c), if the accused abandoned their endeavor to engage in the criminal act, or prevented such an act from taking place, then they may properly raise the defense of renunciation. It also applies when the accused convinced another individual not to engage in the alleged offense, or after taking part in a conspiracy with another person or persons planning to commit the crime, then persuaded such individuals not to commit the crime. If this defense is to apply, the person must have wholly and voluntarily withdrawn from engaging in any kind of criminal activity.
Defense of Sex Crimes Charges in the State of Florida
A person charged with a sexually motivated crime in Florida might feel like the case is over before it begins. The alleged perpetrator of a sex crime will most likely face a long, hard prison term if found guilty, in addition to the social stigma attached to a sex crime. Although presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt according to the interpretation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the person facing sex crimes in Florida might feel like the constitution does not apply in his or her case. In other words, the person charged with a sex crime might feel like he or she carries the burden to prove himself or herself innocent, instead of the prosecution carrying the burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Police investigators and prosecutors are highly sympathetic to victims of sexual assault. They should be. Victims of sexual assault, both female and male, can suffer life-long psychological and emotional damage. Victims often experience self-loathing, suffer suicidal ideations, and develop a negative self-image as adults.
Child sexual assault victims are even more vulnerable. Child victims are nearly always victimized by someone in a position of trust, whether that be in the child’s family, school, religious community, or social community. Child victims of sexual assault frequently suffer insurmountable trust issues later in life. They might even be so damaged that they become perpetrators themselves. In short, child victims of sexual assault have their innocence ripped away from them. Once gone, innocence will never be recovered, and their opportunity to live a “normal” life is gone forever.
Those accused of sex offenses are innocent until proven guilty. However, they must aggressively fight to establish their innocence. Both the prosecution and judges often favor the accuser in sex offense cases. The primary way to defend the accused is to devise a powerful offense. This means working on assembling exculpatory evidence (evidence in favor of the accused) that supports an accused’s innocence, as well as their integrity, credibility, and motives.
If possible, an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney starts with a pre-filing investigation prior to when charges are filed. It is typically easier to persuade the prosecutor not to file charges than to convince him or her to dismiss the charges once they have been filed.
An experienced Florida sex crimes defense attorney also examines all aspects of the accused’s story in looking for potential weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. He or she also combs through the methods used by investigators to ascertain whether any evidence was obtained in violation of an accused’s Fourth Amendment right against an unlawful search and seizure.
The defenses that may be available depending upon the unique set of facts and circumstances of each case. At Musca Law, we are committed to aggressively fighting to safeguard the legal rights and interests of each client.
Defending Against and Jacksonville Sexual Violence Injunction is Critical
The defense against the issuing of a sexual violence injunction in Jacksonville, Florida, is comparable to the process of defending against criminal charges. In many situations, a defendant who faces a sexual violence injunction might also be subject to criminal charges for sexual violence.
When the respondent faces a sexual violence injunction in Jacksonville, an attorney will pursue a number of steps which may include, without limitation, the following:
- Examine the allegations advanced by the petitioner in the petition;
- Review all of the evidence presented by the petitioner;
- Get accounts made by witnesses;
- Determine whether a criminal case exists concerning the sexual violence claims raised by the petitioner;
- Identify who will be the presiding judge is in the case and review their prior decisions;
- Ascertain whether the respondent has been convicted of crimes in the past; and
- Determine whether the petitioner has made prior false claims.
If a petition does not meet the qualifications of a sexual violence injunction in Florida, the respondent's attorney can present such an argument during the final hearing. If the petitioner's statements are untrue or misleading, the lawyer for the respondent can present evidence to the court evidencing the same. While an attorney cannot always obtain a favorable result, having a skilled attorney can dramatically increase the chances that a respondent will achieve a denial of the injunction.
Penalties Resulting from Sex Crime Convictions in Jacksonville, Florida
Florida Statutes Section 775.082 provides the guidelines for sentencing a convict in a sex offense in Florida. The applicable punishments in one’s case are based on whether the crime qualifies as a misdemeanor or a felony. Some sex offenses, such as soliciting a prostitute, will constitute a misdemeanor associated with a one-year jail term for those convicted for the first time. The offender could qualify to undergo a diversion program, which depends upon numerous factors, including if the individual has a prior criminal record. Notwithstanding, those convicted of engaging in sexual activities with a minor that led to bodily injuries or death will face a life sentence without the possibility of parole or even the death penalties. Other sex offenses carry with them a life term of imprisonment without any possibility of parole or a term for many years. After individuals have served their time in prison, they will endure a probationary period lasting for a specified amount of time, depending upon the sex crime they were convicted of.
Additional Repercussions Associated with a Sex-Based Offense in Jacksonville, Florida
Many sex crimes in Florida require an individual to register as a sex offender in the county of their jurisdiction. An individual's obligation to be listed on a sex offender registry is deemed a separate requirement from any probationary period that is imposed upon them. Keep in mind that the presiding judge in one's criminal case can also find that the alleged offender is a sexual predator, which requires reporting as a sex offender.
The Florida Sexual Predators Act dictates that it has the purpose of seeking to stop sex-based offenders from engaging in additional acts of sexual violence. This means that the act requires an offender to register as a sex offender and, in certain instances, may also prevent him or her from using the internet. Additionally, the statute requires public notification of the sex offender.
Florida Statutes Section 775.215 states that a sex offender can be restricted as to locations where they are permitted to reside. For example, a person who is subject to this statute must live a minimum of 1,000 feet away from a park, school, or daycare.
Our Jacksonville sex crime defense attorneys understand that sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses that a person can be charged with, although the severity of individual crimes vary significantly. For instance, indecent exposure and solicitation are considered misdemeanor crimes, while sexual assault and video voyeurism are charged as felonies.
Jacksonville Child Pornography Lawyers
In Florida, the possession, distribution, manufacture, production, promotion, and transmission of child pornography is unlawful. However, before a person can be convicted of one of these offenses, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant was aware of the nature of the images in question and that the images actually qualify as child pornography and are not child erotica. It is also not uncommon for those who are accused of one child pornography-related offense to be charged with another, such as using a child in a sexual performance.
Solicitation Crime Lawyers in Jacksonville
Solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor crime in Florida, in which a person can be convicted of this offense for entering into a transaction with another party where compensation is offered in exchange for sexual activity. This is true even if the other party was not actually a sex worker and did not intend to go through with the transaction, but was an undercover police officer. These types of sting operations are not limited to actual in-person transactions, as law enforcement officials often use internet stings to investigate computer sex crimes. If communication with an undercover police officer who is posing as a minor takes place, the other party could also be charged with solicitation of a minor, which comes with more severe penalties. Although defendants cannot argue that they were unaware of the other party’s age, they are permitted to provide evidence of entrapment to avoid conviction.
Jacksonville Child Molestation Lawyers
Under Fla. Stat. 800.04, any type of sexual contact with a minor that is lewd or lascivious in nature is unlawful. This includes not only inappropriate touching but also non-physical sexual acts. Defendants who are convicted of this offense are usually required to register as sex offenders, making it especially important to raise a strong defense from the outset of legal proceedings.
Sexual Assault Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida
Unlike sexual battery, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography-related crimes, sexual assault is not clearly defined. As a result, a wide range of sexual conduct falls under the broad charge of sexual assault, including any sexual act committed without the other party’s consent. Consent is a key element in these types of prosecutions, as defendants who can prove that their accuser actually did knowingly and voluntarily consent to sexual activity cannot be convicted of sexual assault.
Jacksonville Lewd and Lascivious Crime Attorneys
Defendants whose alleged actions do not qualify as sexual assault are often charged under the state’s lewd and lascivious crime statutes, which prohibit a wide range of conduct considered lascivious, including lewd exhibition, conduct, battery, and molestation. While most of the state’s lewd and lascivious crime laws apply only to minors, adults can also be charged for non-consensual activity with other adults if prosecutors can demonstrate that their actions constitute lewd or lascivious behavior or acts. Even when both parties are minors, a person can be charged with this offense, although judges are permitted to take a defendant’s age into account during sentencing.
Sexual Battery Lawyers in Jacksonville
Under Fla. Stat. 794.011, sexual battery is strictly defined as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ or another object. Sexual activity that does not reach this level of severity doesn’t always qualify as sexual battery and could be charged under the lewd and lascivious statutes. When the victim of the alleged battery is not a minor, defendants are permitted to provide evidence of the other individual’s consent in order to avoid conviction.
Jacksonville Indecent Exposure / Exposure of Sexual Organ Lawyers
Indecent exposure, like solicitation and other minor sex offenses, is usually charged as a misdemeanor, unless the witness was underage. Furthermore, if there were no witnesses to the exposure, a person can only be convicted if the action occurred in a public place. Even in these cases, however, prosecutors must still demonstrate that the exhibition was done with lewd or lascivious intent to obtain a conviction.
Voyeurism Lawyers in Jacksonville
Voyeurism does not involve allegations of actual physical contact between two people but is instead limited to situations where one party is accused of secretly watching another person expose him or herself in a place where that individual could expect privacy. As with most sex offenses, intent is crucial to voyeurism prosecutions, as defendants can only be convicted if they viewed the other person in order to satisfy their own sexual desire.
Internet Sex Crimes
Twenty years ago, there was no such thing as internet sex crimes. It is now, however, a rapidly expanding area of crime, one that is continually evolving. If you find yourself up against a charge that includes an internet sex crime, then you will want to hire an attorney who is current on Florida state laws and federal internet sex crime laws as well. The sex crimes attorneys here at Musca Law firm have previously represented other clients who found themselves facing charges dealing with internet sex crimes ever since this area of the law was developed.
Musca Law firm has a well-organized internet sex crimes defense legal team that assists clients all through the Jacksonville, Florida area. We manage a wide array of criminal defense issues that cover drug charges, sex crimes, domestic violence issues, drunk driving charges and more.
Entrapment Defense and Internet Sex Crimes
Our internet sex crimes attorneys make a point of keeping current with the relevant laws and the expanding collection of laws on issues such as entrapment, as well as the defenses used against entrapment. They grasp the nuanced variations on how evidence can be presented, evidence such as text messages, instant messages, pictures, webcam images, and pictures. Our criminal defense attorneys are also well aware of the various ways in which social media is able to play a role in your case and what the appropriate defenses are to legal concerns like entrapment.
During the time we have been in practice, our legal team has had notable achievements in assisting people who have been charged with crimes such as lewd and lascivious conduct, the possession of child pornography, the prostitution of a minor child, and more.
Production of Child Pornography
There are laws in the state of Florida that make the creation and advertisement of any representation which the state considers to be child pornography highly unlawful. Any person who deliberately creates, manages, or advertises any material or action which involves any form of sexual behavior by a minor child who is less than 18 years of age will find themselves looking at second-degree felony charges. In Florida, second-degree felonies are penalized by as long as 15 years in state prison, 15 years of supervised probation, and as much as a $10,000 fine levied against them.
It is also unlawful to even be found in possession of any material that portrays any sexual action or behavior by a child with the express intention of selling it. Being in possession of three or more copies of this type of pornographic material will open the doors for the federal government of the United States to make the argument that the pornographic material in question was owned by you with the intention of selling or otherwise distributing it. This criminal act is also a second-degree felony, and as such can be penalized with as long as 15 years in state prison, 15 years of supervised probation, and as much as a $10,000 fine levied against you.
United States federal law allows for even longer prison sentences in cases of the publicity or advertising of any form of child pornography. Any person who ends up being convicted of their first offense of providing publicity or advertising for pornographic images or movies featuring or including underage children will face a compulsory minimum incarceration in state prison of as little as 5 years and, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, could face incarceration for as long as 20 years. A second conviction of the distribution of child pornography requires a minimum of 15 years in state prison, with the possibility of a sentence of as long as 40 years.
If you or someone you know is facing a criminal charge of producing child pornography or distributing child pornography, then it is imperative that you speak with an experienced child sex crimes attorney. Our attorneys from the Musca Law offices in Jacksonville, Florida are very experienced in defending our clients against the especially heinous allegations of producing or distributing any child pornography. Please give our offices a call so that we can schedule your confidential, no-obligation consultation today. This is no time to wait.
Being convicted of a sexually motivated crime can have a lifelong domino effect of negative consequences. Registration as a sex offender or as a sexual predator, depending on your crime, is mandatory in the state of Florida, as well as every other state in America. In the majority of communities throughout the United States, a registered sex offender is not allowed to reside in any neighborhood that is near a school, a park, or a playground. Even just being accused of a sexually motivated crime could easily destroy a person’s hard-earned status within the community. These accusations are also very likely to lead to job loss, and even destroy your family connections. The consequences of a sex crime charge are practically limitless. It will adversely affect your life in ways that you cannot even fathom until it actually happens to you. Even a person who is completely innocent can suffer from the negative blowback from these types of damaging allegations.
Anyone who finds themselves the target of a sex crime investigation will need a skilled criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville with plenty of experience in defending clients against sex crimes. Any contact that is established by law enforcement or by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services should be supervised by that same competent legal counsel. Law enforcement may conduct their own inquiry without ever informing the subject of their investigation. In other words, you could be investigated for sex crimes without even knowing about it. If the allegations are stated by a minor, then those allegations will be confidential and the person against whom the allegations are made will not even be cognizant of the investigation surrounding him/her. It is critical that you seek adequate legal representation as quickly as possible, if you suspect being under investigation or already have charges levied against you.
Misinterpretations of something that a child said can sometimes lead to false allegations of sexual molestation against an adult. Unfortunately, accusations regarding sex crimes are also all too often the outcome of personal hostility or a vendetta between two people. A common example of this is cases of non-amicable divorce where the estranged parent is desperately looking for a way to hang onto their child. The personal conflict between the two parents can, sadly, often result in accusations of sexual molestation against one of them. In cases such as this, the Florida Department of Children and Families is compelled by law to look into any and all allegations of sexual assault and communicate their findings to their superiors and to law enforcement as well. In some unfortunate cases, the investigation could be carried out by a lazy and/or prejudiced investigator who has the power to make his examinations last for weeks or sometimes months before any formal result is given, leaving you and your future in a state of limbo. These accusations could even be built on the careless words of a young and susceptible child who is simply doing what the hostile parent has instructed them or coerced them into doing. Having a qualified and seasoned criminal defense attorney in your corner during this difficult and frightening time will make a world of difference in the outcome of your case and in the rest of your life.
At Musca Law, we endeavor to keep our clients apprised of any and all developments as their case progresses, in order to ensure that they get ongoing legal counsel and direction at every step of their legal journey. Furthermore, we recognize the emotional damage that a criminal charge places on you and on your loved ones as well. We engage all of our clients with courtesy, non-judgment, and respect. We are here to help you achieve the best outcome to a bad situation that we possibly can. Please call our Jacksonville office today at (904) 610-6545 to receive your free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys to determine how our legal services could most benefit you.
Choose an Experienced Jacksonville Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
Even when the evidence appears to favor the state, there exist several options to ask for a dismissal or reduction of the criminal charges, as well as a potential reduction of the penalties.
A qualified Florida defense attorney with experience handling sex crime cases is fully aware of the applicable laws as well as has adept negotiation skills and proven trial experience.
The attorneys at Musca Law work zealously to safeguard the interests and rights of individuals facing sex crime-related charges. We are aware of the fact that those accused of a sex crime often experience embarrassment, shame, and also, fear about their future. Our legal professionals offer non-judgmental and confidential legal representation. Otten times, allegations raised by alleged victims cannot be proven given that they are misrepresented or completely untrue.
Musca Law: Aggressive Advocates for Our Clients Accused of Sex Crimes
If you or a family member have been accused of a sex crime in Jacksonville, Florida, you need an aggressive and skilled Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Attorney from Musca Law. Together, our attorneys have over 150 years of combined criminal defense experience. Our trial attorneys represent those accused of the most serious criminal offenses, including murder and sex crimes.
The lawyers at Musca Law are:
- Listed on The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers;
- 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense representation; and
- Have a Perfect 10.0 Superb AVVO.com rating.
Our attorneys are diligent, dedicated, and tenacious about our representation of our clients. Our lawyers strive to uncover every weakness in the government’s cases and to construct the best defense strategy. Musca Law’s record of success both in court and out of the courtroom speaks for itself. Don’t wait to contact us, as your freedom and livelihood are at stake.
A conviction can carry with it heavy, life-altering consequences. Don’t risk your future. Reach out to a Jacksonville defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your name and reputation.
Our lines are open 24/7. Call Musca Law today at (904) 610-6545.
Jacksonville Office Location
630 W Adams St #205
Jacksonville, FL 32204
88HM+PM Downtown, Jacksonville, FL, United States
Jacksonville Office Location
88HM+PM Downtown, Jacksonville, FL, United States
Get your case started by calling us at (904) 610-6545 today!