Key West Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
When many people think about sex crimes, they imagine the worst types of offenses, such as rape, sexual assault, and child molestation. However, the reality is that much less serious offenses actually fall under the broad category of “sex crimes.” While many of these crimes are charged as misdemeanors, and so don’t require registration on the nation’s sex offender registry, it is still important to raise a strong defense when accused of these types of offenses. For help planning your own defense strategy, please call a Key West sex crime defense attorney today.
Key West Solicitation Lawyer
Solicitation of a prostitute is one of the most commonly charged misdemeanor sex offenses and involves offering or accepting an offer to engage in sexual activity for compensation. According to Fla. Stat. 796.07, this includes inducing, enticing, procuring, requesting, and soliciting someone else to engage in:
- Lewdness; or
- Assignation, which involves making an appointment to engage in sexual activity for pay.
It is not necessary for a person to have actually been a prostitute for someone to be convicted of this offense, or even for the person being solicited to be willing or able to follow through with the arrangement. Likewise, it isn’t necessary for the parties in question to exchange money, as the offer of payment is enough to satisfy this type of charge. For these reasons, it is not uncommon for police officers to use sting operations, where undercover officers pose as prostitutes, to locate and arrest people for solicitation.
Solicitation is almost always charged as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison. However, this is usually only true in cases where the defendant is a first time offender. Otherwise, second and subsequent offenses can expect to be charged as third-degree or second-degree felonies respectively. Additionally, defendants may also be required to:
- Perform at least 100 hours of community service;
- Complete an educational class about the effects of prostitution;
- Undergo STD testing; and
- Pay a civil penalty of $5,000, in addition to any fines, to help fund safe houses and foster homes.
In the event that a defendant used a car during the attempt to solicit a sex worker, the court can order that the vehicle be impounded for 60 days. Fortunately, those who are charged with solicitation have a number of defenses at their disposal, including that law enforcement, entrapped them by convincing them to commit a crime that they would ordinarily not commit. When the person who was solicited was not an undercover officer, a defendant could also assert the defense of mistaken identity, which is especially convincing in cases where there are no photos or videos to substantiate the accusations.
Key West Voyeurism Attorney
- Secretly observe another person while he or she is in a place where that individual could reasonably expect to have privacy; or
- Secretly view someone else’s intimate areas when that individual is located in a private or public dwelling.
In most cases, these types of crimes are charged as first degree misdemeanors, unless someone is a repeat offender, or there is evidence that a defendant violated Fla. Stat. 810.145, which means that he or she:
- Intentionally used an imaging device in order to secretly view a person, without that individual’s knowledge;
- Recorded or viewed someone else while that person was privately exposing the body in a place where he or she had a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
- Recorded or viewed the person for his or her own profit, arousal, or entertainment.
Florida broadly defines imaging device in these cases to include not only still cameras and camcorders, but any mechanical, electronic, or digital viewing device, or instrument capable of transmitting, recording, or storing visual images of someone else. Those who are over the age of 19 years old and are convicted of this offense can be charged with a third-degree felony, while those who have not yet reached 19 years of age can expect to be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
There are a few exceptions to this prohibition, including when:
- An agency is conducting surveillance for a law enforcement purpose;
- A written notice that a security system is present is conspicuously posted;
- The distribution of the images was conducted by an electronic communication service provider; or
- The device was installed in an obvious way.
Charges of video voyeurism can be enhanced if the person being viewed was younger than 16 years old, or if the defendant was an adult, worked at a school, and committed the offense against a student. Defendants are prohibited from arguing that they didn’t know the age of the victim to avoid enhancement of their charges.
Common Defenses Against Sex Crimes
Consent - Consent is legally defined as “the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question.” This defense is commonly employed when it can be established that the defendant and the alleged victim already knew each other before the incident took place. The age of consent in the state of Florida is 18 years of age. This means that the consent defense will not work if the alleged victim was younger than 16 years of age when the incident in question took place.
Exceptions to this rule do exist for persons who are close in age. These exceptions enable minors who are 16 or 17 years old to consent to participate in sexual intercourse with a partner who is no older than 23 years of age. In an effort to prove that the sex act was consensual, proof in the form of sexually-charged phone calls, text messages, voicemails or emails that confirm that both persons involved have had previous sexual relations with each other may be used. There may also be witness statements that can verify that there had been previous sexual encounters between both of these people, which may be presented as evidence in an effort to show that consent really had been granted.
After a sex crime, the DNA of the perpetrator could very likely remain on the body of the victim, their clothing, or somewhere at the crime scene. DNA can be gathered from a variety of sources; for example, human hair, sweat, saliva, and skin cells may contain DNA evidence. Once identified, DNA evidence may be used to identify the offender and to determine certain aspects of the crime. Even though DNA is capable of providing substantial evidence, it is not entirely error-proof. A Key West sexual assault attorney may examine the collection method of the genetic material, the way in which it was transported, the testing methods that were used, isolation, and even the match percentage of the DNA that is being used for evidence.
Mistaken identity is when the wrong person has been identified as the one who committed the crime. A case of mistaken identity can be used as a defense against a sex crime allegation. For example, it is possible that the victim was incapable of seeing the perpetrator clearly, in which case they would be unable to accurately identify them. A Florida sexual crime attorney could also present evidence that the accused has an airtight alibi, meaning that there is no possible way that they could have been at the scene of the crime when the event took place.
If you have been charged with any manner of sexually related crime in Key West, it is in your best interest to promptly secure the services of a sex crimes criminal defense attorney. The defenses that your attorney might use very extensively, and will hinge on many factors depending upon what the exact charges are, the particular elements of your case, and whether or not you already have a criminal record.
Here at Musca Law, we understand how disastrous this situation can be for you, and we see it as our duty to assist you in navigating it with your best interests as our number one priority. of sexual misconduct can instantly ruin your good reputation and cause you to experience unpleasant difficulties long before your case is even heard at trial. We are here to protect your rights and to you. We firmly believe that you are INNOCENT until proven GUILTY, and we are here to help you establish the most powerful defense possible under Florida state law.
Monitoring Convicted Sex Offenders in Key West, Florida
The state of Florida has in place several statutes that are designed to deal with recognizing, and watching high-risk sex offenders and sexual predators who are out of jail or prison, through community supervision/probation and providing extensive criminal and supervision histories on the Internet.
The law specifies that by no later than December 1, 2005, the Department of Corrections has to have created a gradual risk evaluation that recognizes, evaluates, and closely watches any high-risk sex offender who is put on probation or in community control and who:
- Has already been put on probation or in community control and who has a tendency to commit several violations of community supervision in Florida or in any other state or who has already been jailed in Florida or in any other state
- Has encountered more than one of the mentioned risk factors that might theoretically cause the offender to be more inclined than they would usually be to present a real danger to other people:
- Any prior conviction for domestic violence
- A record of any form of substance abuse
- Lack of gainful employment or another source of major financial challenges
- Any prior conviction for sexual acts against or violent acts against children, especially strangers
- Any other risky circumstance as identified and evaluated by the department
The law goes on to declare that in order to promote this information as being easily available to the court at first appearance hearings and at all succeeding hearings for these high-risk sexual predators, the department has to have, no later than March 1, 2006, a post on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Criminal Justice Intranet a complete list of the sex offender’s previous terms of state probation and community control. This list will cover all technical and substantive infractions of community control or of state probation.
Beyond that, the county jail into which the arrested person has been booked shall guarantee that the state and national criminal record details and all criminal justice details are located in the Florida Crime Information Center. The courts must also aid the department’s distribution of these details by developing and sustaining an automated system to store the criminal history as defined by the laws and by implementing the required technology to provide that information in a courtroom setting.
Mandatory Registration as a Sex Offender in Key West
The state of Florida legally requires that all sex offenders and sexual predators abide by several sex offender registration conditions, including:
- Arriving in person to the sheriff’s office to file within 48 hours of either
- Establishing a temporary or permanent residence in the state of Florida
- Being released from jail or prison
- Physically going to register at a local branch of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 48 hours of initial registration with the sheriff’s office
- Physically showing up to the sheriff’s office to re-register in the following circumstances:
- Twice annually as legally required for all sex offenders
- Four times annually as legally required for all sexual predators, special case sex offenders, as well as all juvenile sexual offenders
- Once every 30 days for any sex offender or sexual predator who has only provided information for a transient residence
- Reporting any new or changed information like a new address, phone number, place of employment etc. since the last time you registered.
If you or someone that you love has been arrested and charged with a sexually motivated crime in the Key West area of Florida, particularly one involving an underage child, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation from one of the proficient and licensed sex crimes criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law as soon as you are able to do so.
Our Key West sex crimes defense attorneys offer a free, no-obligation, and confidential initial consultation with potential clients, from which we will be better able to advise you on your smartest course of legal action. Don’t hesitate to call us today!