New Port Richey Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
Sex crimes, like any other criminal offense, vary in severity, so it is important for those who have been accused of a sex offense to have a thorough understanding of the elements of the specific offense with which they have been charged. An experienced New Port Richey sex crime defense lawyer can prove crucial in this endeavor, as this tends to be a particularly complex area of the law.
New Port Richey Sexting Lawyer
One of the lesser known offenses that falls under the broad category of “sex crimes,” is sexting. This term is used to describe the taking and sending of explicit photographs or videos via computer or another electronic device. Although this type of conduct is not unlawful when it involves two consenting adults, it is illegal under Fla. Stat. 847.0141 for two minors to engage in the same behavior. However, in order to qualify as a “sext,” the image must depict nudity and be harmful to minors, which means that it primarily appeals to a prurient interest, is patently offensive, and is without serious political, artistic, scientific, or literary value.
Unlike other sex crimes involving depictions of sexual conduct, a person accused of sexting will only be charged with a single offense even if multiple images were sent, as long as they were all delivered within the same 24 hours. Furthermore, it is not only the individual who sent the sext who can be convicted of this offense but also the person who received it, unless that individual can provide evidence that he or she immediately reported the image and did not participate in sending it to anyone else.
Fortunately, the sexting law, which is aimed at minors, is primarily geared towards helping teens understand the seriousness of this type of conduct. For this reason, initial violations of the sexting law are considered non-criminal in nature, although offenders may also be required to complete community service, pay a small fine, and successfully complete a cyber safety program. Second violations, however, are charged as first degree misdemeanors, and so are punishable by up to a year in prison. In the event that the person sending the explicit photo is over the age of 18 years old, he or she could be charged with the possession and transmission of child pornography.
New Port Richey Indecent Exposure Attorney
Another lesser-known Florida sex offense is indecent exposure, which involves allegations of displaying, exposing, or exhibiting one’s sexual organs in public, actions that are prohibited under Fla. Stat. 800.03. In fact, a person can be convicted of this offense even if he or she was not on public property, but was on or in close proximity to another person’s private property. However, before a person can be convicted, prosecutors must also prove that he or she not only intended to expose him or herself but also did so in a lewd or lascivious manner. Proving that someone was offended by the act is one of the best ways to establish this intent, although even this is not necessary if the exposure occurred in public. Indecent exposure is a first-degree misdemeanor, although it can be charged as a second-degree felony when a defendant is over 18 years of age, and the person who witnessed the exposure is under 16 years old. In these cases, the misdemeanor charge will be enhanced, even if the exposure didn’t take place in person, but occurred online. When a defendant was also a minor, however, the charges might only be enhanced to a third-degree felony. Although not as serious as many other sex offenses, a conviction for indecent exposure should still be avoided. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that can be raised by those who are unfairly accused of indecent exposure, including that the defendant did not intend anyone to view the exposure, the defendant never had lewd intent, or the defendant was breastfeeding, which under Florida law, never constitutes indecent exposure.
New Port Richey Date Rape Lawyer
In Florida, all sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape claims fall under Florida Statute 794.011, which prohibits forcible sexual intercourse. While this applies to cases between strangers, it also applies when the incident involved two people who already knew each other. This is referred to as date rape, which, like sexual assault, is strictly prohibited under both state and federal law. The key in these types of cases is establishing whether or not the other party consented to the activity. In the event that a defendant is accused of administering a drug or anesthetic to a person to lower his or her inhibitions, a lack of consent will be presumed.
Massage Without a License
Anyone who is found guilty on charges of massage without a license is basically being convicted of prostitution and might be penalized with some time behind bars, substantial fines, and various additional penalties depending on the circumstances of the case. It doesn’t matter if you are a masseuse or a massage parlor owner, being found guilty of this kind of criminal behavior will have a very noticeable impact on your life, your reputation, and your future. If you wish to challenge stiff prostitution charges, you will need a tough and knowledgeable sex crimes defense attorney in your corner.
At Musca Law, our New Port Richey defense attorneys defend the freedoms of our clients all over Florida. When complex criminal charges are levied against a masseuse who works as an independent contractor, or against a massage parlor owner, our conscientious attorneys rely on their vast experience in handling sex crimes cases, law enforcement sting operations and Fourth Amendment laws (unreasonable search and seizure) to defend you against accusations from the prosecution.
Undercover Massage Parlor Sting Operations
Police officers regularly use sting operations to find illegal, unlicensed massage parlors and their employees. If you have been caught in an undercover sting operation, our attorneys are able to analyze the details of your specific case. At our Musca Law offices in New Port Richey, they will delve into the in-depth issues that demand precise answers. For instance, was the bait or decoy officer the same officer who compiled the police report? Were you in any way pressured by the police to engage in an act that, in a different situation without the undue pressure, you never would have participated in? Were your rights read to you while you were being arrested? It is conceivable that the charges might get tossed out in the event that law enforcement did not adhere to mandatory protocol.
Being a career masseuse and not having a valid Florida license to do so can, in certain extraordinary situations, also be viewed as practicing health care without a valid Florida license, a crime that will bring with it even larger penalties.
Pandering, more commonly known as pimping, is the illegal action of luring another person through threats, fraud, or promises to enter an area in which prostitution is taking place. Florida also adheres to the following stipulations:
- Florida law dictates that it is illegal for anybody to compel, coerce, or force another person to conduct themselves as a prostitute. The accused may also be charged with the little-known but very real crime of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
- Florida law declares it illegal for anybody who is fully aware that someone else is participating in prostitution as their livelihood or using their prostitution earnings as a means of obtaining additional financial support.
Oftentimes what will happen is that the criminal act of pandering or pimping is hidden behind the facade of an escort service, dating service, or massage service. Considering the recent surge in both tourism and corporate conventions throughout the state of Florida, these kinds of set-ups are growing and expanding all through websites like craigslist.com and backpage.com.
The crime of pimping or pandering is a felony here in Florida and it entails several hefty legal punishments, of which incarceration is one. If you have been arrested for pimping or pandering, it is then critical that you get in touch with an shrewd and effective criminal defense attorney.
If you have been charged with the crime of pandering, you are basically being accused of:
- Living off of or receiving some revenue from the wages of a prostitute
- Managing or owning a structure for engaging in the act of prostitution
- Providing a place in which prostitution may commence
- Guiding by way of directions or giving a ride to anyone so that they may engage in the act of prostitution
Our New Port Richey sex crimes defense attorneys are able to thoroughly examine the case against you and work arduously in order to establish your innocence. Prosecutors encounter various issues in attempting to demonstrate that people are engaging in pandering and pimping. The vast experience and the prosecutorial backgrounds of Musca Law attorneys indicate that we are able to recognize weak links in the state’s case and aggressively challenge the charges in an effort to either decrease or get rid of criminal penalties altogether.
Sex Offender vs Sexual Predator: Legal Definitions
As damaging as being labeled a criminal is going to be, it won’t even compare to what happens when that label derives from a sexual offense. A person who has been convicted of sexual misconduct will discover that it is incredibly hard to try to move on in the aftermath of being found guilty of a sex crime, and even more so when they are ordered by the state of Florida to register as either a sexual predator or a sexual offender. Being aware of the distinctions between a sex offender and a sexual predator might help others realize just how much is on the line when it comes to preparing their defense.
While those who are labeled as sex offenders and sexual predators are both legally forced to register with Florida authorities, their distinctions are very diverse in terms of how they are defined by Florida law.
In the state of Florida, a sexual offender is someone who has been convicted of a sex crime such as being in possession of child pornography or enticing a child under 18 years of age to participate in prostitution.
A sexual predator, however, is a sex offender who is also:
- convicted of a first-degree felony that is associated with sexual misconduct
- convicted of two second-degree felonies that are associated with sexual misconduct
What all of this means is that if someone displays violent actions or commits the most heinous form of offense in terms of sexual conduct, they may end up not only being legally obligated to register as a sex offender but to also be classified as a predator.
Anyone who is made to register with local police as a sex offender will also be required to adhere to stringent rules and restrictions. Sexual predators, however, will generally find that their rules, restrictions, and requirements for reporting to the proper authorities are a lot more rigid and will stay in place for a greater amount of time than those who are not labeled as a sexual predator.
The sentences that accompany being found guilty of a major felony linked to sexual misconduct will be disastrous for anybody. It might be plausible, however, to lessen the effect of a conviction or a plea by pursuing charges that have been reduced and questioning the aspects of any and all accusations that might end with increased penalties and restrictions.
Sexually motivated crimes often stir up an impassioned response from the surrounding community, officials in law enforcement and the families of those who were affected by both the offense and its resulting verdict. Sex crime charges clearly have the capacity to segue into an entire lifetime full of repercussions and serious consequences, including a criminal record, serving time in prison, and adding your name to the sex offender registry. Even if you are absolutely 100% sure of your innocence in the events in question, you are going to need an experienced New Port Richey sex crime defense attorney who is able to focus on the facts of your case, the protection of your rights, and the building of your defense. Don’t hesitate to call our office today to request a free and no-obligation case review with one of our experienced attorneys!