Stuart Child Molestation Lawyers
Free Case Review with Our Best Child Molestation Attorneys in Stuart, Florida (FL)
Criminal charges involving child molestation are classified as one of the most serious criminal offenses in Florida. Punishments for child molestation convictions are severe and include prison time, stiff legal fines, damaged reputation, loss of freedom to travel to some international destination, limited access to parks and other public places, and lifetime registrations on Florida's Sex Offender Registry and the National Sex Offender Registry. The mere allegations alone can ruin a person's reputation and their life.
If charged with any sex crime involving a child, you must have an experienced Florida child molestation lawyer to defend you, or you will likely receive the maximum sentences possible. By retaining Musca Law, you will benefit fromover 150 years of combined legal experience. Our attorneys guide clients through the legal process and work hard to obtain the best possible outcome.
Child Molestation Charges in Stuart, Florida
Musca Law is aggressive when defending clients accused of child molestation or any other crime. Our defense attorneys are here to fight your criminal charges and help you avoid prison time and ruining your reputation dut to the negative social stigmas attached with child sex crimes.
What is Child Molestation in Florida?
Florida's Criminal Statutes state that an indvidual who purposefully touches the breasts, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing that cover up those areas, of a minor who is under 16 years of age, or forces or entices a minor under the age of 16 to touch the offender in those areas, has committed an act of "lewd or lascivious molestation" in Florida.
According to Florida Statute Section § 800.04(5), "lewd or lascivious molestation," also known as child molestation, involves indecent or sexual activities committed on a child under 16 by an adult.
In Florida, criminal offenses involving alleged acts of child molestation are criminally charged under various offenses, such as:
Lewd or lascivious battery
Lewd or lascivious conduct
Lewd or lascivious exhibition
Lewd or lascivious molestation
The Penalties of Child Molestation in Stuart
It is important to know that sexual crimes involving a child who is under the age of 16 are "strict liability crimes." In a strict liability criminal offense, the defendant is not permitted to argue that that they did know the minor's actual age or that the minor gave consent to the sexual act.
Under Florida's Criminal Statutes, a person who puposely touches a child who is less than 16 years of age in a lustful or lascivious way the genital area, genitals, breasts, buttocks, or the clothes covering up those private areas, or entices or forces a minor who is under the age of 16 to touch the adult, commits the crime of lewd or lascivious molestation.
Lewd or lascivious molestation of a child is charged as either a "life felony," or second-degree felony, or a third-degree felony. The degree of criminal charge will depend upon the age of the child and the age of the perpetrator:
- Life Felony lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 12 by an adult over 18 years of age;
- Second-Degree Felony lewd or lascivious molestation of a minor child under 12 by a person under 18 or of a minor child between the ages of 12 and 16 by an adult over 18 years of age;
- Third-Degree Felony lewd or lascivious molestation of a minor child between 12 and 16 by an adult under 18 years of age.
Should the defendant be found guilty of committing Lewd and Lascivious Battery in the Second Degree, the Criminal Justice Court Judge is required, by law, to sentence the defendant to a minimum prison sentence of 34½ months, and could also sentence the defendant to a combination of the following penalties: up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of sex offender probation, or up to $10,000 in fines. Another particularly serious consequence of being convicted of "lewd and lascivious battery" is being labeled a sexual predator for life.
Potential Penalties for Child Molestation Charges in Stuart
Crimes that involve sexually abusing minor children are always charged as felony offenses in the state of Florida. The victim's age and the accused's age typically determine the degree of the criminal charge and the severity of the penalties that could be handed down to the defendant if convicted. To decide the degree of the felony offense, law enforcement officers and state prosecutors use the following guidelines.
- The victim's age is 12 or older, but less than 16 years of age, and the offender is under the age of 18. This crime will be at least a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are punished with a minimum prison sentence of 3 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
- If the victim's age is under 12 years of age, and the offender's age is under 18 years of age, the crime is a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies are punished with a minimum prison sentence of 4 ¼ years and a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
- If the victim's age is 12 years of age or older, but less than 16 years of age, and the defendant's age is 18 years or older, the crime is a charged as a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies are punished with a minimum 4 ¼ years in prison and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
- If the victim's age is under 12 years of age, and the defendant's age is 18 years old or older, the crime could become a "life" felony. Life felonies are punishable by a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison or up to life in prison.
Child Molestation Defenses in Stuart
A child molestation defense attorney in Stuart, Florida, will review the state's evidence against you to determine if the evidedence could be suppressed or throw out. Your attorney will review your arrest and look for:
- Miranda rights Violations,
- Forensic investigation errors,
- Right to counsel was denied,
- The contact was incidental, no lewd intent, the defendant did not deliberately touch the minor for purposes of sexual gratification or arousal.
A strong legal defense used in a child molestation cases involve exposing false allegations. A few examples of false allegations include:
- A child care worker or social worker asked leading questions their investigation, leading to the false allegation.
- A defendant was falsely accused by a person trying to punish you.
- A defendant was falsely accused by a person trying to extort a money from the defendant.
- The alleged victim was coached or pressured or by overzealous law enforcement officials, prosecuting attorneys, healthcare professionals to report molestation even though none occurred.
- An ex-spouse falsely accused the defendant to gain leverage in a contentious divorce or child custody proceeding.
- The defendant was falsely accused by someone who misrepresented what was an innocent touch.
Possible Defenses to Child Molestation Charges in Stuart
In Florida, arguing that the victim gave consent, or the victim lacked chastity, or the defendant's was ignorant of the victim's true age are not permittable defenses in child molestation cases. Unfortunately, some people are wrongly accused of child molestation, and they have no other choice but to vigorously defend themself. The most common legal defense strategy in a child molestation case is to attack the victim's allegations. In most cases, false allegations arise due to mental illness of the accuser, jealously, or through the manipulation of a child through an angry parent. For these reasons it is critical for our Stuart Child Molestation Defense Lawyers to thoroughly investigate all of the motives that potentially exist from the accuser or those influencing the accuser into making a false allegation of child molestation.
Prohibited Defenses to Child Molestation Charges in Stuart
Florida Statute Sections § 800.04(2) and § 800.04(3) state the aforementioned criminal defenses that are prohibited in lewd or lascivious molestation cases:
- The "alleged" victim provided consent. A defendant is not permitted to claim that their actions were justified because the minor gave the defendant permission.
- The ignorance or belief of the victim's age. Neither the defendant's ignorance nor the defendant's belief in the victim's misrepresentation of their age may be used as a legal defense.
- The victim's lack of chastity. A victim's past sexual experience may not be used as a defense, even if the victim is or was a sex worker.
Penalties for a Conviction of Child Molestation in Stuart, Florida
If convicted of child molestation criminal charges in Florida, a defendant can expect to spend several years in state prison; depending on the circumstances, this could be a life sentence. Florida child molestation laws are designed to protect minors aged 16 and under from being sexually exploited by adults. Even when those who have been convicted are released from prison, offenders will continue to face extreme and life-long consequences.
Examples of possible consequences are:
- The offender's name and other contact information will be permanently placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.
- The offender will not be allowed to work unsupervised with children.
- The offender will no longer have the legal right to travel or live wherever they want.
- The offender's movements will be restricted forever.
- Most employers do not hire convicted sexual predators or anyone who was convicted of a sex crime against minors.
- The offender could be required to stay within a certain amount of feet away from children, and this might include the offender's own kids.
If you or a loved one have been accused or charged with child molestation in Florida, you must immediately contact a Musca Law child molestation defense lawyer. Failure to understand your legal rights could have drastic effects on your life forever.
Fight Your Stuart Child Molestation Charges Today!
When you speak with one of our Stuart child molestation attorneys, you are receiving skilled professional advice from legal professionals who have the experience to help you through your circumstances. Our firm's defense lawyers know what to do to give you the best possible chance at reducing or dismissing your criminal charges.
If you don't have a Stuart child molestation lawyer to defend you, you will likely face maximum sentencing and punishments. With Musca Law, you will benefit from over 150 years of collective legal experience.
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Stuart, FL 34994
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