Tampa Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
There is a wide range of offenses in Tampa, Florida, that fall under the broad category of “sex crimes,” although some of the most commonly charged involve allegations of the possession of child pornography, solicitation of a prostitute, and sexual assault. While all of these offenses are considered to be serious crimes, those involving children are investigated and prosecuted the most aggressively.
Child Pornography Lawyers in Tampa
Of all sex crimes, those involving child pornography are perhaps the most well-known. Although most charges involve allegations of mere possession, it is also possible to be charged with distributing, manufacturing, producing, and transmitting child pornography. However, before a person can be convicted of these offenses, prosecutors must demonstrate that the images, photos, or films in question fall under the definition of child pornography, which means that they contain depictions of minors engaging in sexual conduct. As part of the prosecution for possessing, distributing, or producing child pornography, a defendant’s intent must also be demonstrated, as those who are unaware of the contents of an image or who don’t take steps to save a photo or video cannot usually be convicted. It is also not uncommon for those who are accused of one or more child pornography-related crime to be charged with others. For example, those who are accused of manufacturing or distributing child pornography could also be charged with inducing the sexual performance of a child.
Tampa Solicitation Crime Attorneys
Another commonly charged offense is solicitation. In most cases, these charges involve allegations of soliciting a prostitute by entering into a transaction to exchange money for sexual activity. This type of offense is usually treated as a misdemeanor, although charges can be upgraded if the person being solicited was a minor. These types of charges often follow online conversations, where the other party was a police officer involved in an internet sting operation to apprehend those who commit computer sex crimes. Unfortunately, it does not matter that the person being solicited was not actually a minor, as a person can still be charged with soliciting a minor. It is possible, however, to escape conviction by demonstrating that a defendant was entrapped by police.
Child Molestation Lawyers in Tampa
One of Florida’s most serious sex crimes is child molestation, which, under Fla. Stat. 800.04, involves the performance of a lewd or lascivious act upon the body or in the presence of a minor. While certain conduct, such as sexual activity involving penetration by a sexual organ, is automatically considered to be lewd or lascivious conduct, a person can be charged with this offense for inappropriate touching or performing lewd acts in front of a minor. Defendants accused of this offense can defend themselves against the charges but are not permitted to argue that the minor consented to the activity or that he or she lied about his or her age.
Sexual Assault Lawyers in Tampa, Florida
Sexual assault in Florida is prosecuted under the sexual battery law, which prohibits non-consensual intercourse. In many cases, those who are accused of committing sexual assault can be charged in both state and federal court. This is because federal law 10 U.S.C. 920 forbids sexual assault, which is defined as committing a sexual act upon someone else by using threats, causing bodily harm, or fraud. However, defendants who have been unfairly accused can avoid conviction by presenting evidence that the other party willingly and knowingly consented to the contact.
Lewd or Lascivious Crime Lawyers in Tampa
Florida prohibits a wide range of sexually charged conduct when minors are involved, including:
- Lewd or lascivious exhibition of the genitals;
- Lewd or lascivious conduct, which prohibits any type of inappropriate touching.
- Lewd or lascivious battery, which involves engaging in sexual activity with a minor; and
- Lewd or lascivious molestation, which involves inappropriate touching of the genitals.
In addition to this type of conduct, Florida residents are generally prohibited from any type of lewd or lascivious behavior or act, which could include exhibition and sexual assault against both minors and adults.
Sexual Battery Lawyers in Tampa
Sexual battery, like rape and sexual assault, falls under Fla. Stat. 794.011, which prohibits non-consensual vaginal, oral, or anal penetration of another person with a sexual organ or other object. Like other sex crime defenses, a defendant who has been accused of sexual battery is permitted to present evidence demonstrating the other party’s consent.
Indecent Exposure / Exposure of Sexual Organ Lawyers in Tampa
While many people associate sex offenses with crimes like assault or molestation, there are also a variety of less serious offenses that qualify as sex crimes, including indecent exposure. This crime involves publicly displaying one’s sexual organs in a lewd manner or with the intent to cause offense. Intent is one of the most important elements in this type of prosecution, as a person cannot be convicted for indecent exposure unless he or she had a sensual or licentious intent at the time of exposure.
Tampa Voyeurism Lawyers
Another misdemeanor sex offense in Florida is voyeurism, which is prohibited under Fla. Stat. 810.145 and involves intentionally viewing a person while he or she is privately exposing him or herself in a place where that individual could reasonably expect to have privacy. To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant also had lewd intentions at the time of the viewing.
Potential Defenses Against Sex Crime Charges
No matter what type of sex crime charges you have been charged with, the state of Florida is required to establish proof of each component of the crime if they hope to be able to earn a conviction. At Musca Law, we 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 is commonly built around factors such as:
- 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.
The question of consent is one that is frequently raised during when allegations of a sexual nature are made against someone. Our clients often will admit to engaging in the sexual act but insist that the sex was consensual. Usually, as they are questioned more and more, the story that was told to police and to attorneys by the alleged victim 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 committed against persons under the age of 18 are what are known as being “strict liability” crimes. This means that no defense you offer up for your actions will be accepted. Even in cases where the minor lied about their age or even offered a fake ID as proof, the adult is still considered guilty. In every single one of these kinds of cases, consent is completely pointless because Florida state law holds an underaged child as being deficient in their ability to understand the situation, and therefore unable to give their consent.
Ultimately, sex crime cases usually come 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, of course, make absolutely certain that you are wholly informed about the outcomes of any agreement that you might make.
Our attorneys 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.
False Accusations of Sex Crimes in Tampa
Bogus allegations of sexual assault, the sexual abuse of a minor or any other form of sexual indecency can happen to just about anyone. Ordinarily, there is an underlying motive prompting the supposed victim to fabricate the lie. Any number of reasons including revenge, malice, and blackmail could be behind the accusations. Some typical reasons for false accusations include but are not limited to:
- Obtain leverage in a child custody battle
- Garner sympathy or attention
- Destroy someone’s reputation
- Punish someone for something they have done
Naturally, there are genuine instances of sexual battery and abuse, but the larger part of inquiries into acts of sexual misconduct does not even end with someone being arrested. Even if you feel that it is apparent to everyone involved that the “victim” is merely engaging in a means to an end, it is vital that you retain an experienced sex crimes criminal defense attorney as soon as you are contacted by law enforcement authorities or by an investigator from child protective services.
Do Not Talk to the Authorities
There is nothing that you can say that is going to magically clear and make all of this vanish into thin air right there on the spot. Anything that you do say, however, “can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Consequently, it is better to use your right to remain silent, and if the police want to question you, then contact a criminal defense attorney before you offer any kind of a response. Know that any comments your attorney provides to the authorities on your behalf are legally disallowed from being used against you in a court of law. This is why it is always a smart idea to only speak to the police through your Tampa sex crimes attorney.
Agree to a Polygraph Test
In the event that you are genuinely innocent, you should give serious consideration to submitting to a confidential lie detector test. It’s true that the results are prohibited from being used as evidence in court, but the state might be less likely to charge you if your results indicate that you are not guilty. If the results are not positive, however, then your attorney will not reveal that fact to anybody. Rather, your attorney might be able to apply those results to building a different, and more suitable defense to your charges.
Always enforce your right to an attorney. If the police wish to interrogate you, contact a criminal defense lawyer from Musca Law and allow our attorneys to give you guidance on the best way for you to respond.
If you have been charged with any form of criminal offense in the Tampa, Florida area it is absolutely essential that you retain qualified legal counsel as soon as you are able to do so. Our Tampa criminal defense attorneys here at Musca law will be able to go over your case with you in a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation in our Tampa area offices and, from there, figure out the best way to handle your case and begin constructing the absolute strongest defense possible for you. Our goal is to get your case thrown out entirely. In the event that a dismissal is not a strong probability, we will work diligently in order to get your criminal charges reduced as much as we possibly can. This will help you to minimize and fines and penalties, avoid a lengthy incarceration in a state prison, and possibly keep you from being legally compelled to register as a sex offender or a sexual predator with the state of Florida.