Miami Sex Crime Defense Lawyer
The term “sex crimes” is used to describe a wide range of offenses, including everything from sexual assault and possession of child pornography to prostitution and indecent exposure. Although these crimes fall under the broad category of sex crimes, they all require proof of different elements. Furthermore, defendants accused of specific crimes are not permitted to raise certain defenses. For these reasons, navigating this area of the law can be extremely difficult, making it especially important for those who have been accused of a sex crime, to speak with an experienced Miami sex crime defense attorney who can help them formulate a defense.
If you find yourself in this situation, then you would most likely benefit from getting in touch with a Miami criminal defense attorney from Musca Law as soon as possible. Your best bet for clearing your name when it comes to charges such as these is to work with a respected sex crimes defense attorney who will implement their skills and knowledge for the benefit of you and your case. To learn how a Miami criminal defense attorney can help you, call us at (800) 687-2252 to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
Miami Child Pornography Lawyer
While all sex crimes are considered serious, certain offenses, particularly those involving children, are treated especially harshly. For instance, possessing child pornography in Miami is a felony offense that can result in a decades-long prison sentence, hefty fines, and social stigmas. Because the stakes are so high in this type of case, it is important for those who have been accused of this, or a similar offense, to have a thorough understanding of statutory law. Many people, for instance, do not realize how broad the state’s definition of child pornography actually is, as Fla. Stat. §827.071(5) defines it as any image that depicts minors involved in sexual conduct. Sexual conduct is also specifically described as any of the following activities:
- Actual, simulated, or deviate sexual intercourse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Lewd exhibition;
- Physical contact with a person’s private parts; or
- Simulated or actual sexual battery.
However, even if the prosecutor is able to establish that an image satisfies this definition, he or she will still need to prove that the defendant viewed or possessed more than one image during a certain period of time, and if the images were electronic, that the defendant took affirmative action to save them or knew that they would be automatically saved.
Raising a strong defense against these types of charges is important because those who are convicted face up to five years in prison for each image, video, or photograph recovered from the defendant’s possession. Some of the most commonly raised defenses include the following:
- The images were downloaded by someone else;
- The images were on the computer when the defendant purchased it;
- The individuals depicted were not minors; or
- The images don’t satisfy the state’s definition of child pornography.
Raising these defenses usually requires the testimony of an expert forensic computer specialist who can prove how and when the images were downloaded, viewed, and saved.
Miami Lewd and Lascivious Crime Lawyer
When a crime does not fall under the definition of assault, battery, or rape, prosecutors often charge it under the state’s lewd and lascivious crime statute. This law covers a variety of offenses, including lewd and lascivious:
- Exhibition; and
Most of these laws apply specifically in cases where the victim is a minor, in which case, defendants are not permitted to argue that the victim consented to the activity. However, this defense is available to adults who are charged under this statute. For instance, when sexual activity doesn’t reach the level of severity required of a sexual battery charge, a defendant could be charged under the Miami lewd and lascivious law and would also be permitted to provide evidence of the alleged victim’s voluntary and knowing consent.
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Sexual battery is the crime of sexual assault with the added provision that it also took place under one or more of the following conditions:
- The victim is physically incapacitated
- The victim is threatened into obedience by coercion, brutality, or force that will cause serious personal harm and the victim truly believes in the offender’s ability to carry out this threat
- The victim is compelled into obedience by threats of revenge against the victim, the victim’s family, or some other person, and the victim truly believes that the offender has the ability to carry out this threatening behavior at some later time
- Without their awareness or their permission, the victim is sedated so that they are physically and/or mentally debilitated
- The victim was assaulted specifically because they were known to have a mental disability
- The victim is unconscious by their own actions, such as drinking too much
- The offender is an officer in a correctional institution, a probation officer, a law enforcement officer, or any other person who is seen as being in a place of power and/or control over the victim, or somebody whom the victim understandably thought was in a power, control or authority as a government employee or a representative thereof
Miami Solicitation Attorney
In Miami, Florida, solicitation of prostitution is defined under Fla. Stat. 796.07 as entering into a transaction with a third party where he or she is offered compensation in exchange for participation in sexual activity. Notably, a person can be charged with this offense even if the other party was not actually a sex worker, but was an undercover police officer. Similarly, once an offer is made, it doesn’t matter whether a defendant didn’t actually intend to go through with the arrangement. Unfortunately, this leaves many defendants open to prosecution after becoming the subject of a sting operation, which, although they often involve in-person transactions, also take place on the internet.
Generally treated as a misdemeanor offense, charges for soliciting a sex worker can be enhanced if the person solicited was a minor. In fact, a third party does not actually have to be a minor for a defendant to be convicted of this offense. For this reason, many defendants who are charged with soliciting a minor are the victims of sting operations, in which a law enforcement officer poses as a minor for the purpose of identifying perpetrators. Although not permitted to argue that they were unaware of the other person’s age when they were communicating with him or her, defendants are allowed to submit evidence of entrapment to avoid conviction, which requires proof that they were convinced to commit a crime by law enforcement officers that they normally would not have been predisposed to commit.
The state of Florida considers sexual assault to have taken place when the victim is made to participate in any sexual exploit or is violated in a sexual manner by the offender without the consent of the victim. There are severe legal punishments that are inflicted for this sort of assault, and those punishments grow in severity depending on the explicit details, such as the application of deadly force, or debilitation of the victim of each individual case.
As explained by Florida laws, anyone who is under the age of 18 is deemed to be incompetent in agreeing to any sexual activities. This legal judgment concerning consent means that if someone who is over the age of 18 (an adult) has completely consensual sex with a person under the age of 18 (a minor), that adult could be charged with statutory rape. Contingent on the exact age of both of the parties, the defendant could conceivably suffer financial punishments, as well as up to 15 years in state prison, and also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
Romeo and Juliet Law
Enacted in the state of Florida back in 2007, the Romeo and Juliet Law was designed to protect young couples from the severe outcomes that are associated with actual sex crimes.
The primary intent of this fairly new law is making sure that defendants who are charged with sexual battery involving consent (also referred to as statutory rape) in the event that the defendant’s age is relatively close to the minor “victim,” avoid the humiliation and stigma of being designated as a sexual predator or a sexual offender.
The principal distinction here is that the defendant must be no more than four years of age older than the minor “victim” as long as they are anywhere between 14 and 17 years of age. Therefore, if the “victim” is 15 and the defendant is 19, they will most likely meet the guidelines.
As previously stated, consent to participation in any sexual act is never a viable defense nor is pleading ignorance of the victim’s real age. Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet Defense” is a very restricted defense that is only accessible to a person who has been accused of statutory rape. The purpose of the law is to limit the amount of heavy criminal penalties against teenagers who choose to participate in consensual sex with someone who is very close to their own age.
In Florida, this defense is only applicable when the minor was between the ages of 14 and 17 and the accused was no more than 4 years older than the victim at the time the alleged criminal act took place. This particular defense might not shield the accused from the burden of legal punishments and penalties, but it could potentially prevent him or her from being legally obligated to register as a sexual offender, which would be on their record for the rest of their life. This decision is left to be decided by each individual judge.
Thanks to the Romeo and Juliet Law, a young defendant could potentially bypass a lifetime of having to meet sexual offender registration rules and regulations and having a permanent black mark on their record. If you think that your situation might be covered by Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law, then you should get in touch with a Miami sex crimes defense attorney to speak with them about the specifics of your case.
Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury
Sexual battery likely to cause serious personal injury is defined as a person having non-consensual anal, oral, or vaginal contact with another person as the effect of their use of any type of physical force that can reasonably be expected to result in a severe personal injury.
Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12
Sexual battery on a child under 12 has occurred when, no matter whether or not consent was given, a person who is over the age of 12 has anal, vaginal, or oral contact in any way with a child who is younger than 12 years of age.
Unless the state of Florida can prove every aspect of the charges against you, you still retain the right of “innocent until proven guilty,” no matter what the charges against you might be. Our legal team here at Musca Law in Miami is able to completely analyze any evidence against you and to dispute the charges that you are currently facing. If the court happens to have a particularly strong case against you, we will work tirelessly in order to either stop a conviction for a sex crime or, if it becomes necessary, contend for the minimum sentence to an offense that does not require you to register as a sex offender. The sooner you get in touch with our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys in our Miami, Florida office the sooner we can begin building you the strongest possible defense for your case.
It is perfectly reasonable for you to be anxious, or even completely terrified, if you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with any kind of sex crime. There will be ample opportunities and strategies, however, for challenging the case brought against you. Make sure that you get in contact with our Miami sex crime defense attorneys today so that we may review your case and discuss your legal options in a free consultation.