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Port Charlotte Sex Crime Defense Lawyers

In Florida, a number of different criminal offenses fall under the broad category of “sex crimes,” each of which comes with its own specific set of elements that must be proved in order to obtain a conviction. This is a complex area of the law, so it is important for those who have been arrested for or charged with committing a sex crime, to contact a Port Charlotte sex crime defense lawyer who may be able to get their charges reduced or even dismissed.

Port Charlotte Child Pornography Lawyer

Florida law specifically prohibits the possession, transmission, production, and promotion of child pornography. Those who are accused of these offenses can be charged with a separate count for each depiction found in their possession or on their computer, which can have devastating consequences, as each charge is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Manufacturing child pornography is penalized even more severely, as it is charged as a second degree felony under Fla. Stat. §827.071. A number of different activities fall under this broad prohibition, including taking photos or making videos depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct but also making copies of already existing images. In fact, a person is presumed to have the intent to distribute child pornography if he or she is found in possession or three or more copies of the same image.

Port Charlotte Solicitation of a Sex Worker Lawyer

Florida criminalizes both the act of prostitution and its solicitation, which according to Fla. Stat. 796.07 involves enticing, inducing, or soliciting another person to engage in sexual activity for pay. In fact, it is even possible to be charged with solicitation when no money is exchanged or when the solicited party was not actually a sex worker. As long as an offer of compensation for a sexual act is involved, the offender can be charged with solicitation, although the charge can be enhanced if the person solicited was a minor.

Voyeurism Law in Port Charlotte

In Florida, voyeurism is considered a criminal act and as such, is punishable by jail time, fines, and probation. However, a person can only be convicted of voyeurism under Fla. Stat. 810.14, if prosecutors can prove that a defendant secretly observed someone else while they were in a dwelling or vehicle or covertly observed someone else’s private parts, with lewd intent. Voyeurism is almost always charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, although a charge could be enhanced if a defendant allegedly used an imaging device to record the encounter and was over the age of 19 years old.

It’s also important to note that a defendant cannot be convicted of voyeurism if:

  • A written notice was displayed on the premises notifying visitors of the presence of security cameras;
  • The recording device is clearly obvious; or
  • Law enforcement officers were conducting surveillance for an official purpose.

There are also certain defenses that cannot be raised following a charge of voyeurism. If, for instance, the person recorded or viewed was under the age of 16 years old, then the defendant is not permitted to argue that he or she didn’t know that the other party was a minor.

Port Charlotte Sexual Battery Lawyer

In Florida, rape and sexual assault are prosecuted under the state’s sexual battery law, which is found in Fla. Stat. 794.011. This statute defines sexual battery as non-consensual oral, vaginal, or anal contact with someone else’s sexual organ or another object. These offenses are some of the most serious sex crimes that a person can be charged with, as they come with lengthy prison sentences. This is especially true in cases that involve aggravated battery, which occurs when a defendant allegedly used force, a weapon, threats of violence, or drugs or alcohol to subdue the other party. When one or more of these circumstances exist, a person could be charged with a first-degree felony, which is punishable by a minimum of three and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

A person cannot be convicted of sexual battery if the accusing party consented to the activity. However, in order to qualify as consent, the acquiescence must have been voluntarily given and intelligently and knowingly made, which means that even if a person verbally consented to engage in sexual activity, it will not be considered valid consent if the victim was intoxicated, drugged, or mentally or physically incapacitated. In certain cases, this defense cannot be raised, namely when the other party is a minor, as minors are not believed to have the maturity to consent to sexual activity.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a criminal act that is taken very seriously in Florida. The laws that criminalize sexual battery cover copious varieties of the crime which serve to help decide the possible length of your sentence if you are found guilty. Sexual battery is the technical and legal verbiage for what the majority of the public would probably call rape. A sexual battery that is committed against someone who is 18 years of age or older basically means any sexual contact that took place without the other person’s permission. Someone who is younger than 18 is considered to be under the age of consent and, therefore, is unable to legally consent to any sexual contact. This means that any form of sexual activity with a minor is, under the law, considered sexual battery, even if consent was freely given.

With a charge of sexual battery, there are several details that are able to decide what level felony you will be charged with and, by extension, what your possible sentence may be. A conviction for sexual battery may vary from a second-degree felony that is punishable by as long as 15 years in state prison, to a capital felony that entails a mandatory life sentence. A few of the circumstances that define the level of a felony for a particular sexual battery are:

  • Was the supposed victim physically disabled?
  • Was the supposed victim physically weak?
  • Was the supposed victim mentally disabled?
  • Was the supposed victim younger than 18 years of age?
  • Was the supposed victim younger than 12 years of age?
  • Were there weapons, violence, or the threat of weapons or violence in play?
  • Is the defendant a police officer or any sort of government executive?
  • Was the alleged offender acting in a capacity of custodial or familial authority over the supposed victim?

The laws surrounding sexual battery explicitly disallows anybody who is convicted from being eligible to earn any gain time while they are serving out their incarceration. Usually, someone who is serving time in prison in the state of Florida is permitted to have time taken off of their sentence for things such as good behavior or working at a prison facility. A prisoner can earn as much as a 15% reduction in their overall jail time. Their gain time is not allowed to be earned when you are sentenced for sexual battery. You will have to serve every day of the sentence, start to finish, with no exceptions.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for sexual battery, please immediately reach out to the sex crime defense attorneys at Musca Law. Accusations of sexual battery are extremely appalling and need to be handled by a shrewd and resourceful defense attorney. Our Port Charlotte attorneys have an extensive background in handling cases of every variation of sexual battery and are the best equipped for defending your charge.

Statutory Rape

The crime of sexual assault takes place when the victim is forced to engage in a sexual act or is interfered with in a sexual capacity by a perpetrator without the permission of the victim. There are grim legal punishments associated with this type of crime, and those punishments can escalate and are determined by particular details of the event like the use of threats or force, or the diminished physical or mental capacity of the victim.

As outlined by Florida laws, anyone who is younger than 18 years of age is considered incompetent in terms of making decisions concerning sexual activities. This law regarding consent maintains that if an adult, someone who is 18 years of age or older, has sexual intercourse or engages in a sex act with a minor, someone who is under 18 years of age, then that adult could conceivably be charged with the crime of statutory rape. Based on the age of the minor, the offender could suffer costly fines, as long as 15 years in state prison, and be ordered to register as a sex offender or a sexual predator.

Statutory Rape and Social Media

Social media is a routine part of most people’s day-to-day lives. We regularly engage with other people over Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Instagram, as well as through other social media sites. These social media sites have the potential to create difficulties because we have no way of really knowing if the person that we are talking to is who they say they are. There are already sites, like Craigslist, whose risks are common knowledge, but there are other times when deciding to meet someone that you have been talking to on the internet in person could set the stage for legal pitfalls that you would probably rather avoid.

In modern society, there is a heightened chance of someone being accused of statutory rape if the first time they met the other person was on the internet. It is possible for one of the parties to present themselves as being an adult (18 years or older) when in reality they are under the legal age of consent. When the two people meet in person, it would be reasonable to believe that they might engage in sexual acts with one another if the adult believed the other person was old enough.

Unfortunately, no matter how reasonable the belief in the lie was, no matter what kind of proof was given or how clearly consent was offered, none of this will protect the adult from a charge of statutory rape or the subsequent penalties.

Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Laws

Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law grants an age-gap stipulation that enables a 16 or 17-year-old to lawfully agree to sexual behavior with someone who is between the ages of 16 and 23. In this case, the older of the two might not have been aware of the age of the younger person or they may have represented themselves as being older, both of which may not be used as a defense against prosecution.

Acquiescence or agreement to any sexual contact may not be used as a defense, nor ignorance of the person’s true age. The Romeo and Juliet defense is a restricted defense open only to a person who has been accused of statutory rape. The purpose of this law is to stop the heavy, life-long burden of heavy criminal sentences against teens who participate in consensual sex with a person who is close to them in age. In Florida, this law comes into play when the underage party was between the ages of 14 and 17, and the offender is no more than four years older than the underage party when the incident takes place. The Romeo and Juliet law might not shield the offender from the sentencing of legal punishments and fines, but it can prevent them from being legally ordered to register as a sexual offender. That is something that is left up to the judge.

What Do I Do if I am Being Accused of Statutory Rape?

The second that you discover that you have had sexual relations with a minor, we strongly suggest that you hire a Port Charlotte criminal defense attorney because charges might ultimately be filed. We also strongly recommend that you take the following actions:

  • Stop all contact and interaction with the minor
  • Cease all activity on social media sites and remove any evidence of contact
  • Remove all smartphone apps that might have been used to interact with the minor
  • Remove or erase any computer evidence or other forms of evidence of contact with the minor

If law enforcement does contact you, refuse to say anything until your attorney is with you. Your attorney might employ a private detective for your benefit to determine whether or not the minor has ever chosen to participate in this kind of behavior with other people.

Regrettably, statutory rape is a criminal offense that you can perpetrate without knowing it or having any intentions of doing so. Your smartest course of action is to retain a qualified sex crimes attorney and listen to their advice. Don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential case review today!

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