Stuart Sex Crime Defense LawyersAll criminal offenses are considered serious in Florida. Sex crimes, however, tend to be investigated and prosecuted aggressively, so those who have been charged with a sex crime should strongly consider retaining an experienced Stuart sex crime defense attorney who is well-versed in state law and will aggressively protect their rights and interests.
Stuart Internet and Computer Sex Crimes Defense AttorneyFlorida law criminalizes a wide range of behavior that falls under the category of “sex crimes.” This applies equally to offenses committed in-person by a defendant and those committed online, one of the most common of which involves the possession or transmission of child pornography, which is prohibited under Fla. Stat. 847.0135. This statute prohibits the manufacturing, buying, selling, possessing, and transmitting of images that qualify as child pornography, which is defined as any image that depicts a minor engaging in sexual conduct. Defendants who are accused of viewing this type of image can be charged with a third-degree felony for each image in their possession, but those who are charged with sharing those images with another person, face enhanced second-degree felony charges, which could mean up to 15 years imprisonment for each image transmitted. In fact, if a person has three or more copies of the same image, video, or depiction in his or her possession, then that individual is presumed to have intended to distribute those materials.
Being convicted of possessing child pornography is a serious offense and requires defendants to register as sex offenders. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that innocent defendants can raise on their own behalf, including that:
- The activity depicted in the images doesn’t qualify as sexual conduct;
- The images were downloaded and viewed by another user or the computer’s previous owner;
- The individuals depicted in the images were not minors; and
- The images were the product of an illegal search or seizure that violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.
The possession of child pornography is not the only computer sex offense with which a person can be charged, as Florida law also prohibits online solicitation of a sex worker using the internet. An exchange of money or other types of compensation does not actually have to be made for a person to be convicted of this offense. Instead, prosecutors only need to prove that an offer of compensation in exchange for a sexual act was made. This kind of offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor but can be enhanced to a felony if the person solicited was a minor, even if the defendant was not aware of that individual’s age.
Stuart Sexual Battery AttorneyWhen a person is accused of rape or sexual assault, he or she is charged under Fla. Stat. 794.011, which prohibits non-consensual oral, vaginal, or anal penetration with a sexual organ or other object. It is also possible to be charged with aggravated sexual battery, but only if:
- The other party was unconscious, asleep, or physically unable to resist or consent to the sexual act;
- The defendant allegedly coerced the other party by threatening violence or retaliation;
- The alleged victim was unknowingly drugged with an anesthetic, narcotic, or intoxicant, which caused him or her to become physically or mentally incapacitated;
- The alleged victim had a known mental defect;
- The defendant was an officer of the law, or someone else in a position of authority;
- The victim was physically incapacitated; or
- The defendant used physical force or a weapon during the attack.
With so much at stake, it is critical for defendants who are accused of rape, sexual assault, or sexual battery to raise a strong defense. One of the strongest arguments that a defendant can use to avoid conviction is that the other party consented to the sexual activity. However, for consent to be considered valid, it must have been knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently given, which means that verbal consent isn’t enough on its own if the victim was intoxicated or drugged. Similarly, just because a person didn’t physically resist during the sexual activity, does not mean that he or she consented.
To learn more about defending yourself against sexual battery charges, please contact an experienced Stuart sex crime defense attorney who can assist you.