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Tallahassee Sex Crime Defense Lawyers

Although all sex crimes in Tallahassee, Florida, are considered serious offenses, those involving children are prosecuted and penalized most aggressively. There are a number of offenses that fall under the category of sex crimes against children, so if you have questions about your own charges, it is important to consult with an experienced Tallahassee sex crime defense lawyer who can walk you through the elements of the crime and explain all of your possible defenses.

Tallahassee Child Pornography Attorneys

Florida law strictly prohibits the possession of any image, video, or other types of depiction that shows a minor engaged in sexual conduct. However, before a person can be convicted of possessing child pornography under Fla. Stat. 827.071, prosecutors must demonstrate that the images in question actually depict sexual conduct, which is defined as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, masturbation, lewd exhibition, physical contact with the genitals or breasts, or sexual battery. Furthermore, it is not necessary for prosecutors to provide evidence that a defendant physically possessed images, only that he or she intentionally viewed them, which requires proof that:
  • The defendant viewed more than one image over a specific period of time; and
  • The defendant took action to save the images or knew that they would automatically be saved.
It is also not uncommon for those who have been accused of possessing child pornography to be charged with other related offenses, such as possession with the intent to distribute the images. In fact, a person is presumed to be involved in the distribution of child pornography if three or more copies of a single depiction are found in their possession. This can have serious consequences, as distribution is charged as a second-degree felony, while possession is a third-degree felony. Similarly, defendants could also face charges of promoting the sexual performance of a child if there is evidence that they were involved in the manufacturing, publishing, or distributing of child pornography. Finally, a defendant could be charged under Fla. Stat. §847.0137 if he or she used the internet during the transmission.

Defendants have the right to raise a number of defenses, which could include arguing that they were not the ones who actually downloaded and viewed the images, but used a shared computer, or that the images don’t qualify as child pornography. Having the advice of a Tallahassee sex crime defense attorney is crucial in these kinds of cases, as raising certain defenses is prohibited under Florida law.

Tallahassee Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Most cases of sexual abuse are prosecuted under the sexual battery law. When the victim is a minor, however, defendants can be charged under Fla. Stat. 800.04 for child molestation, although they can only be convicted if prosecutors can prove that the defendant committed a lewd act upon the body of or in the presence of a minor. This includes both engaging in sexual activity with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, and encouraging or forcing a minor to engage in this type of activity. To satisfy the definition of sexual activity, a defendant’s act must involve oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, or he or she cannot be charged under the statute.

There are a variety of defenses available to those who have been charged with child molestation, but defendants are prohibited from raising certain defenses, including that:
  • The minor had a reputation for promiscuity;
  • The minor consented to the activity;
  • They were not aware of the minor’s age;
  • The minor lied to the defendant about his or her age; or
  • They had a bona fide belief that the minor was an adult.
The penalties faced by a defendant accused of this defense depends primarily on the ages of the parties involved, so if a defendant was over the age of 18 years old and allegedly abused someone under the age of 12 years old, he or she faces life imprisonment, while a defendant under the age of 18 years old who had sexual contact with a teenager between the ages of 12 and 16 years old would be charged with a third-degree felony.

Tallahassee Solicitation of a Minor Lawyers

Florida law prohibits residents from using the internet or an electronic device to solicit a minor to engage in sexual conduct. Under Fla. Stat. 847.0135, a defendant who is accused of committing this offense could face separate charges for each time he or she used an online service to solicit a minor, which means that if a defendant used a chat room to solicit a minor on ten different occasions, he or she can be charged for each conversation.

In the event that a defendant actually attempts to meet up with a minor for the purpose of participating in sexual activity after using an online service to speak with that minor, he or she could face additional second-degree felony charges.

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