SEX CRIMES ATTORNEY REPRESENTING DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH A SEX CRIME IN TAMPA
The most heinous sex crimes – child molestation and rape – are dealt with quite harshly in Florida. Offenders who are convicted of these crimes almost inevitably face lengthy prison sentences.
Other sex-related crimes in Florida – solicitation, prostitution, and lewd conduct – may not involve force or violence, but they’re also prosecuted vigorously in this state.
A sex crime conviction can mean years in prison, stiff fines, probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. If a defendant has a previous sex crime conviction, or if an adult has somehow involved a minor in a sex crime, prison is likely if the case ends with a conviction.
“LEGAL” PENALTIES MAY NOT BE THE ONLY PENALTIES
However, legal penalties are not the only consequences that convicted sex offenders face. The Florida sex offender database is available online to neighbors, employers, landlords, and everyone else.
Convicted sex offenders may encounter difficulty finding a job or even finding housing. They lose the esteem and trust of their neighbors, friends, colleagues, and even family members.
If you’re an immigrant in Florida, a conviction for a sex crime will probably trigger a deportation order. If you hold a professional license, that license may be revoked after a sex crime conviction.
WHAT IS A DEFENSE LAWYER’S ROLE IN A SEX CRIME CASE?
Any charge of sexual abuse, rape, statutory rape, or sexual exploitation of a child requires a concise and thorough examination by a Tampa sex crimes defense lawyer who has considerable experience defending clients accused of sex crimes.
If the state’s case is weak, the right attorney can have a sex crime charge reduced or sometimes even dismissed. But if the evidence is substantial and a conviction is certain, a defense lawyer may still work to have the charge reduced, the sentence reduced, or seek alternative sentencing.
WHAT ARE THE MAXIMUM PENALTIES FOR SEX CRIME CONVICTIONS?
Sexual battery is considered a second-degree felony in Florida. The maximum penalty for a conviction for sexual battery is fifteen years in prison, fifteen years on probation, and a fine of $10,000.
Aggravated sexual battery on a person age 18 or older is considered a first-degree felony. The maximum penalty is thirty years in prison, thirty years on probation, and a fine of $10,000.
The maximum penalty for aggravated sexual battery on a person between 12 and 18 years old is life in prison, and aggravated sexual battery on a child under age 12 by a defendant 18 or older requires mandatory life in prison without parole.
Other offenses carry a range of punishments. A conviction for statutory rape could lead to a maximum of fifteen years in prison. Some sex crimes, such as solicitation and prostitution, are considered misdemeanors.
WHAT ABOUT SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION?
A sex crime conviction in Florida may require registration as a sex offender. Failing to register or to provide accurate information to the registry is a third-degree felony. Those who are registered as sex offenders in other states are also required to register upon relocation to Florida.
WHAT DEFENSES CAN BE OFFERED AGAINST SEX CRIME CHARGES?
The defenses against sex crime charges depend on the details of the particular case. The most commonly offered defenses to sex crime charges include:
- Consent: Consent is a common defense in sex crime cases. However, consent cannot be used as a defense if the victim was a minor, a person with disability, or a person who was too intoxicated to provide legal consent.
- Fabricated claims: False sex crime accusations are made for a number of reasons. An ex may be seeking an edge in a custody dispute, or a teen may lie to “get back” at a stepparent. Sometimes, a false sex crime accusation is made for no apparent reason at all.
- Entrapment: Particularly when online “sting” operations are used to lure potential sexual predators, law enforcement officers sometimes use tactics that constitute entrapment.
If you are charged with a sex crime in the Tampa Bay area, you must fight the charge. To convict you of a sex crime charge, the state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that isn’t always easy in sex crime cases.
DO NOT TRY TO ACT AS YOUR OWN LAWYER
Don’t try to act as your own attorney. Too much is at risk. If you are arrested on a sex crime charge, politely insist on your right to remain silent and your right to have your lawyer present during any questioning.
Tampa sex crimes defense lawyer Patrick B. Courtney has more than 24 years of legal experience. He’s been a prosecutor, so he knows how sex crime cases are prosecuted. Pat Courtney fights for justice and brings sex crime cases to the best possible conclusion.
He represents clients who’ve been charged with sex crimes in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Learn more about Pat Courtney – and about your rights – by calling (813) 967-2000 or by filling out the contact form on this website.