Sex crimes are both heavily penalized and heavily stigmatized in society. As a result, being convicted of a sex crime could have life-changing consequences. If you are under investigation or have been accused of a sex crime in Florida, time is of the essence. With the help of Boca Raton sex crimes lawyers, you can greatly improve the likelihood of obtaining the best outcome possible in your case. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney that can fight for you. En Español.
Sex Offenses in Florida
Any crime that is sexually-motivated or involves non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature can be designated as a sex offense. In Florida, the phrase “sex offenses” refers to a wide-range of sexual misconduct that includes, but is not limited to:
- Sexual battery
- Sexual battery by multiple perpetrators
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors (statutory rape)
- Indecent exposure
- Lewd or lascivious acts
- Human trafficking
- Solicitation of prostitution
- Solicitation of a minor
- Sexual performance by a child
- Child pornography
These and other sex offenses are separately defined in various sections of Title XLVI of the Florida Statutes. The two primary categories of sex crimes in Florida are sexual battery and lewd or lascivious offenses. A Boca Raton sex offenses lawyer can further explain the distinction between the two categories and can answer any questions a person may have about sex crimes.
Most sex offenses in Florida are classified as felonies, although there are a few limited exceptions. Convictions often carry harsh penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Sexual battery (more commonly referred to as rape) is defined in Section 794.011 as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.”
Sexual battery charges range in severity from a third-degree felony to a capital felony depending on:
- The age of the accused
- The age of the accuser
- Whether force was used in the commission of the offense
- Whether the accuser was injured
- The nature of the relationship between the accused and the accuser
The major dispute in sexual battery cases is the issue of consent. Consent cannot be raised as a valid defense to sexual battery charges if the accuser is younger than the legal age of consent.
Lewd or Lascivious Offenses
Lewd or lascivious acts refer to sexual activity committed against or in the presence of persons under 16 years of age. Lewd or lascivious offenses are defined in Section 800.04 and the four most common charges are:
- Lewd or lascivious battery
- Lewd or lascivious molestation
- Lewd or lascivious conduct
- Lewd or lascivious exhibition
These offenses are felonies of varying degrees and are strict liability crimes, meaning that consent of the accuser and ignorance of the accuser’s age are not valid defenses.
Sex Offender Registration
Under Florida law, persons convicted of certain sex crimes are given the designation of a sexual offender or sexual predator. The sexual predator designation requires a written finding from the court and generally applies to people who have been convicted of more serious sex crimes or who have previous sex crime convictions.
The registration requirements of sexual offenders are found in Section 943.0435 and in Section 775.21 for sexual predators. Failure to register is itself a crime so it is essential for anyone convicted of a qualifying sex offense to fully understand their obligations.
Work with a Boca Raton Sex Crimes Attorney Today
Sex crimes are heavily stigmatized in society. A sex crime conviction can alter the course of someone’s life. The conviction and subsequent registration to the sex offender registry can limit someone’s access to housing, and stable employment. A determined attorney will understand what is at stake and can work to build your case. Qualified Boca Raton sex crimes lawyers can provide compassionate, effective, and aggressive legal representation. Contact a lawyer today, and know that you are in capable hands.