Sex crimes are taken very seriously in Florida and a conviction can result in a wide-range of criminal and collateral consequences. When the stakes are this high, you should not make the mistake of thinking you can face sex crime charges on your own. If you have been charged or accused of a sex crime, you will need the assistance of a Boynton Beach sex crimes lawyer. A diligent defense attorney can look at all of the existing evidence and fight to ensure that your rights are protected, and you receive a fair trial.
What Constitutes a Sex Crime in Florida
Florida criminalizes a variety of conduct involving sexual violence, the exploitation of children, and unlawful sexual activity with minors. The three most commonly charged sex crimes are sexual battery, lewd or lascivious behavior, and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The majority of sex offenses in Florida can be classified as crimes of sexual violence and are considered serious felonies. Sexual violence refers to any sexual activity or conduct committed against a person without their consent.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual battery offenses
- Lewd or lascivious offenses
- Child pornography offenses
- Distribution, manufacturing, transmission, or possession of child pornography
- Exposing a minor to child pornography
- Sexual performance by a child
- Sex trafficking
- Solicitation of a minor
- Indecency with a child
Sexually-motivated acts that are unlawful, but are generally less serious than crimes of sexual violence include prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, video voyeurism, and sexting. In the instance that an individual has committed a sexually-motivated act, a Boynton Beach sex crimes lawyer can defend them and attempt to mitigate charges.
Under Florida Statutes Section 794.011, the term sexual battery encompasses a number of offenses involving non consensual sexual activity. Sexual battery offenses are felonies of varying degrees depending on the age of the alleged victim and whether any aggravating circumstances are present. Some examples of aggravating circumstances include the use of a deadly weapon, committing a sex crime while the alleged victim is physically incapacitated, use of physical force or threats of physical force.
Lewd or Lascivious Behavior
Lewd or lascivious behavior refers to sexual activity committed against persons under 16 years of age. Sexual activity is defined 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.
Lewd or lascivious offenses include the following:
- Lewd or lascivious battery
- Lewd or lascivious conduct
- Lewd or lascivious exhibition
- Lewd or lascivious molestation
The severity of punishment for these offenses depends on the age of the individual and the alleged conduct of the accused. Neither ignorance of their age or their consent can be raised as defenses to any of these charges.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
A person commits unlawful sexual activity with a minor if they are 24 years of age or older and engage in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age. Unlawful sexual activity with a minor is punishable as a second-degree felony. Ignorance of the individuals’s age or a bona fide belief that they were 18 is not a valid defense.
Contacting a Boynton Beach Sex Crimes Attorney
Having a knowledgeable sex crimes attorney by your side at every stage of the criminal process can significantly improve your chances of avoiding a conviction and achieving a positive result in your case. A Boynton Beach sex crimes lawyer can advise you on how to proceed and can work to build a strong defense.