Sex crimes can carry stiff penalties, from having to register as a sex offender to the possibility of the death penalty. So, if you are facing charges for a sexual offense in Wellington, you may feel unsure of what comes next. Moreover, sex crime cases are often highly publicized and polarizing, which could make you the target of unwanted public attention.
To try to minimize the impact of the situation, it is important to mount a strong defense early, and having a seasoned Wellington sex crimes lawyer could help. Not only could an experienced criminal defense attorney help you fight the charges, you will also have someone on your side, by your side, throughout the process.
What Qualifies as a Sexual Offense?
In Florida, some of the most common sexual offenses fall into several categories. These offenses range from lewd conduct to sexual battery. Each offense carries specific potential penalties and a Wellington sex crimes defense lawyer could work tirelessly to defend an individual against the following charges.
According to Chapter 794 of Florida’s Statutes, it is a felony of the first-degree for a person age 18 or older to commit sexual battery, meaning oral, anal, or vaginal penetration, upon another person who is at least 18 years of age. The level of the offense increases as the age of the victim decreases. For example, a person 18 or older who commits sexual battery on someone less than 12 is a capital felony.
Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
Under Florida Statutes, Chapter 798, it is a misdemeanor in the second-degree for any man or woman, whether married or not, to engage in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior. There are also specific sections of the law prohibiting lewd or lascivious offenses upon or in the presence of the elderly or disabled or minors under age 16, which constitute felonies of the second degree, or in the presence of an employee.
The Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act makes it a felony in the third-degree to knowingly compile, transmit, print, publish, buy or sell information about a minor for the purposes of soliciting sexual conduct. It is also a felony of the third-degree to use a computer, Internet service, or another device to seduce or attempt to seduce a child or person believed to be a child to engage an unlawful sexual act.
Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors
In Wellington, it is a felony of the second-degree for anyone age 24 or older to engage in sexual activity with someone 16 or 17 years of age. And ignorance or belief as to an alleged victim’s age is no defense.
Potential Penalties for Sex Crimes in Wellington
Under the law, a local resident facing charges for a sexual crime could face both prison time or fines, depending on the severity of the offense. Any person facing charges for a capital felony, such as sexual battery by an adult on someone less than 12, could face punishment of death or life imprisonment without parole. Anyone facing charges for a felony of the second-degree, like unlawful sex with certain minors, faces a term of imprisonment up to 15 years. Additionally, anyone facing these allegations also faces fines of up to $10,000.
A felony of the third-degree, such as lewd and lascivious behavior in front of an employee, is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years and a fine of up to $5,000. Finally, any person facing charges for a second-degree misdemeanor such as lewd and lascivious behavior could face a term of imprisonment up to 60 days as well as a fine of up to $5000. Additionally, for certain offenses, a person may have to register as a sex offender. This is a stigma that can follow a person when they move to a new neighborhood or apply for a new job. Moreover, it is a public record that anyone can access. A Wellington sex crimes lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that a person may face.
Consulting a Wellington Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Facing allegations of any sex crime can be a life-changing experience. Between the severe punishments and the public nature of these offenses, these charges can be overwhelming. Work with a knowledgeable Wellington sex crimes lawyer who could help you put together the best defense strategy for your case. Consult a capable defense attorney that could stand by you every step of the way.