Being convicted of a sex crime in Florida is a serious offense. It is one that carries a negative stigma accused individuals may have to carry with them for the rest of their life. En Español.
In some situations, when someone has been convicted of a sexual offense, they must register as a sex offender, and their criminal record may never be expunged. A Florida sex offender must constantly register and report to the local Sheriff and has many restrictions on where they may reside and who they may associate with. Violations of these rules are serious and can result in a lengthy State Prison sentence.
While there are lengthy Jail or State Prison sentences and hefty fines that come with a sex crime conviction, it is often these lifelong consequences that are the hardest. When someone has been charged with or accused of illegal sexual behavior, it is imperative that they speak with a West Palm Beach sex crimes lawyer immediately. Contact an experienced attorney today.
Types of Sex Offenses
There are four main sex crimes prosecuted in the local courts: sexual battery, lewd and lascivious acts, indecent exposure, and child pornography. Depending on the sex crime of which someone is accused, one of our experienced attorneys in West Palm Beach could build a solid defense.
Sexual battery is often referred to as rape or assault, and it involves forceful penetration of the mouth, genitals or anus with the accused’s genitals or another object.
In court, consent is one of the biggest focuses of a sexual battery case. While consent must be given for any sexual act, there are instances in which the Court may ignore any consent given. These include cases when the victim is 12 years old or younger (known as statutory rape), instances when the victim was drugged or unconsciousness, and if the victim is physically or mentally challenged.
Depending on the severity of the crime, the ages of the victim and the accused, and whether a weapon was involved, sexual battery charges are typically classified as a third-degree felony. In situations where the battery is considered to be especially violent, these crimes can be classified as a capital (life) felony.
Sexual battery is one of the worst sex crimes an individual can be charged with. It is crucial that anyone facing these charges contact a sex crimes lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Lewd and Lascivious Acts
In Florida, these acts must be committed against someone that is 16 years old or younger. There is no defense for claiming that the accused did not know the victim’s age, nor is claiming that the victim gave consent. The state of Florida classifies these crimes into four different categories:
- Lewd and lascivious battery. This is a second-degree felony and involves forceful penetration of the anus, vagina, or mouth with a sexual organ.
- Lewd and lascivious molestation. Molestation is considered to be unwanted touching of the breasts, buttocks, or genitalia. This is considered a second-degree felony except in cases when the victim is under 12 years of age and the accused is older than 18 years of age. In these instances, the crime is classified as a life felony.
- Lewd and lascivious conduct. This involves touching a person in a sexual manner, or asking them to perform any kind of sexual act. This is also a second-degree felony.
- Lewd and lascivious exhibition. This includes intentional masturbation, exposing the genitals in a lewd manner, or performing sexual acts in front of minors. If the victim is younger than 18 years of age, it is considered to be a second-degree felony; otherwise it is considered to be a third-degree felony.
Indecent exposure refers to an individual exposing their genitals in an indecent, lewd or vulgar manner. To be considered a crime, this must be done in a place that can be seen by others, such as a park or other public place. If it is done on the accused’s property, it can also be considered a crime if it is within sight of others. This is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida.
Owning any material that shows a minor in sexual acts of any kind is a third-degree felony under Florida law. It is also a third-degree felony to sell, produce, promote, or distribute any material depicting child pornography. Sending child pornography through email, mail, or online, could be classified as a Federal offense.
Can a Sex Crime Offense be Expunged?
Most felony sexual offenses in Florida cannot be expunged from someone’s criminal record if they have been convicted of this crime. This is because once someone is required to register as a sex offender, they are generally required to keep this status for life. Any sexual offense involving minors or young children will not be eligible for expungement However, it is important to note that if someone is found not guilty or the charges were dropped, they may have the options to expunge or seal the record of these charges.
Additionally, if someone is convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime, they may be able to petition for an expungement of their charges. Overall, it is extremely difficult for someone accused of this type of crime to be able to remove these charges from their record. As such, it is important to retain a skilled attorney in West Palm Beach when facing sex crime accusations to avoid having these violations on a criminal record.
Contact a West Palm Beach Sex Crimes Attorney Today
Being charged with a sex crime in Florida is a serious offense. In addition to a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged and being required to register as a sex offender, convicted individuals are forbidden from living within 1,000 feet of where children will be present such as at a school, park, playground or day care center.
If you or a loved one has been charged with illegal sexual behavior, call a Palm Beach County sex crimes lawyer to review your case. Leifert & Leifert could work hard to achieve a positive resolution to your case.