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SARASOTA SEX CRIMES LAWYER

SEX CRIMES

Being accused of a sex crime has the potential to affect every aspect of your life. Sex crimes have the potential to affect your reputation, your liberty, ability to find a place to live, who you talk to, how you travel – literally every aspect of your life. You need an experienced criminal defense team on your side to make sure you receive the best possible outcome to your case. Below is a non-inclusive list of specific crimes that a Sarasota sex crime attorney at Fowler Law Group handles for their clients.

PROSTITUTION

Prostitution in Florida is legally defined as the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire. In essence, it is engaging in sexual intercourse for money. The penalties for prostitution related crimes increase based upon the frequency a person is convicted of the offenses. All persons convicted of engaging in prostitution or soliciting a person to engage in prostitution must undergo screening for sexually transmissible diseases.

The commission of a Prostitution related crime as a first time offender is classified as a Second Degree Misdemeanor and if convicted allows a court to sentence a Defendant up to sixty (60) days in the county jail. The commission of a Prostitution related crime as a second time offender is classified as a First Degree Misdemeanor and if convicted allows a court to sentence a Defendant up to three hundred and sixty-five (65) days in the county jail. The commission of a Prostitution related crime as a third or subsequent offender is classified as a Third Degree Felony and if convicted allows a court to sentence a Defendant up to five (5) years in prison.

TRAVELING TO MEET A MINOR

Internet solicitation of a minor for sex is commonly charged in conjunction with the offense of “Traveling to Meet a Minor” found in Florida Statute section 847.0135(4)(b). In many scenarios, the internet solicitation charge is used to prosecute the written communication that led up to an arrangement to meet the purported minor in person for sex. The “traveling” charge is then used to prosecute the act of actually going from one place to another in order to attempt to accomplish face-to-face contact for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the minor.

Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, a person convicted of this crime must serve a minimum state prison sentence of twenty-one (21) months. A conviction for internet solicitation of a minor or traveling to meet a minor for sexual activity carries a mandatory requirement that the accused register as a sexual offender for the rest of their life. The offense of traveling to meet a minor not only can result in a state prison sentence, but may also be followed by a relatively lengthy period of probation or house arrest.

LEWD & LASCIVIOUS BATTERY

If you have been arrested or are the subject of an investigation for the charge of of Lewd and Lascivious Battery it is imperative that you understand the seriousness of these charges and life altering consequences that can result if you are convicted.

Florida Law defines the crime of Lewd and Lascivious Battery as: sexual activity with a child older than 12, but younger than 16 or encouraging, forcing, or enticing a child older than 12, but younger than 16 to engage in: Sadomasochistic Abuse, Sexual Bestiality, Prostitution, or Any other act involving sexual activity.

Lewd and Lascivious Battery is classified as a Second Degree Felony and if convicted can lead to: a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years in prison, a minimum sentence of seven and one-half (7½) years in prison, and mandatory registration on a public list of sex offenders.

DEFENSE AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES

Florida law establishes several different forms of sexual assault. Technically referred to as “sexual battery” under Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes, sexual assault is defined as:

“[O]ral, 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.”

Crucially, consent is not a defense to sexual assault charges in all cases. While lack of consent is required in cases involving allegations of sexual assault perpetrated against an adult, it is not necessary in cases involving victims who are minors (in most cases). As a result, defendants facing sexual assault charges must be extremely careful to ensure that they understand the specific provision of Section 794.011 under which they are being charged. When you choose Fowler Law Group, our Sarasota sexual assault attorneys will carefully review your charges and the facts of your case to identify the defenses you have available.

Just as consent is not required in all cases, penetration is not necessary in all cases either. Under certain provisions of Section 794.011, attempted sexual assault resulting in physical injury is subject to the same penalties as sexual assault.

What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault?

In Florida, the penalties for sexual assault are determined based on the severity of the offense. Broadly speaking, sexual assault charges fall into four categories:

  • Capital Felony Sexual Assault – Sexual assault committed by a defendant who is 18 or older against a victim under the age of 12 is a capital felony. This means that a conviction can carry the death penalty.
  • Life Felony Sexual Assault – Sexual assault committed by a defendant who is under age 18 against a victim who is under the age of 12 is a life felony. Using a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause serious personal injury also elevates sexual assault to a life felony.
  • First-Degree Felony Sexual Assault – Sexual assault can be charged as a first-degree felony under various circumstances. First-degree felonies carry up to 30 years in prison under Florida law.
  • SecondDegree Felony Sexual Assault – Sexual assault can also be charged as a second-degree felony under a variety of circumstances. When charged as a second-degree felony, sexual assault carries up to 15 years behind bars.

Individuals charged with rape, attempted rape and other forms of sexual assault can face felony charges, and, in the most serious cases, sexual assault is subject to capital punishment. In other cases, defendants can face years or decades behind bars. Some offenses even require a minimum mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole and can result in the death penalty. Avoiding unnecessary consequences requires representation from a highly experienced Sarasota sexual assault attorney.

Sexual Battery (Florida’s Rape Charge)

The most serious type of sex crime under Florida law is sexual battery. This is the crime that is prosecuted as rape in many other states. If you have been charged with sexual battery, you are facing mandatory prison time, and you could potentially be facing life behind bars. In the most severe cases, sexual battery is a capital offense.

Florida’s sexual battery law (Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes) establishes several different criminal offenses. The specific penalties you are facing – and the specific defenses you have available – will depend on the specific crime with which you are being charged:

Sexual Battery

Florida law defines sexual battery 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.” Absent special circumstances or aggravating factors, sexual battery is a second-degree felony carrying up to 15 years of imprisonment, 15 years of sex offender probation and a $10,000 fine. The minimum sentence for sexual battery under Florida law is 7.75 years of imprisonment and two years of sex offender probation.

Aggravated Sexual Battery (Victim Age 18 or Older)

Aggravated sexual battery is defined as sexual battery committed under any of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is physically helpless to resist
  • The victim is coerced by threat of force or violence
  • The victim is coerced by threat of retaliation
  • The victim is drugged
  • The victim had a known mental defect
  • The offender is a law enforcement, correctional or probation officer

When the victim is 18 years of age or older, aggravated sexual battery is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment, 30 years of sex offender probation and a $10,000 fine.

Aggravated Sexual Battery (Victim Age 12 to 18)

When committed against a victim between the ages of 12 and 18, aggravated sexual battery carries enhanced penalties. Individuals convicted of aggravated sexual battery against a minor over the age of 12 can face life imprisonment, lifetime sex offender probation and a $10,000 fine.

Capital Sexual Battery (Victim Under 12)

Sexual battery committed by an offender 18 years of age or older against a victim under the age of 12 is a capital offense in Florida. At a minimum, capital sexual battery carries life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sexual Battery (Offender Under Age 18)

Minors (under age 18) who are accused of sexual battery against a victim 12 years of age or older can also be charged with a second-degree felony. If the victim is under the age of 12, a minor can be charged with a first-degree felony offense carrying life imprisonment, lifetime sex offender probation and a $10,000 fine.

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon or Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury

Sexual battery committed with a deadly weapon or in any other manner likely to cause serious personal injury is a life felony. This means that a conviction can lead to life imprisonment, lifetime sex offender probation and a $10,000 fine. Absent special circumstances, the judge must sentence a person convicted of one of these offenses to at least 10.5 years in prison and two years of sex offender probation. 

OUR SARASOTA SEX CRIME ATTORNEYS CAN HELP

If you or someone you know have been arrested or are under investigation for any of the above referenced sex crimes, you need an experienced Sarasota criminal defense team on your side to make sure you receive the best possible outcome to your case. Contact the respected and experienced Sarasota sex crime and sexual assault attorneys at Fowler Law Group immediately, to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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