You thought you were engaging in consensual and legal sexual relations. You may have expected a casual one-time experience with a new partner or a long-term committed relationship. Either way, you did not expect to face criminal charges. Unfortunately, you may have been charged with a Florida sex crime, and you need to know about the potential consequences you face and how a Fort Lauderdale sex crimes defense lawyer can help you.
Six Types of Florida Sex Crimes
Florida law prohibits a wide range of sex crimes and imposes different penalties for different crimes, including:
- Sexual battery. Sexual battery is also known as rape or sexual assault. According to Florida Statute §794.011(1)(j), sexual battery means oral, anal, or genital penetration without consent.
- Lewd and lascivious offenses. You could be charged with a lewd and lascivious offense if you touch someone lustfully without that person’s consent or if you have sexual activity with someone under the age of 16. A person who is not yet 16 cannot provide legal consent for sexual activity.
- Sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct charges may be brought against you if the government alleges that you were in a position of trust and had a sexual relationship with a vulnerable person. For example, a person with disabilities or your own clients or patients may be considered vulnerable people for purposes of Florida’s sexual misconduct law.
- Indecent exposure. You could be charged with the sex crime of indecent exposure if you indecently show your sexual organs in a public place or on someone else’s property.
- Child pornography. It is a crime to possess, produce, or distribute an image of a minor engaged in sexual activity.
- Prostitution. Consent is irrelevant to the crime of prostitution. In Florida, it is illegal to be paid for sexual activity. It is also a crime to offer or solicit prostitution.
There are many variations of the crimes described above. The age of the alleged victim and other details of what happened could significantly impact the penalty you face. However, there are some common types of consequences you should be aware of if you are accused of committing a sex-related crime in Florida.
Potential Penalties for Florida Sex Crimes
Anyone convicted of committing a sex crime in Florida could face:
- Jail time. A prison sentence could range from a few years in jail to a life sentence, depending on the sex crime.
- Fines. Fines can range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000.
- Sex offender registration. You may be required to register with the state as a sexual predator or a sexual offender. Sexual predators are people convicted of the most serious types of sex crimes and remain on the sex offender registration for life. The public can access the sex offender registration to see who is on it. Inclusion on the sex offender registry can limit where you work and live, require that you be home by a certain time of night, and require mandatory counseling.
Additionally, you will face a permanent criminal record that could impact your rights and your future.
A Criminal Charge is Not a Conviction or Sentence
You’ve been accused of a serious crime but have not yet been convicted or sentenced. The government must prove every element of the crime before you are convicted. In sex crime cases, the state may be wrong about critical elements of the alleged sex crime. Your defense counsel may assert that:
- Consent was provided
- It wasn’t you who committed the crime
- The alleged victim is lying
- Your rights were violated by law enforcement
- The state lacks the necessary evidence to prove the elements of the crime against you
Now is the time to talk to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer about your potential defenses.