Rape is only one step down from murder on the list of violent crimes, though victims would likely argue that it is an equally vicious and unsolicited attack as taking one’s life. As such, the law punishes those who are convicted of rape or other forms of sexual assault with serious prison time. However, not all those who are charged with sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery, lewd molestation or other sex crimes are guilty. According to researchers, there may have been as many as 2,000 false convictions in the past 23 years, as reported by NBC News.
We believe in one’s innocence unless and until proven guilty, as does the U.S. justice system. If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, your entire future is at stake. Sex crimes can result in lifelong prison sentences and subject a person to possibly having to register as a sex offender or even as a sexual predator depending on the charge. Contact the Tison Law Goup today and speak with a Tampa Bay Area sex crimes lawyer.
Lewd and Lascivious Battery is better known as statutory rape. It is the illegal act of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 12 and 16, or persuading a child between the ages of 12 and 16 to engage in any type of sexual activity, even if the offender does not personally engage in the act. Consent of the minor and intent of the accused are irrelevant in these circumstances, and defendants cannot plead that they did not know the age of the child. The only potentially valid defense to this charge is that the allegation is false.
Lewd and lascivious battery is a 2nd degree felony, and first time offenders face anywhere from 7 ½ to 15 years in prison. Under Florida law, defendants may be able to reduce their potential sentence by demonstrating:
- That the defendant is mentally ill and can be treated; or
- That the defendant is under 21 years old as of the date of sentencing.
These factors and others do not serve as defenses to the crime, and there is no guarantee that they will mitigate the sentence, but in certain cases they may play such a role. Convicted offenders will also be declared a sex offender and registered as such in accordance with Florida and federal laws, which will result in the offender’s name appearing on a public list of sex offenders.
Solicitation of a Child for Sex
The crime of Solicitation of a Child for Sex in Florida involves the use by an offender of the internet or other electronic communications device capable of data storage to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a person believed to be of minor age to perform sexual conduct, or to persuade the child’s parent to consent to the child’s participation. Solicitation is a felony in the 3rd degree and can result in up to 5 years in prison, registration on a sex offender list, and up to $5,000 in financial penalties as well.
Defendants cannot assert a defense of solicitation on the basis that an undercover law enforcement officer posed as a minor online in order to draw the offender into the solicitation. However, entrapment by a law enforcement officer may be a defense where a defendant can demonstrate he or she was induced by the officer in an overly persistent way or where the defendant repeatedly expressed reluctance to commit the act. Prosecutors must also prove that the defendant did in fact seduce, solicit, lure or entice the minor in order for the charges to stick.
Possession of Child Pornography
Child pornography consists of images depicting minors (which in Florida means individuals under the age of 18) engaging in sexual conduct. Such conduct covers a wide range of activity, including but not limited to intercourse, bestiality, genital contact, and even the simulation of sexual battery. The transmission and possession of such content is a felony in the 3rd degree, and could result in up to 5 years in prison for each count, plus a listing on a public sex offender registry. Significant monetary fines may also accompany these penalties.
Reach Out to an Tampa Sex Crimes Attorney for Assistance
No matter the charges, if you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, contact an experienced sex crimes lawyer to fight those allegations. Call the Tison Law Group today.