Sex Crime Attorney in Jacksonville and Orange Park
Being charged with a sex crime, even a misdemeanor, can have a serious impact on your life. From placement on the Sunshine State’s sex offender registry to being banned from holding certain types of jobs, a criminal conviction can follow you for decades to come.
However, like all crimes, sex crimes require guilt to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and some affirmative defenses can lead to a not-guilty verdict. Read on to learn about Florida’s laws governing various sex crimes, the potential penalties you may face upon conviction, and what you and your criminal defense lawyer can do to fight back.
Florida’s Sex Crime Laws
Sex crimes in Florida are generally assigned to one of three categories: Lewdness and Indecent Exposure, codified in Chapter 800 of the Florida Statutes; Obscenity, codified in Chapter 847; and Sexual Battery, codified in Chapter 794. Some other crimes, like incest, may have a sexual component, but aren’t generally classified as a “sex crime” in the same way as crimes like the possession of child pornography, rape, or sexual assault.
Florida’s statutes governing lewdness and indecent exposure criminalize the following types of conduct:
- Exposure of sexual organs (whether through “flashing” or sending unsolicited photos), with separate, more serious charges if this happens in the presence of a person age 16 or younger; and
- Any commission of an “unnatural and lascivious act.” This expressly does not include breastfeeding, but may include the exposure of female breasts or other sexualized body parts that aren’t listed in the definition of “sexual organs.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s obscenity statutes encompass child pornography charges, including “sexting” among teens. This presents some overlap with the lewdness statute, and the criminal treatment of a “sext” may largely depend upon the ages of the sender and receiver and the nature of the content included in the message.
Rape Allegations in Florida
Chapter 794, Sexual Battery, criminalizes everything from forcible rape to statutory rape to child molestation. Although Florida has “Romeo and Juliet” laws that permit sexual relationships between teens who are fairly close in age, even if one teen is legally an adult, individuals age 24 or older can be charged with a second degree felony by having sex with a 16- or 17-year-old.
In addition to forcible rape and other types of sexual assault, sexual battery also includes female genital mutilation, and doctors or other medical providers who take part in this practice may be subject to arrest and prosecution.
Florida Sex Offense Classifications and Penalties
Most of the criminal offenses detailed in the Lewdness and Indecent Exposure chapter are classified as misdemeanors, which means you may face a jail sentence or a hefty fine upon conviction, but aren’t likely to spend any time in prison.
However, violation of the child pornography provisions of the Obscenity statute or any of the crimes listed in the Sexual Battery chapter can result in a felony charge; conviction of such a charge will almost always result in prison time. Upon conviction, you may be subject to placement on the state’s sex offender registry or even ordered to take certain medications that can reduce your sex drive.
Your Legal Options when Facing a Sex Crime Charge in Jacksonville or Orange Park, FL
Trying to defend against these serious charges on your own is almost never a good idea. By contacting a law firm that handles these types of criminal matters routinely, you’ll be able to rely on an attorney that is able to navigate the state’s court system and help you mount a strong defense.