Sex crimes are some of the most heinous crimes in our culture. Those convicted of sex crimes face lifelong consequences and severe punishments, such as lengthy prison sentences, probation, and registering as a sex offender. It’s important to have a criminal defense attorney to help defend you or someone you know who is facing sex crime charges. Learn more about the punishments for sex crime convictions in Florida.
What is Considered a Sex Crime?
According to Florida law, a sex crime is any sexual act committed against another person without consent. Sex crimes are also consensual acts such as solicitation and prostitution. Sex crimes in Florida include:
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual battery
- Lewd or lascivious behavior
- Internet sex crimes
- Child pornography
- Sexual misconduct
- Failure to register as a sex offender
How are Charges for Sex Crimes Determined?
Sex crimes fall into three categories: lewd and lascivious behavior, sexual battery, and unlawful acts with minors. Sex crime charges range from misdemeanors to capital felonies, depending on the facts of each case. Prior criminal history, as well as the victim’s age, physical condition, and mental capacity, are all considerations for sentencing. Some offenses, like indecent exposure or first-time prostitution, are often charged as misdemeanors. However, most other sex crimes are felonies.
According to Florida Statute 794.011, sexual battery is the penetration or union of a sexual organ of one person with another person or object. In Florida, sexual battery is the charge for rape. Sexual battery is a second-degree felony and carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Punishments increase if there are aggravating factors, such as the perpetrator being in a position of authority over the victim, threatening to harm the victim or their family during the act, using or threatening to use a deadly weapon, or having a prior history. Aggravated sexual battery is a first-degree felony and carries a maximum 30-year sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated sexual battery becomes a “life felony” (punishable by life in prison) if the victim is between 12 and 18 years old. Sexual battery is a capital felony if committed on a victim 12 or younger and is punishable with life in prison or the death penalty.
Child pornography is any image created, altered, or modified that depicts a child under 18 engaging in a sexual act. If you willingly possess, download, view, or distribute child pornography, you can face charges on both the state and federal levels. The penalties you may face for child pornography charges depend on whether you’re charged with promotion, distribution, or possession. Promotion is when someone employs or allows a minor to engage in sexual acts. Promotion and distribution are charged as second-degree felonies. Distribution is when someone intends to share or solicit an image. Distribution is a second-degree felony with a maximum 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for each material found. Possessing child pornography is a third-degree felony and carries a five-year prison sentence and a maximum $5,000 fine for each depiction found. That means if you’re convicted of possessing one image that depicts two minors, your sentence will double.
Lewd or Lascivious Offenses
Lewd and lascivious behavior is when someone commits a sexual act that is offensive to general society, such as indecent exposure or inappropriate touching. Chapter 800 of the Florida Statutes discusses the definition, examples, and consequences of lewd and lascivious behavior. Lewd and lascivious acts are second-degree misdemeanors with a fine of up to $500. Penalties would increase if a child under 16 were present at the time.
Sex Offender Registration and Probation
Those convicted of certain sex crimes such as sexual battery, child pornography, and kidnapping must register as sex offenders with the state. Registered sex offenders have strict requirements of where they can live and work. For example, registered sex offenders cannot live within 1,000 feet of a place where children congregate, such as a playground or school. There are also other requirements like adhering to curfews that are in effect, also.
Defending Your Rights When Facing Sex Crime Charges
Sexual criminal offenses are prosecuted aggressively in Florida. Contact the law office of Alison M. Lopes if you or a loved one face sex crime charges. You deserve fair and adequate representation to defend your case. Call our office at 407-442-2724 for a consultation.