Miami Sex Crimes Attorneys
Local residents may face several different “sex crimes” criminal charges under both Florida and federal law. Some of those crimes involve an alleged victim who is not an adult, including: lewd and lascivious battery, solicitation of a minor, and possession of child pornography. These sex crimes are very serious offenses that carry severe and potentially life-altering penalties. The Miami sex crimes attorneys at Ratzan & Faccidomo understand the high stakes involved and the difficulty in mounting a defense against charges which often provoke strong emotional reactions. Whether plea negotiations or an aggressive defense are in your best interests, our lawyers work to achieve the best possible outcome regardless of the charges involved.
Lewd and Lascivious Battery
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. This would apply in situations such as child prostitution, sadomasochistic abuse, or sexual bestiality. Consent of the minor or intent of the accused is irrelevant in these circumstances, and defendants cannot plead that they did not know the age of the child or that they were close in age to the child. The only potentially valid defense to this charge is that the allegation is false, and that perhaps the accuser had ill motive or a mental deficiency that led to the accusation.
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 child willingly provoked the sexual encounter;
- 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 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, up to 5 years 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.
Contact An Experienced Miami Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Accusations of lewd and lascivious behavior, solicitation of a minor, and possession of child pornography are incredibly serious, and can result in prison time as well as the total irreversible disruption of one’s life as a result of being placed on a sex offender list. If you have been accused, you need to know your rights. Contact Miami sex crimes attorneys Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC today to see how we can help.