The Morris Firm Can Help if You Are Facing Serious Sex Charges in Florida
If you were arrested for a sex crime in Pensacola, you need an experienced Pensacola sex crimes attorney from The Morris Firm to help you build your defense. A sex crime conviction ends up on your permanent record, and you have to register as a sex offender. Even if you committed a misdemeanor sex crime, it becomes public information, and potential employers could find that information.
At The Morris Firm, we understand state laws and the legal process we need to go through to ensure you receive fair treatment. We’ll review all the evidence against you and work on disputing the prosecution’s arguments. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to fight the charges our clients face effectively. Call us at (850) 503-2626 to schedule a consultation with our Pensacola criminal defense attorney.
What Is a Sex Crime?
A sex crime occurs when one person forces sexual acts upon another or sexually abuses them with psychological or physical manipulation. Sex crime cases we handle include the following:
- Child trafficking
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Prostitution and solicitation
- Molestation of a child
- Sexual battery
- Indecent exposure
- Public sexual indecency
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Internet Sex Crimes
There are three categories of sex crimes that indicate the type of behavior exhibited by the perpetrator and the minimum penalties associated with those crimes.
- Unlawful sexual activities with minors: Any sexual act with a person 16 or 17 years of age if the offender is at least 24 years old
- Lewd or lascivious acts: Any sexual offense committed against someone under the age of 16
- Sexual battery or rape: The use of incapacitation, force, or coercion to engage in non-consensual sexual activity with an individual.
Possible Defenses to Use for the Charges Against You
If you’re facing an allegation of a sex crime, there are options to choose from when thinking about building a defense. Your Pensacola sex crimes attorney from The Morris Firm will explain which defense would work best for your particular situation.
Common sex crime defenses include the following:
- The victim did not identify the correct perpetrator;
- The defendant has an alibi that confirms they were not present when the alleged sex crime took place; or
- The defendant’s psychological deficits made it so that they did not understand what they were doing.
Another defense strategy is known as an affirmative defense. That means you admit to committing the sexual act, but the circumstances surrounding the incident don’t constitute a criminal offense. When you use this strategy, you’re not admitting guilt but explaining to the court why the act you performed wasn’t a crime. The circumstances below could justify using an affirmative defense:
- The victim and the defendant were married when the sexual act occurred.
- The defendant didn’t use force, threats, or cause the victim duress.
- The victim consented to the sexual activity.
- For statutory rape, the defendant wasn’t over three years older than the victim.
Other defenses against sex crime allegations:
- False charges: The victim could have filed false charges against the defendant to cover up consensual sex and protect their reputation.
- False memory syndrome: Children might think they remember information from the incident that happened, but it could be their memory of what an authority figure said to them.
- Consent: The victim gave verbal consent to sexual contact or sexual activity.
- Illegal search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from illegal search and seizure. If law enforcement didn’t collect evidence against the defendant legally, then it’s inadmissible at trial.
- Entrapment: This occurs when a police officer uses coercion or another tactic to get someone to commit a crime. If the alleged offense were something the defendant wouldn’t normally do, we might be able to use the entrapment defense.
- Insufficient evidence: There is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the sexual offense.
Sex Crime Penalties in Florida
The punishment you face upon conviction will vary depending on the following factors:
- Age of the victim
- Your age
- Sexual activity between you and the victim
- The severity of the offense
- Your relationship with the victim
- If you have prior convictions of sex crimes
There are two categories of crimes, depending on the type and severity of the offense: misdemeanor and felony. These fall under smaller categories or “degrees.”
Examples of misdemeanor sex crimes include:
- Indecent exposure
- Sexting by a minor
- Solicitation of prostitution
Examples of felony sex crimes include:
- Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
- Sex trafficking
- Indecency with a child
- Possession of child pornography
- Indecent contact with a child
- Up to 60 days in jail
- Maximum of $500 in fines
- Up to one year in jail
- Maximum of $1,000 in fines
- Up to five years in prison
- Maximum of $5,000 in fines
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Maximum of $10,000 in fines
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Maximum of $10,000 in fines
- 30 years to no more than life in prison
- Maximum of $15,000 in fines
Besides jail time, fines, probation, community service, and other penalties, you could also face consequences within your personal and professional life, such as:
- Damaged reputation
- Trouble finding and maintaining gainful employment
- Difficulty applying for higher education
- Permanent criminal record
- Loss of family or friends
- Difficulty finding a place to live
Sex Offender Registration
Anyone convicted of a sex crime in the state of Florida must register as a sex offender. There are two designations on the registry: sexual predator and sexual offender.
A sexual predator is often more dangerous than a sexual offender. Sexual predators are individuals who get charged and convicted of a first-degree, capital, or life felony sex crime. Their registration will last for their lifetime, and whenever they move to a new residence, they must update their registration.
It’s a requirement to register as a sex offender for life if you get convicted of any of the following sex crimes:
- Luring or enticing a child
- False imprisonment
- Sexual battery
- Procuring a minor for prostitution
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed on or in front of a minor child 15 years of age or younger, elderly adult, or disabled individual
- Selling or buying minors into sex trafficking or prostitution
- Child pornography or transmitting pornography over the computer
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors
- Sexual performance by a child
When you’re a registered sex offender, there are some restrictions on where you can live and work. If you got convicted of a sex crime involving a minor under the age of 16, you can’t live within 1,000 feet of facilities with a large number of children, such as a daycare center, school, or playground. You’re also not allowed to work at a place of business where children are usually present.
How The Morris Firm Can Help
Facing a sex crime conviction is scary and overwhelming. You can choose a public defender to represent you, but you should choose a reputable law firm instead. Public defenders are typically overworked and have large caseloads that are difficult to handle. They don’t have the time to review every detail to develop the best possible defense for their clients. At The Morris Firm, we have a legal team that dedicates their time and attention to each case we take.
When you hire us, we’ll thoroughly investigate the alleged crime and find a way to fight the charges against you. We care about our clients and will fight hard to get the charges dropped or reduced. We’ll use every resource and devise a strategy to dismantle the prosecution’s case. You can depend on us to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation.
Our Pensacola sex crimes attorney knows how to build a strong defense effectively. We work with clients just like you and understand the complexities of sex crime cases. We can locate evidence and key witnesses that contradict the prosecutor’s theories. We do whatever it takes to prove our clients are innocent or get their charges reduced to a lesser sentence.
Choose The Morris Firm
When you’re facing a serious allegation like a sex crime, you need help from someone who knows how to navigate the legal system. We understand the Florida laws and statutes and how to apply them to each case we take. When you hire us, we’ll leverage our knowledge and trial experience to prove to a jury that you didn’t commit the crime and show why the prosecutor’s evidence doesn’t prove that you’re the offender.
Our team of professionals are available 24/7 to take your call. We’re available whenever you need us. Our commitment to our clients and exceptional customer service have helped us earn praise from clients throughout Pensacola and the state of Florida. We’ll stand by your side through every step of the case.
If you’re facing charges for a sex crime, call (850) 503-2626 to speak with a knowledgeable Pensacola sex crime attorney.