Pensacola Defense Lawyers

Pensacola Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing sexual assault charges and need help building your defense, contact The Morris Firm immediately. Sexual assault is a felony offense in Florida. If convicted, you could spend significant time in prison and pay a hefty fine. Being found guilty of a sex crime could upend your entire life. You could lose your job, family, friends, and reputation. Even if you were wrongfully accused, there’s a stigma that comes with sex crimes. You automatically get labeled, and it’s hard to get away from it.

At The Morris Firm, we understand the seriousness of your situation. We’ll work diligently to create a strong defense strategy and attempt to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Your Pensacola sexual assault defense lawyer will be there to guide you through the legal process and provide the support you need. We’ll protect your rights and fight hard for your freedom. You can depend on us to help you get back on your feet and move forward with your life.

To schedule a free case evaluation and discuss the details of your sexual assault charges, call us today at (850) 503-2626.

Legal Definition of Sexual Assault in Florida

The terms sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape are often used interchangeably. According to Florida Statute § 794.011, it refers to anal, oral, or vaginal penetration with or by another person’s sexual organ, or vaginal or anal penetration by an object. Various factors indicate the classification of a sexual assault offense, such as the age of the victim. However, sexual assault generally refers to someone at least 12 years old in any situation below:

  • Coerced rape by use of threats
  • Physically unable to resist the assault
  • Mentally incompetent and the offender has knowledge of or reason to believe it
  • Physically incapacitated
  • Given a substance, such as a date rape drug
  • Without the perpetrator using violence or physical force, suffered sexual battery despite not giving consent

There are multiple forms of sexual assault, including:

  • Uninvited and inappropriate touching
  • Incest
  • Non-consensual and forced sexual activity
  • Unwelcomed kissing, fondling, exhibitionism, exposing genitalia, and voyeurism
  • Different types of sexual harassment
  • Suggestive statements or sexual demands to a child or adult
  • Using a position of trust or authority to manipulate unwanted sexual acts

Penalties for a Sexual Assault Conviction

If you get convicted of sexual assault, the punishment you could face will depend on the circumstances of the crime you committed, such as:

  • The age of the victim
  • Whether the victim has a physical or mental handicap
  • If there was force or a weapon used to commit the act
  • If the assault resulted in injuries

Sexual battery of a person at least 12 years old

  • Second-degree felony
  • Maximum of 15 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Up to life in prison if there was physical force or a deadly weapon to carry out the act

Sexual battery of a minor under 12 years old by a perpetrator at least 18 years of age

  • Can be found guilty if they committed the offense or attempted to commit it but did not succeed
  • Capital felony
  • Death penalty

Sexual battery of a minor under 12 years old by an offender under the age of 18

  • Life felony
  • Sentence of life in prison

Sexual battery of an individual under 18 years old by their parent or guardian

  • Life felony, first-degree felony, or third-degree felony depending on the victim’s age and circumstances of the act

First-degree felony sexual battery

  • Up to 30 years in state prison
  • Maximum of $10,000 fine

A first-degree felony conviction depends on various details surrounding the offense, such as:

  • If the offender was a police officer;
  • If the victim was physically unable to resist the assault;
  • If the offender threatened to use violence or force;
  • If the offender used drugs to subdue the victim;
  • If the victim was mentally or physically disabled; or
  • If the offender threatened to retaliate against the victim.

A person found to be a dangerous sexual felony offender could face at least 25 years to life in prison if any of the following is true:

  • They have a prior felony or sex crime conviction;
  • They caused serious bodily harm;
  • They committed the act on more than one victim; and/or
  • They threatened to use or used a deadly weapon during the assault.

Enhanced sentencing is for anyone that the court deems as a three-time violent felony offender, habitual felony offender, habitual violent felony offender, or a violent career criminal. The penalty ranges from five years in prison without the possibility of parole to life in prison. Factors that could affect sentencing include:

  • If the crime happened while facing the penalties of a prior conviction;
  • The offender was previously convicted of a felony or violent felony; or
  • The offense occurred within five years of release from court-order supervision or prison sentence.

Registering As A Sex Offender in Florida

If you get convicted of sexual assault, the judge might order you to register as a sexual offender. Florida laws regarding the registry require that you provide detailed information immediately after your prison release, including:

  • Full name
  • Height, weight, sex, race, and other identifying physical traits
  • Birthdate
  • Residence addresses in and out of state
  • Occupation and employer information
  • Social security number
  • Telephone number
  • Email addresses
  • Fingerprints
  • Description of committed crimes
  • Higher education institution
  • Photo

If any of the information above changes, you’re required to notify the local sheriff’s office within 48 hours so they can make the necessary updates on the registry database.

When you get out of prison, you also have to obtain a new driver’s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles that states you’re a sex offender. Like the registry, if there are any changes, you must notify the DMV within 48 hours.

As long as you’re a registered sex offender, there are specific restrictions you must comply with:

  • Possible participation in a sexual offender treatment program
  • Subject to random searches by a probation officer without the need for a warrant
  • Prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a park, school, or any area where children frequent
  • Prohibited from volunteering or working at an establishment where children frequent, such as a daycare center

Depending on what the judge indicates during sentencing, you’ll likely have to maintain current and accurate details on the registry for the rest of your life. You might be able to petition the court to remove yourself from the registry, depending on the circumstances of your conviction. An experienced Pensacola sexual assault defense lawyer from The Morris Firm can review your case details to determine if there are legal options available.

Possible Defenses to Your Sexual Assault Charges

Prosecutors have the burden of proof in any sex crime case. If you get arrested and charged with sexual assault, it’s up to the prosecution to prove you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That means they must provide the jury with substantial evidence and leave no room for the defense team to contradict or question any elements of the case.

Defending a sexual assault charge can be challenging. Unfortunately, alleged offenders could make mistakes during the arrest or questioning that makes it easier for the prosecutor to prove guilt. If you don’t know your rights, you might say something incriminating or fail to ask for a lawyer.

Your Pensacola sexual assault defense lawyer from The Morris Firm will develop the right strategy to argue against the charges you’re facing. Common defenses in this type of case include:

Consent

It’s not enough for the prosecutor to prove that the sexual act actually happened. They must also prove that the victim didn’t consent to it. In most situations, the only evidence to prove or disprove consent is the word of the alleged offender and victim. If there isn’t any physical evidence that you weren’t given consent before engaging in the sexual act, we can argue that the prosecution’s burden hasn’t been met.

Suppression of evidence

We can file a motion to suppress evidence if we find out law enforcement or someone else involved in the investigation obtained it illegally. Without certain pieces of evidence, it could weaken the prosecutor’s case and put us in a position to negotiate a plea deal or get the charges dropped. Examples of illegally obtained evidence include:

  • Someone recorded you without your consent or knowledge
  • There wasn’t a valid search warrant for the collection of physical evidence
  • The police didn’t read your Miranda rights

Dispute medical and physical evidence

DNA evidence is one of the most common types of evidence used to prove someone is guilty of sexual assault. There’s also medical evidence that could support the victim’s claims that an assault occurred. However, we could challenge the validity of the evidence by:

  • Filing a motion to suppress
  • Questioning how accurate and reliable the collecting and testing procedures are
  • Showing that the physical or medical evidence broke the chain of custody
  • Finding an expert to challenge the prosecutor’s conclusions based on the submitted evidence

Contact Us

When you hire the Pensacola sexual assault defense lawyer from The Morris Firm, you will receive one-on-one attention from someone who truly cares about you and the situation you’re in. We have a dedicated team that’s available 24/7, so you can speak with us whenever you need us. We know this is an overwhelming and stressful experience. We’ll be by your side every step of the way to offer support and guidance.

We’ll aggressively fight to secure your freedom, restore your reputation, and ensure you have the same opportunities as anyone else. Your Pensacola sexual assault defense lawyer has the experience, resources, and knowledge to prove your innocence or get the charges reduced so you’ll face a minor sentence. If you need help defending yourself against sexual assault allegations, call us at (850) 503-2626 to schedule your free case evaluation.

What Our Clients Are Saying


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Amazing! I didn’t have to worry about anything. After first meeting with Brandon, I was much more at ease with my case. He was very helpful with everything I asked and very understanding. I would highly recommend!

-Jessica

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This was the first time I needed to hire an Attorney and I was somewhat nervous. Mr. Morris was very easy to communicate with and basically told me from day one that the charges would be dropped and they were. I would highly recommend him to anyone.

-Zachary

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Brandon is committed to getting the best result for his clients. He negotiated the best deal for me with the state attorney. I recommend him to anyone looking for a lawyer committed to his clients.

-Former Client

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Brandon Morris is definitely an attorney myself and my family would recommend. Me and my husband retained Brandon and achieved the best possible result, a dismissal in the case. My son retained Brandon in his case and the conclusion of the case was what my son anticipated, a good result. Brandon is knowledgeable, understanding, compassionate about his clients, and has reasonable fees. When we talk to Brandon it is apparent that his is listening to every detail. Brandon has always been prompt in returning our calls. We will definitely use Brandon again if needed. He is an excellent attorney!

-Rachel

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I received a letter from the Morris Firm after I was released from the county detention and I immediately made an appointment for consult. Right away he eased my fears and made me feel confident that we can beat this case or get it resolved with minimal punishment. Retainer is reasonable, as well. Glad I hired him!

-James

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Brandon Morris has a thorough understanding of criminal law, has extensive courtroom experience and is a passionate advocate for his clients. He gave me a truthful and honest explanation of my situation, my options and what I could expect. Anyone would be lucky to have him as their advocate.

-Former Client

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Brandon understands the charges and what the defenses are. He works hard to ensure his clients get the best outcome possible.

-John

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I hired Brandon to be my attorney for a criminal case, and he exceeded my expectations. He always answered my questions and he represented me in the most professional manner. He always prepared and honest with me. I would highly recommend him. He will always be my attorney

-Laura