Being charged with a sex offense or even accused of a sex offense carries a lifelong stigma. As a defense attorney, I have handled cases from Rape (Sexual Battery) to Molestation of Children (Lewd and Lascivious Molestation). Both types of charges I have achieved complete dismissals. These cases often involve false accusations, but the prosecution is tasked to prosecute these cases even when the testimony is weak at best. Punishments are severe and carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence. It is imperative to get a lawyer on board early.
I also handle Child Pornography cases that involve searches from peer to peer networks. The types of searches done by law enforcement can be illegal and it is advisable to retain the services of a experienced criminal defense lawyer.
A Thorough Sex Crime Lawyer
My name is Robert A. Dees and I have been defending sex offenses for over a decade. I have learned that the best offense begins with a great defense, and defending these cases aggressively is a must. The State’s case must be examined and scrutinized unlike any other type of charge. These cases are winnable; but only a lawyer with experience in the area of sex crimes can help. Children’s Advocacy Center in Niceville is tasked to handle prosecution of all sex offenses.
If you have been arrested or you are currently under investigation for a sex crime, call Robert A. Dees today at 850-439-0999, at no charge, to discuss your case and set up a consultation. I defend clients accused of sexual related crimes throughout Okaloosa County, including in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Niceville.
Sex Offenses Under Florida Law
Sexual Battery (Fla.Stat. § 794.011): The crime of sexual battery (rape) typically involves allegations that a person penetrated the vagina, anus or mouth with a sexual organ or another object without the other person’s consent.
Consent cannot be achieved by force or the threat of use of force. Additionally, a person may be unable to give consent because he or she is unconscious or under the influence of drugs.
If the victim is a minor, typically under 16 years of age, then that person cannot give consent. This is often called statutory rape, or lewd and lascivious battery.
Lewd and Lascivious Acts Upon or In Presence of Person Younger Than 16 (Fla.Stat. § 800.04): There are four offenses that fall under this category, which all involve a victim younger than 16 years of age. It is not a defense to claim that you did not know or were mistaken about the victim’s age. Consent is not a defense.
Lewd and lascivious battery is engaging in any sexual act involving anal or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ or any object or of the mouth by a sexual organ when the victim is older than 12 years of age, but younger than 16 years of age. It is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
Lewd and lascivious molestation involves the accused touching the victim’s genitals, breasts or buttocks in a lewd or lascivious manner. If the victim is younger than 12 years of age and the accused is 18 years of age or older, then it is a life felony. If the accused is younger than 18 years of age or the victim is between 12 and 16 years of age, then it is a second degree felony., punishable by up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
Lewd and lascivious conduct means the accused touched someone younger than 16 years of age in a sexual manner, or asked a person younger than 16 years of age to commit a sexual act. It is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
Lewd and lascivious exhibition means to intentionally masturbate, expose the genitals in a lewd way or otherwise commit a sexual act in front of a person younger than 16 years of age. It is a second degree felony if the accused is 18 years of age or older; and a third degree felony if the accused is younger than 18 years of age, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Indecent Exposure (Fla.Stat. § 800.03): It is a first degree misdemeanor to expose sexual organs in a “vulgar or indecent manner” in a public place, on another person’s property or in a place that can be seen from private premises. It is illegal to be naked in any public place other than one provided for that purpose, like a clothing-optional resort.
Prostitution (Fla.Stat. § 796.07): It is illegal to pay for sex acts and to offer sex acts for pay. Both soliciting prostitution and working as a prostitute are second degree misdemeanors for a first offense, first degree misdemeanors for a second offense and third degree felonies for any subsequent acts.
Some offenses related to prostitution can be much graver. Prostituting a minor is a second degree felony. Forcing or compelling any person to become a prostitute is a third degree felony.
False Accusations and Exaggerated Claims
In many sex crime cases, the primary evidence is the testimony of the victim. It is unknown why people make up false accusations, but this happens every day. Sometimes false accusations aren’t intentional, but may be because of how a child may remember something or attaches significance to something that was meaningless or unintentional.
It is my job to show that the alleged victim’s story is incorrect and to help right a wrong that has been done to my client.
Punishment for Sex Crimes
Sexual battery can be a capital felony, which the State of Florida usually reserves for the most heinous of crimes. If found guilty of capital sexual battery, you will be sentenced to life in prison.
Like other crimes, the prison and fines you are sentenced to depend on the classification:
- Life Felony: Life in prison, or at least 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
- First Degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Third Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- First Degree Misdemeanor: Up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Second Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
Registering as a Sex Offender
You must register as a sex offender if you are convicted of certain offenses. Those offenses include:
- Sexual battery
- Lewd or lascivious acts in the presences of a person younger than 16 years of age
- Child pornography charges
As a registered sex offender, you will not be allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, park or playground per Fla. Stat. § 775.215. You will also be placed in a public database where anyone with internet access can see your name, picture, address and your charges.
If you are convicted, you will find it difficult to find a job, rent a home or live a normal life with the stigma of being a sexual offender. As a criminal defense attorney, I fight for those facing any kind of sex crime.
Convictions From Out of State
If you were convicted of a sexually motivated offense in another state and moved to the Okaloosa County area, you must register locally with the Okaloosa County Sheriff. If you were registered in the state where you moved from, you must register again.
Under state law, persons must register within 48 hours if they establish a temporary residence. Temporary residence means any location where the person will be staying a total of five days or more in a year. This means that if you are in the area visiting relatives or here for five days for vacation, you must register in Okaloosa County within two days.
Failure to register as a sex offender is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Sex Offense Resources
State Sex Offender Registry: This public database is available with internet access. Users can look up sex offenders by name, neighborhood, university, email address or internet chat handle.
Okaloosa County Sheriff Sex Offender/Predator Page: This page, has information pertaining to sex offenders.
Fla. Stat. § 943.0435: The state law mandating who must register as a sex offender and providing penalties for failure to register.