If you are being investigated for a sex crime in St. Petersburg, you should consult an experienced attorney without delay. Sex crimes include statutory rape, Internet sex crimes, rape, lewd and lascivious crimes, child pornography, and prostitution, among others. A conviction may come with very harsh consequences, such as prison time, sex offender probation, and difficulty finding a job or home. Many people also find it challenging to deal with the requirement to register as a sex offender. Information from the sex offender registry is readily available and can haunt you for a lifetime. It is important to retain a sex crime attorney in the St. Petersburg area who can help you defend against the charges. Will Hanlon has accumulated over 25 years of experience in this area of the law. In addition to advocating for you after you have been charged, he can even get involved before the filing of criminal charges in an effort to halt the process as soon as possible so that you can move forward with your life.Internet Sex Crimes
Internet sex crimes include chat room luring, obscenity, child exploitation, possession or distribution of child pornography, traveling to meet a minor, or soliciting a minor. Each of these requires the prosecution to prove different elements, and the punishments can be harsh. For example, if you are convicted of traveling to meet a minor, you can be charged with a second-degree felony and may face up to 15 years in prison.Rape or Sexual Battery
A charge of rape or sexual battery under Florida Statute section 794.011 requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you engaged in vaginal, oral, or anal contact with another person who did not consent, using an object or a sexual organ. Rape is a second-degree felony that can also result in up to 15 years of imprisonment. If you are convicted of committing sexual battery on someone who is 12 years old without that person’s consent, and you threatened to use or used a deadly weapon or physical force that would likely inflict serious injuries, you can be convicted of a life felony. However, the penalties for rape or sexual battery can be adjusted according to mitigating or aggravating circumstances. A St. Petersburg criminal attorney can help you present mitigating evidence in a convincing manner.Statutory Rape
Statutory rape is treated a bit differently from non-consensual rape involving adults. Statutory rape is charged when someone has sex with a minor, even if the minor initiated it. People who are 15 or younger are not considered able to meaningfully consent to sex. You can be required to register as a sex offender for statutory rape. When a minor is convicted of statutory rape of someone close in age to them (not more than four years apart and between 14 and 17 in age), they may be able to petition to have the registration requirement removed under what is known as the Romeo and Juliet law. However, you should consult a St. Petersburg sex crime attorney to help you navigate this complex process.Lewd and Lascivious Crimes
There are four lewd and lascivious crimes, all of which are sex crimes in which the victim is less than 16 years old. These are lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, and lewd or lascivious exhibition. You cannot defend against any of these crimes on the basis of consent or that you did not know how old the child was. However, as with other sex crimes, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, a high burden. Additionally, there may be constitutional or procedural defenses that can be used to defend you, and in some cases, there may be credibility issues concerning an alleged victim. A sex crime lawyer can help St. Petersburg residents try to undermine the prosecution’s case.Sex Offender Registration
Certain sex crimes require you to register as a sex offender. These sex crimes can include unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, rape, human trafficking, procuring minors for prostitution, sexual performance by a child, child pornography crimes, and selling or buying underage children. The registration requirements can be onerous, and often you must go back to the sheriff's office to meet the requirements multiple times a year. Sexual predators must also register. A key difference between the sex offender and sexual predator designations is that you may be eligible to petition to have a sex offender designation removed, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements, but you cannot have the sexual predator designation removed.Prostitution
Florida Statute section 796.07 prohibits prostitution. The prosecutor must show that you gave or received a body for sexual activity for hire. If there was no agreement to exchange money or other items of value for sex, this may be a defense. However, there is a broad array of prostitution crimes. Not only a prostitute but also customers, pimps, people who own brothels, people who transport someone for the purpose of prostitution, or people aiding or abetting prostitution can be prosecuted under section 796.07. St. Petersburg sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon understands the manifold situations in which these charges can arise, and he can investigate the details of your circumstances to build a defense.Injunctions Against Sexual Violence
In some cases, victims of a sex crime ask the court for an injunction against sexual violence. These injunctions may be tailored to particular circumstances and can include provisions such as requiring a perpetrator of sexual violence to stay 500 feet away at all times or not permitting contact. Even if you do not plan to initiate contact with someone who has accused you of a sex crime, you may want to fight an injunction. If you violate an injunction, the violation can be used for additional criminal charges. Such an injunction can also have an impact on family law matters or your ability to go to work or school.Consult a Knowledgeable Sex Crime Attorney in the St. Petersburg Area
If you are accused of a sex crime in St. Petersburg, you should consult us even before the charges are filed if possible. Our founder, St. Petersburg criminal lawyer Will Hanlon, will be able to advise you on a defense strategy and fight the prosecution’s case at every step of the way. He has achieved many dismissals and acquittals for people who felt that their situation was hopeless. You should not take the first plea bargain offered by the prosecution or assume that you will be convicted without contacting a knowledgeable attorney about your potential options. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your case.
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