The attorneys at Arnold Law have handled thousands of criminal cases many of which involving sex crimes. L. J. Arnold IV is an experienced attorney in Green Cove Springs who represents clients throughout Clay and St John's Counties including St Augustine, Orange Park, Middleburg, Keystone Heights, Fleming Island and Palatka. Mr. Arnold IV can provide a free consultation in person or over the phone for individuals charged with criminal offenses or under investigation for criminal charges.
Crimes of a sexual nature often carry very harsh penalties including long prison sentences, probation, registration as a sex offender and in some cases involuntary commitment after a sentence has been served. The arrest itself can have collateral consequences such as losing a job or destroying a reputation even if the charges are later dropped.
There are laws related to sex offenses. The penalties vary depending on the severity of the crime, the harm to the victim and the past criminal record of the defendant as well as other factors such as where a weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
The common sex crimes are listed below but this is not a complete list
- Child Molestation
- Child Pornography
- Date Rape
- Indecent Exposure
- Internet Solicitation
- Lewd and Lascivious Battery
- Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
- Sexual Battery
- Sexual Assault
- Solicitation of a Prostitute
- Statutory Rape
- Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors
If you or a loved one are under investigation or have been arrested for a sex crime contact our office for a consultation. It is extremely important to be sure that even if you have not been convicted of the sex crime, you may possibly still face all of the lasting effects throughout your life. There is a stigma associated with sex crimes. People may judge you based simply on the accusations and others may judge you primarily because of your involvement in the case, furthermore some may still accuse you. It is very important to secure legal counsel right away. Give our experienced attorneys at Arnold Law a call today to schedule a consultation. We will stand by you each step of the way while also helping you understand all of your rights. Our team of professional Clay County defense lawyers come armed with extensive knowledge in sex crimes and sexual assault defense.
Sex Offender Registration Requirement
The sex offender registration has evolved over the years but currently defendants are required to register on a national list which is monitored. Each state maintains a system for monitoring and tracking sex offenders when they get out of jail or prison. The list is now generally available to the public and can be found on the internet. Defendant's who fail to register face serious penalties which are often unjust. A defendant may be found in violation for a failure to register if he or she is working in another county than he is registered or if he or she sleeps are friends house where he or she is not registered. The best way to not get charged with a failure to register as a sexual offender or predator is to stay off the list in the first place. The amount of time each defendant must register depends on the type of crime. It can be difficult to impossible to find a job or obtain a lease for a home when on the sexual registry. It is so important to have an attorney who understands the sex offender registration requirements for sex crimes. We provide free consultations if you are charged with a sex crime and there is the potential for registration.
Civil Commitment for Sex Offenders
Civil commitment is used to keep sex offenders out of the general public. Commitment is done pursuit the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment and Care Act. Civil commitment is not a punishment for past crimes but to protect the general public from future crimes. There has been much controversy of the subject but the supreme court has upheld civil commitments. Civil commitments are usually only petitioned in the most extreme cases. There are legal protections or rights which include the right to counsel, to present evidence, subpoena witnesses, cross examine witnesses and to testify at the commitment hearing. If a loved one has been committed you may petition the court for release if he or she is no longer sexually dangerous because the person's condition has improved.
The purposeful exposure of one's genitals in public which causes others to be offended is generally considered indecent exposure. Indecent exposure often includes sexual gratification or offense/insult. Breast are not considered genitals and thus exempt. Going into public in one's underwear is not indecent because the bare genitals are not exposed. If you are charged with indecent exposure for urinating in public you may have a valid defense. What may seem like a silly charge or arrest can have long lasting consequences on your record. This can shape the rest of your life. It is so important to speak with a lawyer in indecent exposure cases.
The "the oldest profession in the world," prostitution laws make it a crime to have sex for money. Prostitution is not illegal in all states but it is illegal in Florida. Solicitation occurs when a defendant attempts to procure a prostitute. If the victim is a minor the crime is enhanced. An arrest for solicitation can be embarrassing but you should still contact a criminal defense attorney.
Rape is commonly considered non-consensual forced sex. Consent is the element litigated the most in rape cases. There are many types of rape that do not include force including date rate and statutory rape. If you are even being investigated for rape you should consult with a criminal lawyer to discuss your rights and options regarding the alleged rape. The penalties can be harsh and collateral consequences are some of the highest in rape cases.
Statutory rape is sex with a minor child. Consent cannot be given by a child to have sex and thus is strict liability statutory rape. Statutory rape is usually charged under sexual battery or assault. If you or a loved one is charged or under investigation for statutory rape you must consult with a profession. Rape cases can be extremely complex and the consequences are very high. The state must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and your attorney's job is to establish a defense. You must have an experienced criminal defense attorney for a rape case.
Sexting often comes up in sex crimes because the victim pictured is a minor. Child pornography laws are very strict with the harshest of penalties. Sexting is more prevalent now than when the child porn laws were written so the defendant's fate could be left to the prosecutor’s discretion. Laws are rapidly changing to address this very situation. They may have changed since this was written. If you or a loved one is charged with child porn sexting you must consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Revenge porn has been recently added to the list of sex crimes as states tackle the problem. In Florida, the picture or video must identify the victim. The material must be sent to a website. The material must be sent to a website with the victim’s consent. Where no legitimate purpose exists. The defendant must intent to cause substantial emotional distress. This is a huge burden for the state. There have been many cases where a public figure's sex tape ends up on the internet. Celebrity sex tapes may not fall within the revenge porn statutes for a variety of reasons. The defendant need not be an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or be looking for revenge. The defendant crimes need only meet the statutory definitions. Most states now have revenge porn laws including Florida. You could have to register as a sex offender for a revenge porn case so it is important to hire an attorney who understands sex crimes in your state.
Sex Crimes in Family Law Cases
Sex crime accusations are often brought to light during family cases such as divorce or custody proceedings. The most common accusation is the molestation of the children. Anytime these accusations are brought to light the judge will take a step back and make sure the children are safe and not being abused. These types of accusations will slow down a family law case. If the accusations are false then the accuser will generally be punished as bad as if the accusations were true and made against them. This is usually done by awarding custody or time-sharing to the other party. If your spouse or children's parent has made an accusation against you or a loved one please contact a local criminal and family law attorney. Arnold Law has a criminal defense attorney and a family law attorney. Anything that comes out in open court in the family law case can subject you to criminal charges. If you have any questions or concerns about sex crime accusations please consult with an attorney.
Sex Crime Defenses
The sex crime defenses generally come down to Consent, innocence and mental capacity. Innocence is usually the best defense. "I didn't do it." Victims can lie for a variety of reasons in sex crime cases. There can be consensual sexual encounters that one party may claim was nonconsensual. There is also the defense of insanity. The defendant could provide an alibi to prove innocence. There can also be exculpatory evidence like DNA that doesn't match the defendant's. Even if you have a defense you should consult with a lawyer that handles sex crimes because he or she will be familiar with the defense and can advise you on the best course of action. You may call our office for a free consultation regarding defenses to sex crimes. We can meet in person or we can arrange a phone consultation.
Sentencing and Penalties
If you are convicted at trial or enter a plea of guilty the judge will sentence you for the sex crime which you have been found guilty. The sentencing and penalties vary widely from charge to charge and state to state. Florida sets out a range of punishments in the Florida score sheet guidelines. The guidelines take into account the current charges and the level of felony or misdemeanor, past criminal record, victim injury, if a weapon was used and other factors. This guideline gives the judge a range of sentencing in term of months in prison. The judge may deviate from the sentencing guidelines if a legally permissible reason to do so exist. There can be minimum mandatory fines as well. Mitigation may be introduced at the sentencing hearing. Federal sex crime sentencing varies from state sentencing. If you arrested you have a constitutional right to legal representation but you should speak to an experienced lawyer in the area of practice which you need. If you have a sex crime case contact a criminal defense lawyer. Arnold Law has experience in handling sex crime cases in Florida.
If you have been accused of a sex crime you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney can help you with you or your loved one's case the more time there is to form defense and fight the case. The arresting officers and state attorney will not waste time and you should not either. While our consultation is FREE if you cannot afford an attorney, one may be available to you though legal aid, the public defender's office or pro-bono. If you cannot afford and attorney please let us know and we will try to help you find representation. If you are arrested you have rights and it's important to understand them. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights. Arnold Law will work hard to get the charges dropped or get the best result possible under the facts. Sex crimes are one of the most serious categories of criminal cases. It is so important to have appropriate representation in a criminal sex crime case.