T. charles Shafer Attorney At Law PLLC.

How Are Sex Crimes Defined In Florida?


If there is a physical touching and it is usually done with some sort of lewdness or lascivious nature attached to the touching or fondling, but sex crimes can also be voyeurism. For instance, having child pornography and viewing it on a computer, I consider those to be sex crimes as well. Generally, it is some sort of prohibited activity with another of a lewd or lascivious nature.

Would That Also Include Having Consensual Sex With A Minor?

Yes. Many of those crimes are, I would say, called status crimes, for lack of a better phrase. If you are below a certain age, an individual cannot consent to the sexual activity and so even if it is consensual, it is not in the eyes of the law.

Common Types Of Sex Crime Cases In Florida

Anything and everything. We have handled child pornography and computer crimes. We have handled what we call travelers where individuals will meet what they think are teenaged girls many times in chat rooms and on the internet and then travel to meet them and get arrested. A number of those cases end up in a federal court and deal with everything that is referred to commonly as considered rape. In Florida, it is known as sexual battery. It can be sexual battery between adults, sexual battery involving children, lewd or lascivious activities, lewd or lascivious touching, and the whole gamut actually.

What Determines Whether A Sex Crime Is Charged As A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?

Nearly all of the sexual crimes in Florida are generally considered felonies. There are some as in when you expose yourself to another, that can be a misdemeanor, but nearly everything else is in a circuit court felony level these days. So, if it has a lewd and lascivious component attached to it, it is considered a “sex crime”, you are likely to find it in a felony court.

Human Reaction On Being Charged With A Sex Crime In Florida

I have handled cases with very poor people who have been charged with sexual offenses and I have handled cases where the individual is quite well to do and it depends on the nature of the accusations. What comes to mind in cases of individuals that are otherwise law abiding citizens is situations involving teenagers, especially stepdaughters or stepsons. The younger people are very savvy these days. They know that if they want to get rid of what they consider to be an intruder in their home, i.e. a stepfather or stepmother, they can make a 9-1-1 call themselves.

Then everything breaks loose from there and people can be charged and go through the whole crucible of a sexual prosecution. Basically on the testimony of one single person this can happen, but afterwards their mental state can be that they are typically frustrated, dazed, confused, angry and scared. Except for some cases, quite honestly, sometimes you get those individuals that are true pedophiles and they believe that they have a right to do the things they have done or what they are accused of doing to children, but those are not the individuals that are in the majority.

The Social Stigma Associated With Sex Crime Charges In Florida

Most of the public convicts’ people before there is a trial, even after a trial. That stigma always remains even if they are acquitted at trial. They are forever labeled as an offender, pervert, whatever kind of phrase you want to put on it. It is very difficult. We like to think that when we, as criminal defense attorneys are dealing with a sexual case and you are supposed to be starting out with a presumption of innocence in a jury trial, that presumption of innocence is hard to find with people when you are talking to them about someone who is accused of a sexual offense like having one foot already in quicksand.

Do Sex Crime Cases Commonly Involve Strangers Or Acquaintances?

It is most commonly people who know one another, be it family members, friends, certainly with the younger crowd, people that at least know one another from schools or actual activities that type of thing. But there is a good percentage of activities and prosecutions that come about with people that otherwise are not involved or do not know one another. The majority of it, would be people that have some familiarity with one another.

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