Fort Lauderdale Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

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Being accused of a sex crime in Fort Lauderdale is a significant threat to your freedom, reputation, and future. These offenses carry some of the harshest penalties under Florida law, and the social stigma of a conviction could block you from living in certain areas or working in certain industries. If you face sex crime charges in Fort Lauderdale, it’s vital to contact Phillips | Tadros, P.A., immediately.

A Fort Lauderdale sex crime lawyer at Phillips | Tadros, P.A., understands the stress and fear you’re likely feeling and will help you in this challenging moment. Our Fort Lauderdale attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and can provide the support and legal guidance you need. We can handle all the legal details of your case, from supporting you during interactions with police and prosecutors and gathering evidence to support your defense to negotiating a plea deal (as appropriate) and vigorously representing you at trial. We are prepared to defend your legal rights to the utmost while working hard to avoid the worst potential outcomes in your case.

Call us today or complete our contact form for a free, confidential consultation with a Fort Lauderdale sex crime defense attorney.

Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer After a Sexual Offense Charge

If you’ve been charged with sex crimes in Fort Lauderdale, it’s crucial to have a dedicated, capable lawyer to protect your rights. Florida sex laws are complicated, and the consequences of a sex crime conviction are serious. You might face fines, significant jail time, entry into the Florida sex offender registry, and damage to your reputation. A skilled lawyer from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., will work hard to minimize these outcomes, protecting your future and freedom.

A good defense lawyer knows the relevant laws inside and out, which means they can build an effective defense on your behalf. Every detail matters in these serious criminal cases. A lawyer can meticulously examine evidence, challenge the prosecution’s case, and craft a defense strategy tailored to your situation. They also know the Fort Lauderdale courts and the prosecutors who work there, which can be valuable during pre-trial negotiations.

The stakes are high, and you shouldn’t make the mistake of facing them alone. Instead, turn to an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., for help.

What Is Considered a Sexual Offense in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

Sexual offenses in Florida cover a broad range of acts, including the following:

  • Indecent Exposure – It is illegal to expose one’s sexual organs to another person in public or in private if the offender does so in a “vulgar or indecent” manner.
  • Sexual Battery – This is any nonconsensual sexual act, including oral, vaginal, and anal penetration, as well as touching someone’s sexual organs.
  • Statutory Rape – Also known as lewd or lascivious battery, statutory rape is a sexual act with a minor older than 12 but younger than 16, even if they nominally consented to the act. Lack of awareness of the minor’s age is not a permissible defense.
  • Prostitution – Engaging in sexual acts for money is strictly illegal under Florida law. Notably, those who support or financially benefit from prostitution may also face criminal charges.
  • Human Trafficking – Florida’s human trafficking statute prohibits anyone from coercing someone into performing sexual acts. The same law also includes harsh penalties for those who engage in sexual activities with victims of human trafficking.

What Are Internet Sex Crimes?

Lawmakers and the police have taken increasingly harsh stances against Internet sex crimes in recent years. Common internet sex crimes include the following:

  • Possession of ChildPornography – Possessing, selling, lending, transmitting, or giving away any type of pornographic material involving or depicting sexual acts with minors is a severe offense under Florida law. Furthermore, it is not a valid defense for alleged offenders to argue that they did not know the materials involved minors.
  • Internet Solicitation of a Minor – Florida law prohibits using the Internet to arrange for sexual encounters with minors. Again, it is not a valid defense for alleged offenders to argue they did not know they were traveling to meet a minor.
  • Sexual Cyberharassment (“Revenge Porn”) – Posting or sharing a sexually explicit image of someone that contains personally identifying information is illegal in Florida if the person in the image did not give their consent. While the legal term for this offense is sexual cyberharassment, the more common term for this offense is “revenge porn.”

What Should I Do if I Have Been Arrested and Accused of Committing a Sex Crime in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

If the police have arrested you on suspicion of a sex crime in Fort Lauderdale or Broward County, it’s crucial to remain calm and respectful during your interactions with them. Avoid making any statements or engaging in discussions about the accusation with the police. Remember, prosecutors can use your words against you.

Always exercise your right to remain silent. Politely but firmly tell the officers that you wish to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. This is your right and is vital for protecting your interests.

To that end, contact a Fort Lauderdale sex crime defense lawyer from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., as soon as possible. They will help you understand your rights, protect you during interactions with police and prosecutors, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Offenses in Florida?

You might face the following penalties on conviction for sex-related offenses:

  • Sexual Battery – Sexual battery is always a felony offense, though the particular degree of felony and associated penalty depends on the facts of the case. In cases involving minors under 12 and certain other victims, offenders could face life in prison or even the death penalty.
  • Statutory Rape – As with sexual battery, the penalties for statutory rape depend on the particular facts of the case. At a minimum, statutory rape is a third-degree felony and carries up to five years in prison. At the upper end, this charge is a first-degree felony and potentially carries a life sentence.
  • Human Trafficking – Human trafficking is a first-degree felony and carries up to a 30-year sentence. If minors are involved, the sentence could be extended to life in prison.
  • Prostitution – Prostitution is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and carries up to 60 days in jail. Repeat offenses will lead to harsher penalties. However, anyone who compels someone to commit prostitution or benefits financially from prostitution could face felony charges.
  • Indecent Exposure – Indecent exposure is a first-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and carries up to one year in jail. Repeated offenses are a third-degree felony and carry up to five years in prison.
  • Possession of Child Pornography – At minimum, possessing child pornography is a third-degree felony and carries up to five years in prison.
  • Internet Solicitation of a Minor – This offense is either a third- or second-degree felony, with the former carrying a sentence of up to five years imprisonment per charge and the latter carrying up to 15 years imprisonment per charge.
  • Sexual Cyberharassment/Revenge Porn – Posting revenge porn is a first-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and carries up to one year in jail. Repeated offenses are third-degree felonies and carry up to five years in prison.

Many of these offenses include substantial fines in addition to their prison terms.

What Are Potential Defenses in Sex Crime Cases?

Here are some key defenses, including how a lawyer can assist in challenging evidence:

  • Consent – Demonstrating that any activities were consensual is a primary defense for many (but not all) sex crime charges. This involves illustrating mutual agreement and understanding between parties.
  • Alibi – Showing that you were elsewhere at the time of the alleged crime can effectively refute charges. Documentation and witness accounts can support this defense.
  • Mistaken Identity – This defense asserts that you were incorrectly identified as the perpetrator, relying on evidence that points to someone else as the offender.
  • False Accusations – Explaining that the motives behind an accusation were fraudulent and made out of jealousy or for revenge can discredit them. Detailed investigation and witness testimony may play a role here.
  • Challenging Evidence – A crucial aspect of your defense involves scrutinizing the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. Your lawyer can question the legality of how evidence was obtained, including any breaches of your rights during collection or interrogation processes. They can also contest the integrity and handling of physical evidence, such as DNA, to uncover procedural errors or contamination that could undermine its credibility.

What You Need to Know About the Florida Sex Offender Registry

The Florida Sex Offender Registry is a public database with information on individuals convicted of sex offenses. The registry distinguishes between three levels of sex offenders, reflecting the severity of their crimes and the likelihood of reoffending. They are as follows:

  • Sexual Predators – These are individuals considered to have a high risk of reoffending, often because they were convicted of severe sex crimes.
  • Career Offenders – This category includes those who have committed multiple sex offenses or other felonies, indicating a persistent pattern of criminal behavior.
  • Sexual Offenders – This level is for individuals convicted of sex offenses that do not qualify them as either Sexual Predators or Career Offenders, representing a lower assessed risk compared to the other categories.

Registered sex offenders must provide comprehensive personal information, including addresses and employment details, and must regularly update this information. Failing to comply can lead to further criminal charges.