Tampa Sex Crime Attorney: Get Comprehensive Legal Representation Today
Sex crimes are serious offenses that can come with life-changing consequences. That is particularly true in Florida, where law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges take accusations of sex crimes very seriously. It is vital that anyone charged with charged with rape, child pornography, internet solicitation and other related offenses in Hillsborough or Pinellas County consult an experienced Tampa sex crime attorney.
At Whittel & Melton, we help people accused of sex crimes fight the charges head on. Our attorneys combine decades of legal experience to build the strongest possible defense for the people we represent, starting sometimes before they are even actually charged with a crime. We fight aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced ahead of trial while standing ready to defend clients in court when needed.
Our firm has a strong track record of successful results for the people that we represent. Our Tampa sex crime lawyers understand the pain and stress that can come with being accused with a sex crime. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients get the strongest legal defense.
Common Sex Crimes That Our Tampa Sex Crime Attorney Handles
Sex crimes are a general term that refers a wide range of criminal offenses. Although the penalties vary, a conviction can come with substantial money fines and significant time behind bars.
There is also a stigma that comes with having a sex crime on your record. You may be required to register publicly as a sex offender and keep law enforcement officers aware of your location and movements. You may also have a difficult time finding and keeping a job based on your record.
At Whittel & Melton, we represent people caused with sex crimes, including:
- Lewd and lascivious conduct: This crime covers situations in which a person touches another person who is under the age of 16 in a way that is vulgar or sexually related. It also applies to situations in which a person tries to get another person under the age of 16 to engage in a sex-related act.
- Prostitution: Prostitution – or the solicitation of prostitution – is the trading of sex for money or something else of value. Although it is a relatively common crime, it can come with serious penalties. That is particularly true in cases where the prostitute is a minor or is a victim of sex trafficking.
- Sexual assault: These offenses cover various aggressive sexual contact and other behavior that falls short of rape. Unwanted touching, fondling, groping and kissing are all commonly charged as sexual assault. The crimes often raises complicated questions of consent.
- Internet solicitation: This is a common computer sex crime, which involves luring or encouraging a person under the age of 18 to perform a sexual act, engage in certain behavior or share explicit images. A crime occurs when the enticement happens, even if the minor does not agree and the parties never meet in person.
- Traveling to meet a minor: Florida law makes it a crime for a person to travel to meet a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Local law enforcement officers often set up sting operations, posing as underage victims online. This can raise questions about entrapment.
- Child pornography: This crime refers to both the possession and distribution of pornographic images depicting children. It can be charged federally if a person crosses state lines with the illicit material or shares it across states through emails, text messages and other online communications.
- Sexting: This relatively new term refers to the sending, receiving or otherwise sharing of sexually explicit images, usually by text message. When it happens between an adult and a minor, it is considered child pornography and may be charged as other crimes. Sexting between teens raises other, more difficult legal questions.
If you have been charged with these or other sex crimes – or are suspected of a sex crime – you need a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in your corner. A Tampa sex crime attorney can help you understand the charges against you, as well as your rights and options. The lawyer can also help you start building an aggressive defense.
Defenses in Florida Rape Cases
Sexual battery – or forced sexual activity – is the legal term for rape in Florida. This is among the most serious sex offenses on the books, carrying strict penalties that vary based on the circumstances. A person convicted of the rape of a child under the age of 12, for example, is looking at a potential life sentence.
Consent – that the alleged victim willingly participated in the sexual contact – is a full defense in most rape cases. Consent defenses often come with a number of complex factual and legal questions.
An alleged victim’s failure to fight back or resist a person charged with rape is not, at least alone, enough to prove that the victim consented to the sexual activity. A person who is mentally incapacitated – as a result of intoxication, for example – is considered unable to consent. The same goes for those who are “physically helpless,” that is unable to communicate non-consent or to physically resist.
Statutory rape, also called unlawful sex with a minor, is a separate sex crime. It happens when a person who is at least 24 years old has sexual contact with a person 17 years old or younger. Statutory rape is a crime, even if the contact is consensual.
Consult a Tampa Sex Crime Attorney As Soon As Possible
If you or a loved one has been charged with or is suspected of a sex crime in Florida, you are well advised to seek the assistance of an experienced Tampa sex crime attorney.
The sex crime attorneys at Whittel & Melton represent clients in Tampa and throughout Florida who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses, from lewd and lascivious conduct to sexual assault and rape. We understand how cops and courts handle these cases and we work aggressively to fight criminal charges head on.
Our firm offices throughout the state, including in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola. Contact us online or call (866) 608-5529 for a free evaluation.
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