Tampa Sex Crime Lawyer

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Sex crimes are serious offenses that come with life-changing consequences. A Tampa sex crime attorney understand the pain and stress that can come with being accused of a sex crime. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients get the strongest legal defense.

Sexual Abuse Charges

Sexual abuse is a general term that refers to a wide range of unsolicited and unwanted sexual conduct. Although the penalties vary, a conviction can come with substantial monetary fines and significant time behind bars.

  • Lewd and lascivious conduct is defined as 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.
  • Sexual battery is the legal term for rape in Florida and among the most serious sex offenses on the books, carrying strict penalties that vary based on the circumstances.
  • Statutory rape, also called unlawful sex with a minor, is different than sexual battery. Statutory rape 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. A person convicted of the rape of a child under the age of 12, for example, is looking at a potential life sentence.
  • Sexual assault charges include various aggressive sexual contact and other behavior that falls short of rape. Unwanted touching, fondling, groping and kissing are all common sexual assault charges.
  • Internet solicitation is a common computer sex crime that 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 for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity is a crime in Florida. Local law enforcement officers often set up sting operations, posing as underage victims online, which can raise questions about entrapment – a possible sex crimes defense.
  • 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 carries serious penalties. That is particularly true in cases where the prostitute is a minor or is a victim of sex trafficking.
Working with a Florida Sex Crimes Defense Firm

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.

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.

Our attorneys combine decades of legal experience to build the strongest possible defense for the people we represent, starting sometimes before charges are even filed. We fight aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced ahead of the trial while standing ready to defend clients in court when needed.

Tampa Sex Crime Attorney Answers FAQs

If you’ve been arrested for a sex crime or are the potential suspect of a criminal investigation, it can be challenging to know what to expect. Learn more about the process from our experienced legal team, which includes a Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Specialist.

What do I Tell my Family Members?

As difficult as it can be, avoid telling your side of the story to friends or family. The prosecution can subpoena anyone you discuss your case with and use your own words against you.

Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can have disastrous consequences. When facing serious criminal charges, it can be impossible to know whom to trust. The prosecution can subpoena anyone you discuss your case with and use your own words against you.

What are my Rights After Being Suspected of a Sex Crime?

You are innocent until proven guilty. Remember you are a suspect, you are not required to assist in the investigation. Without a warrant, you have the right to refuse requests from law enforcement.

  • You can refuse to answer questions.
  • You can deny access to your home, computer, or other property.
Am I Going to Go to Jail?

It depends. Florida sex crime convictions carry some of the harshest minimum penalties in the country. Most are felony convictions and punishable by at least a year. Even a misdemeanor sex crime conviction can carry up to a year of jail time.

A Tampa sex crime attorney may have the option of helping you avoid jail time by reducing your charges through a plea bargain.

What is my First Step?

Take your accusations seriously. Even if you are innocent, false accusations can result in an arrest and even a trial. Resist the urge to “tell your side of the story” and contact a Tampa sex crime attorney ASAP. Hiring an attorney is not an admission of guilt. Even if you are innocent, you need to prepare a defense strategy.

Is Working with Your Sex Crime Lawyers Confidential?

Communication between you and your lawyer about your current case is confidential. A defense attorney’s job is to ensure the best possible outcome, whether you are innocent or guilty. Your lawyer will tell you what information they need to build your defense. With a few, very obscure exceptions, the communication between you and your lawyer is confidential.

Speak with a Tampa Sex Crime Attorney Today

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. Our firm offices throughout the state, including in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala, Gainesville, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Ft Lauderdale. Contact us online or call 866-608-5529 for a free and confidential evaluation.

Client Reviews
"Could never see myself using any other law firm. My case was a difficult one it was handled with perfection and extreme professionalism." R. B.
"The staff was very professional and attentive. They answered all my questions and walked me through the process step by step. I was very pleased with the outcome of my case." D.W.
"The whole staff at Whittel & Melton was nice and always ready to help. However, I worked mostly with Jason. He demonstrated that he understood what to expect with our case and better that he cared about what was happening. I was very pleased with the outcome of our case." G.S.