Lakeland Sex Crimes Attorneys
Sex crimes are some of the most stigmatizing charges a person can face. Just the accusation is enough to ruin one’s life. Even if a charge never comes, the accusation alone is enough to cause harm to hour reputation and career. Sometimes sexual accusations are the horrific carry-over from a nasty divorce, custody battle, or even the end of a bad relationship. No one wants to think that people would lie about sexual accusations; however, it happens. Children have even been found to have been coached into saying horrific things happened to them, that were later found to have false. This situation is grave, and you need an aggressive, compassionate lawyer by your side every step of the way.
Many sex crimes carry very severe mandatory penalties, including very long prison sentences. Others may require you to register as a sex offender or predator the rest of your life. Finding a place to live, a job and other activities of daily life can become nearly impossible. If you fail to register, you will be charged with a new felony crime-failure to register as a sex offender.
If you have been accused of a sex crime, you need an aggressive attorney who will fight for you when others have already pre-judged you. Sometimes, you will hear of allegations prior to being criminally charged. If this happens, it is critical that you contact an attorney. You may have not been charged because the prosecutor does not have enough evidence--yet. Eventually he or she will. Absolutely under no circumstances should you voluntarily speak to law enforcement or anyone from the Department of Children and Family Services without an attorney. Contact Heather Bryan Law, and let us put together a team to fight for you and aggressively protect you and your rights.
Florida's "Romeo and Juliet" Law
Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law was created to address concerns about high school age youth being labeled as sexual offenders or sexual predators as a result of participating in a consensual sexual relationship. The stigma and consequences that come with that classification have lifelong consequences that affect things such as an offender’s future employment opportunities, an offender’s ability to attend his or her own child’s school functions, and where an offender can live. The registry provides no clear distinction between the young “Romeo and Juliet” sex offenders who had consensual sex and the offenders who harm children and pose a real risk to society. Section 943.04354, creates a mechanism for this group of offenders to file a motion or petition in state court for removal of the registration requirement if they meet certain criteria while still complying with federal law requirements.
- The victim must be at least 14 years-old.
- The offender no more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the offense.
- The victim must have consented to the sexual conduct.
- Qualifying offenses for consideration of registration relief by the court fall under the following statutes: s. 794.011 (sexual battery); s. 800.04 (lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age); s. 827.071 (sexual performance by a child); or s. 847.0135(5) (certain computer transmissions prohibited).
The law only addresses the registry requirement and does not make the offense legal. The sexual conduct associated with these offenses is still a crime when the victim is 15 years of age or younger, even if both of the participants are minors and the act was consensual. For minors ages 16-17, s. 794.05, provides an age-gap provision that allows a 16 or 17 year-old to legally consent to sexual conduct with a person 16-23 years of age.14 The fact that an offender may not have known the age of the victim or the victim portrayed themselves to be older, cannot be used as a defense to prosecution. However, as provided in s. 921.0026, these facts can be offered at sentencing as mitigation for the court’s consideration.
If you have been charged with a sexual crime or need help filing a petition under the Romeo and Juliet statute, contact Heather Bryan Law today for your free and confidential consultation, 863-825-5309.