Serious Sexual Crimes in Florida
News broke recently that a 911 dispatcher in Palm Bay was suspected of engaging in sexual acts with an 11-year-old child. It is not believed that the woman used her position as a 911 dispatcher in the commission of the acts; however, any sexual conduct with a young child is obviously illegal regardless of where the woman was employed and regardless of whether she used her job position to commit the offense. She is presently being held without bond; a reminder of the strict manner in which Florida (like many other states) deals with sexual offenses.
Child Sexual Crimes Result in Serious Sentences
Suppose a person is convicted in Florida of performing a sexual act on a young child (less than 12 years of age) when the person is 18 years of age or older. That person may be charged with “lewd or lascivious molestation,” if the person:
- Intentionally touched the breasts, genitals, or buttocks of a child younger than 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
- Encourages a child younger than 16 years to touch another person in a lewd or lascivious fashion.
(“Lewd or lascivious” has generally been held to mean a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or with a sexual or sensual intent).
In the case of this hypothetical person, a conviction would result in a mandatory sentence of at least 25 years in prison (although the person could be ordered to serve a sentence of life in prison). Even if released, the person will likely need to register as a sexual offender and/or be subject to monitoring for the remainder of his or her life.
Child Sex Offenses Have Few Defenses
States like Florida have taken a tough stance against sex offenses committed against children. As a result, there are few defenses available to defendants charged with these crimes. For example:
- It is no defense that the person did not know the child’s true age or that the child misrepresented his or her age. The defendant is responsible for knowing the true age of the child; and
- It is no defense that the child consented to the sexual contact or initiated the sexual contact. The law puts the burden for refraining or declining sexual contact with a minor child on the adult.
Defense for Defendants Charged with Child Sex Offenses
Successfully defending yourself from these types of charges requires the assistance of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with a sex offense (especially one alleged to have been committed against a child) in South Florida, contact criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner. He will evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and develop an individualized trial strategy designed to protect your rights and your good name. Many child sex crimes involve the prosecution using at least one expert or medical witness; Jeffrey S. Weiner is able to challenge the government’s “experts” and will, if necessary, present expert witness testimony and evidence favorable to you. Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at (305) 670-9919 today and learn how his knowledge and skill can help you defeat a child sex offense charge.