New Criminal Laws Set to Take Effect July 1
In this age of legislative gridlock, it seems Florida’s state legislature can agree that sexual crimes should be punished more severely in the Sunshine State. To that end, during this most recent legislative session Florida lawmakers passed (and Governor Scott signed) several bills that create certain new crimes, impact the type of evidence that can be presented in a sex crime trial, or increase the penalties of existing crimes. These new laws take effect on July 1, 2015.
New Cyberharassment Statute
First, Florida’s legislature has created a new criminal statute by making it a crime to post nude pictures or movies of another person online with that person’s identifying information (such as his or her name or address) and without that person’s consent. This criminalizes what is sometimes known as “revenge porn,” where one person will attempt to humiliate or embarrass an ex-lover or ex-partner by posting intimate images online for the public to view.
The posting must be done willfully and with malicious intent. In other words, if the prosecution cannot prove that a person charged under the new statute intended to post the picture or movie online, or that he or she did post the image but for a non-malicious reason, then that person will likely be found not guilty under the new law.
Recordings by Minors Now Admissible
A new statute also made certain recordings made by minors admissible in court. In the past, recordings made on private property were not admissible in court unless the person or persons being recorded consented to the recording. But now minors can secretly record incidents of sexual abuse or violence that occur to them and these recordings can be considered as evidence – even if those being recorded did not consent to the recording or even know the recording was taken place.
New Penalties for Solicitation of a Prostitute
Finally, although solicitation of a prostitute is not a new crime, the legislature has enhanced the penalties for this crime. First-time offenders who are found guilty of soliciting a prostitute face a fine of $5,000. In addition, they must also complete at least 100 hours of community service as well as attend an educational program that speaks to the harmful effects of prostitution and human trafficking.
Confused? Help is Available from a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
With the legislature making significant changes to criminal laws on a regular basis, the news of these changes underscores the need for individuals charged with a criminal offense – especially a Florida state sex crime – to retain experienced and dedicated criminal defense counsel right away. While most citizens may not pay much attention to the legislature’s actions each term, certain bills (such as those described above) can have a profound impact on your conduct and future.
Florida criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner provides those charged with sexually-motivated crimes with knowledgeable and current legal advice. He will evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and discuss the laws applicable to your situation. Where there has been a recent change in the law, Jeffrey S. Weiner makes certain his clients know how these changes impact their case. Contact his offices today at (305) 670-9919 for a free consultation to discuss your case.