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Sex crimes against children are sexual offenses that are perpetrated against children. In Florida, sex crimes are generally considered to be sexual offenses which will require registration on the sex offender registry. These sex offenses can include, but are not limited to, the following:
When these criminal acts involve minors under the age of 18, then they can be considered a sex crime against a child. Sex crimes against children are very severe and often carry significant penalties, including being required to register on the sex offender registry.
Sex crimes against children can be complex to address. This is why you will need an experienced defense team on your side with practice handling these types of cases if you want to successfully avoid the statutory penalties. Dean Galigani at Galigani Law Firm can be that attorney for you. He has extensive knowledge of Florida's sex crime laws and can advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Galigani Law Firm serves clients in Florida, including Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County. Call (352) 375-0812 now to arrange a free consultation today.
Individuals convicted of a sex crime against a child will almost always be subject to registration on the sex offender registry. Registration will impact convicted individuals for the rest of their lives. Convicted person’s personal information becomes public, and they become obligated to contact their local sheriff’s office or station between two to four times a year to update their registration. Failing to register or update information in the time described constitutes a crime. The defendant’s picture and other information become available to people searching for sex offenders in the database. Additionally, the convicted individual’s liberties are severely restricted.
As stated before, a large variety of conduct can be classified as a sex crime against a child. Below are some common examples of sex crimes perpetrated against children, including the relevant statute and typical penalties.
Human Trafficking – Fla. Stats. § 787.06 – When minors are trafficked, the individual controlling the minor is subject to severe consequences. Involving the child in prostitution or forcing the child into commercial sexual labor is a common form of human trafficking under Florida law. Human trafficking is typically charged as a life felony and may carry a lifetime prison sentence and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Sexual Battery of a Minor – Fla. Stats. § 794.011 – Sexual battery occurs where an individual penetrates another with genitalia or another object for sexual purposes. When the sexual battery is committed upon a minor, the charges will be some of the most severe in Florida. The bulleted list below contains penalties for different scenarios.
Child Pornography and Sexual Performance of a Child – Fla. Stats. § 827.071 – Florida prohibits the possession, distribution, transmission, or creation of child pornography. Additionally, Florida prohibits the sexual performance of a child, meaning using a child in any visual representation or depiction, such as a play, picture, video, or otherwise, in front of an audience. The penalties for these crimes range, but most are second or third-degree felonies, which carry a 15-year maximum prison sentence and a five-year maximum prison sentence, respectively.
Luring or Enticing a Child – Fla. Stats. § 787.025 – Luring or enticing a child to enter a car, building, or structure for an unlawful purpose is a crime in Florida. The crime is considered a sex offense which will require the convicted to be on the sex offender registry. Ordinarily, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor which carries a maximum of one year in jail, unless this is a subsequent offense, in which case the crime is a third-degree felony, carrying a maximum sentence of five years.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors – Fla. Stats. § 794.05 – This crime makes it illegal for anyone over 24 to engage in sexual activity with a person who is 16 or 17. The crime is a second-degree felony which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.
Indecent, Lewd, or Lascivious touching of Certain Minors – Fla. Stats. § 794.051 – A person 24 or older who intentionally and sexually touches a person of 16 or 17 is guilty of this crime. Encouraging the younger person to touch the perpetrator is also a commission of this crime. The crime is a third-degree felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Notably, each of these crimes will likely result in the convicted having to register as a sex offender in Florida. Sex crimes against minors are taken very seriously, and Florida wants to protect society by putting the public on notice of sex offenders.
Legal defenses to sex crimes against children vary. Some of these crimes are very different and require different legal strategies when defending against charges.
One defense that is largely applicable to sex crimes against children is the defense of lacking the requisite intent. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant in a case held the requisite intent to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt and get a conviction. This intent element can range from not knowing the individual was a minor to not intending to conduct unlawful acts. For example, if a defendant did not know and did not have reason to know that a picture that they viewed depicted a naked minor, then there would likely be no requisite intent for possessing child pornography. Similarly, suppose a defendant charged with luring did not intend to lure or entice the child for unlawful purposes. In that case, the requisite intent element cannot be satisfied to reach a conviction. This defense is very charge and case-specific.
One legal defense that will not be available to most charges is a “Romeo and Juliet” defense. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. This means that defendants convicted of sexual crimes against minors cannot claim that there was consent to dissolve criminal liability. However, some defendants may petition the court to remove their obligation to register as sex offenders due to the Romeo and Juliet law. Offenders who are no more than four years older than a victim over 14 may petition the court to prevent registration.
Abuse Hotline | Florida Department of Children and Families – This resource offers avenues for concerned individuals who need to report instances of suspected child abuse. The resource provides instructions for calling the hotline in different languages.
Sexual Offender and Predators Search | Florida Department of Law Enforcement – This resource offers a search tool for finding sexual offenders in Florida localities. The website also offers helpful information regarding the registration of sexual offenders.
Are you facing allegations of sex crimes against children? If so, we highly encourage you to get in contact with the aggressive legal professionals at Galigani Law Firm. Attorney Dean Galigani at Galigani Law Firm treats every case as his utmost priority and ensures all his clients receive the best legal representation possible. He can protect your rights and freedom.
Call the Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 to schedule your first consultation for free. Attorney Galigani and his legal team accept clients throughout the greater Alachua County area including Gainesville, High Springs, Alachua, Archer, La Crosse, and Waldo.
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"Dean Galigani was supportive when my son was arrested for underage possession of alcohol..." - David