Tampa Child & Internet Sex Crime Lawyer
Any accusation or arrest for a sex crime involving a minor should be taken very seriously. The penalties are enormous and can involve lengthy prison sentences and a lifetime of civil disabilities, not to mention the damage to one’s reputation in the community and relationships with family and friends. The Faulkner Law Group provides a strong yet sensitive defense of people charged with child or Internet sex crimes in Tampa and surrounding areas. Call our office for a no-cost, confidential consultation about your case.
Computer pornography in Florida
Florida has enacted the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevent Act. This law makes it a third-degree felony to engage in any of a host of activities related to facilitating, encouraging, offering or soliciting sexual conduct of a minor. Using the Internet and then traveling any distance to meet a minor for unlawful sexual conduct is a second-degree felony, punishable with up to 15 years in prison. It’s no defense if the person on the other end of the connection was never a minor but was an undercover police officer.
Any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct, whether actual or simulated, constitutes child pornography in Florida. It’s a third-degree felony to possess, distribute, transmit or make child pornography. Having an unlawful pornographic image on your computer that you got via email or by visiting a website potentially exposes you to the same criminal liability as someone who intentionally makes or distributes child pornography.
Lewd and lascivious molestation
The crime of lewd and lascivious molestation has features in common with statutory rape or sexual assault. This offense can be charged as a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony, or even a life felony under Florida law. Lewd and lascivious molestation can be charged as a life felony for the following conduct:
- The offender intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, buttocks or the clothing covering them of the victim or forces or entices the victim to so touch the offender.
- The victim is less than 16 years of age.
- The offender is 18 years of age or older.
It doesn’t matter if the offender thought the victim was of age, including if the victim lied about his or her age or consented to the activity. These are not defenses to the crime of lewd and lascivious molestation, which can land you in prison for the rest of your life.
Sex offender and sexual predator registration in Florida
If convicted of a child or Internet sex crime, you could be prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare facility, park or playground. You might also be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life, subjecting you to community and public notification of your offense wherever you go for as long as you live.
For a sex offense involving a minor, you’ll be forced to register as a sexual predator. With this designation, you can be subject to involuntary civil commitment in a mental facility the moment you are released from prison. This commitment can last indefinitely.
Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law
In some cases, you might not have to register as a sex offender or sexual predator if the victim was 13-17 years old and you were not more than four years older than the victim. This exception only applies if the act was consensual and you don’t have any prior sex crime convictions. The act itself is still illegal, however, and you can still be prosecuted for statutory rape if you were 18 years old or older.
Call Now for a Confidential Consultation
Get help avoiding the most severe consequences of an arrest for a child or Internet sex crime in Florida. Contact the Faulkner Law Group in Tampa at 813-544-3919 for a free, confidential consultation, and discuss your options with a dedicated and experienced Tampa sex crimes defense lawyer.