Sex Crime Defense Attorney Miami
Sex crimes are considered particularly heinous offenses and are vigorously prosecuted in Miami and the state of Florida. A conviction can result in a lengthy prison sentence, lifetime probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender, a stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you are not convicted, merely being accused of a sex offense can cause permanent harm to your reputation.
Our Miami criminal defense lawyer defends individuals who have been charged with sex crimes in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. When your freedom and good name are at stake, we will provide you with knowledge, skill and aggressive legal representation.
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Florida Sex Crimes
Generally, sex offenses involve forced or nonconsensual sexual contact, but can also include consensual acts (prostitution and soliciting), or crimes that don’t involve sexual contact (child pornography or indecent exposure). Our legal team represents clients who are facing a wide range of misdemeanor and felony sex offenses, including:
- Sexual assault — Any sexual activity forced on the alleged victim without his or her consent, including inappropriate touching, child molestation, forced penetration, sexual intercourse or even kissing.
- Sexual battery/rape — Forcing or attempting to force another person into sexual intercourse or sexual contact, including rape, indecent assault, and sodomy. Rape is a first-degree felony in Florida, punishable by imprisonment, fines, probation, court-ordered rehabilitation, mandatory counseling and registration as a sex offender upon release from prison.
- Unlawful sexual activity with a minor/child molestation — Engaging in consensual sexual activity, including oral, vaginal or anal penetration, with a minor who is 16 or 17 years old or younger. The minor’s consent or ignorance of his or he age is not a valid defense, and sexual activity with a minor who is 15 or younger, with or without the minor’s consent, is considered rape.
- Child pornography — Possession, producing, distributing, selling or purchasing, transporting or electronically transmitting any visual, sexual depiction of a minor. Just having the prohibited material in your possession is a crime – even if you did not know or intend to possess it. Also, the punishment for possession of child pornography is based on the number of images or videos and can become draconian pretty easily.
- Prostitution/Solicitation — Engaging in sex acts in exchange for something of value or offering money or something of value to another person in exchange for sexual activity.
- Indecent exposure — Occurs when a person exposes his or her genitals in a manner that is lewd or intentionally lascivious or engages in sexual acts in the presence of a person under the age of 16.
- Failure to register as a sexual offender — All convicted sex offenders in the state of Florida must register with the state and report to the local sheriff’s office on a regular basis to provide information about their current address, occupation, convictions and other relevant information. Failing to register as a sex offender is considered a felony.
Common Defenses to Sex Crime Charges in Florida
Because sex crimes often lack witnesses, except for the parties involved, these cases often hinge on the alleged victim’s testimony and forensic evidence. As such, numerous defenses against sex crimes allegations may be asserted:
- Pretrial Defenses — Individuals who have been falsely accused of a sex crime may be able to avoid an indictment by presenting evidence to dispute the allegations such as polygraph test results, psychological evaluations, proof that the alleged victim has previously made false accusations, or letters supporting the defendant’s character.
- Defenses at Trial — Common defenses include an alibi (the defendant was not present at the time the crime was committed), mistaken identity by the alleged victim, or psychological issues that prevented the accused from understanding what he or she was doing. Forensic testing of DNA can also be used to prove a person’s innocence.
- Affirmative Defenses — The accused admits to committing a sex offense but asserts that it should not be considered a crime due to certain reasons, such as the alleged victim consented to the sexual act or that the accused did not use force, threats of force, or even place the alleged victim under duress. An affirmative defense is not an admission of guilt, but rather an explanation regarding why the offense may not be a crime.
Miami Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
At Valiente Law, we are keenly aware that false accusations of sexual assault or child molestation often arise in bitterly contested disputes and child custody cases. At the same time, a conviction for a sex crime often hinges on forensic evidence such as blood and hair samples or DNA. Our sex crimes attorneys will work diligently to refute the allegations and challenge the validity of the evidence. While we are dedicated to having the charges dismissed or winning an acquittal at trial, we may, if we believe the evidence warrants it, recommend that the accused seek a reduction of charges to prevent having to register as a sex offender.
Ultimately, being accused of a sex crime is a serious matter and a conviction will have lasting consequences, possibly making it difficult for you to find a job or a place to live. This makes having aggressive legal representation crucial. Above all, our legal team is committed to securing your freedom and clearing your name.