FAQ: Sex Offenses

The criminal justice system can be overwhelming — particularly when facing charges as serious as sex offenses. Below, you will find some general answers to common questions. However, this information is not meant to be legal advice, and you should always consult with a lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.

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What Are The Penalties For Sex Crimes?

Sex offenses can result in harsh sentences. For the most serious crimes, you could be facing decades or even life in prison.

The consequences extend far beyond jail time. Your reputation and employment prospects may be shattered. Additionally, a conviction could lead to mandatory sex offender registration and even involuntary civil commitment (ongoing detention) for those deemed a danger to society.

Will I Have To Register As A Sex Offender?

If convicted of a sex crime, you may be subject to mandatory sex offender registration — often for life. This registration requirement can impact your freedom significantly. It publicly brands you as a sex offender/predator. It prevents you from living in certain places and remaining anonymous. It will also affect your employment opportunities.

Our lawyers can advise you of whether mandatory sex offender registration is a possibility in your case.

What Defenses Might I Have?

There are many defenses to sex crimes. Much depends on the charges, evidence and circumstances of your case. Potential defenses may include:

  • Entrapment: Did the police go too far during a sting operation, inducing you to do something you wouldn't otherwise have done? Entrapment may be a viable defense, particularly in cases involving Internet sex crimes or prostitution.
  • Consent: The victim's willing participation may be a defense in some situations. However, Florida law deems some people — such as minors and those who are mentally incapacitated — unable to legally consent.
  • Lack of knowledge: The prosecution is required to prove that you knew (or had reason to know) certain facts in some types of cases. If facing child pornography charges, for example, you might have a strong defense if you had no knowledge of the files on your computer.

I Was Charged With Statutory Rape, But Didn't Know The Victim's Age. Is That A Defense?

Unfortunately, an honest mistake about age is not a defense against charges of statutory rape (sexual contact involving a minor). It might be a factor taken under consideration at the sentencing stage, though.

I Was Arrested On Suspicion Of A Sex Offense. What Should I Do Next?

Following an arrest, you have important rights. You should never speak to investigators or law enforcement without first consulting with an attorney. The sooner you reach out to our lawyers for help, the better our ability to help you.

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