5 Things to Know About Sex Assault Charges in Florida
While they may make up a relatively small percentage of all crimes, sex offenses can lead to some of the most severe penalties if convicted. According to the Florida Department of Corrections Annual Report 2018-2019, the average time of incarceration for the 1,492 individuals convicted of certain sex crimes is 6.4 years. This figure is due to the fact that most offenses falling in this category are felonies, which carry at least one year imprisonment and may even include mandatory minimum sentencing. Plus, a conviction on sex crimes could trigger the requirement to register as a sex offender or sexual predator.
You might be surprised by the extreme nature of these penalties, but there is a lot more you probably do not know about sex crimes. Fortunately, you can trust a Florida sexual assault defense attorney to handle the legal details if you are currently facing charges. Some notable factors include:
- There are three separate categories of sex offenses. Aside from charges that involve prostitution and solicitation, which are misdemeanors for first-time offenders, the three general classes of Florida sex crimes include:
- Lewd or lascivious acts;
- Sexual battery and rape; and,
- Unlawful sex with minors.
- Ages of the victim and offender are central to certain sex crimes charges. For most legal purposes, a minor is someone under 18 years old. However, Florida law goes into greater detail regarding age when it comes to sex offenses. When the victim is under age 16, the crime is considered a lewd and lascivious act; if the victim is 16 or 17 years old, a person over age 24 could be charged with unlawful sexual activity.
- Florida has enacted a “Romeo and Juliet” law. Age is also a factor in so-called Romeo and Juliet laws that do not prohibit consensual sexual activity between a person aged 16-17 and someone who is 24 years old or younger.
- All sex offenses include mandatory provisions for sentencing. Every crime that is classified as a felony will mean mandatory minimum sentencing under Florida law. Convicted offenders will not benefit from “gain” time – i.e., time served – so you will be incarcerated for the full term of your sentence.
- Some sex crimes involve additional, specific penalties. There are a few sex offenses in which the statutes include specified imprisonment periods. The most serious punishment could be life in prison, and even the mandatory minimum sentences could be as long as five or more years. A judge does not have the discretion to lower the term of incarceration unless you qualify for a downward departure.
A Florida Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Can Provide Additional Details
These are just a few of the things to know about sex crimes in Florida, but there are many other details that could impact your case. If you were charged with such an offense, it is wise to retain experienced legal counsel to assist with your defense. To learn how we can help, please contact Fort Lauderdale sexual assault attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a consultation.