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St. Petersburg Defense Lawyer Represents Individuals Accused of Sex Crimes

Pinellas County criminal defense attorney protects clients’ fundamental rights

State and federal laws criminalize a wide range of behavior and conduct commonly referred to as sex crimes. Being charged with a sex crime is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. At the law office of Joseph Montrone, Jr., P.A. in St. Petersburg, I am a former prosecutor with significant experience litigating sex crime cases. I know how to defend such cases and can use my experience to challenge evidence, testimony, government action and other factors on behalf of my clients.

Examples of Florida sex crimes

Various Florida criminal offenses refer to sexual misconduct, such as:

  • Sexual battery — What some people refer to as rape or sexual assault is charged as sexual battery under Florida law. This crime can involve allegations of penetration or other types of contact. Sexual battery is a second-degree felony if the victim is 12 years of age or older and the perpetrator does not use physical force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury. Rape or sexual battery upon a victim less than 12 years of age is a felony punishable by death or life imprisonment in many situations.
  • Lewd and lascivious offenses — Generally, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree to commit any unnatural and lascivious act with another person. However, indecent exposure is a first-degree misdemeanor for a first offender and a felony charge for a repeat offender. Lewd or lascivious molestation of a minor is a felony with the particular punishment depending upon the age of the victim.
  • Prostitution — Charges for prostitution range from misdemeanors to serious felonies, depending on the number of prior convictions, the age of the persons involved and other factors. Prostitution charges can be brought against the person performing sexual activity for hire, people who offer others for sexual purposes and those who solicit prostitutes.
  • Sexual misconduct — A person who abuses their position of authority to engage in sexual activity can be charged with sexual misconduct. This could occur in employer-employee and doctor-patient relationships.

Other sex crimes include computer-related offenses, such as possession of child pornography, seduction of a child via computer and online solicitation of prostitution.

Penalties in sex crime cases

Most sexual battery cases are prosecuted as second-degree felonies, which carry a maximum 15-year prison sentence. However, if the charge is increased to aggravated sexual battery due to the use or threat of violence, abuse of authority or the victim’s age, it is a first-degree felony and the prison term could run as long as 30 years. Penalties in other cases vary, but punishment is harsher in situations involving minor victims, such as lewd and lascivious battery, sometimes referred to as statutory rape.

Sex offender registration in Florida

There are more than 20 sex crimes where a conviction requires the defendant to be registered on Florida’s Sexual Offenders and Predators database. Inclusion in this registry can affect your ability to get a job and requires you to check in periodically with your local sheriff’s office. Moreover, the database is publicly searchable, so any neighbor, acquaintance or workplace colleague can find you there. If you’re accused of sexual misconduct, you need to consider the effect of inclusion within this registry before deciding whether to fight the charge or accept a plea deal.

Statute of limitations for various sex offenses

Florida extends the standard four-year criminal statute of limitations for several types of sex offenses. In fact, there is no time limit on filing sexual battery cases involving minor victims occurring on or after July 1, 2020. The statute of limitations is also waived in the most serious prosecutions where the accused is facing a possible life sentence in prison. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a sex crime based on an alleged incident that occurred several years ago, we will examine the pertinent facts and advise if the action against you could be time-barred.

Possible defenses in a Florida sex crime case

Many sex crime cases hinge on questions of consent where detailed discovery and skillful cross-examination might be required to find the truth amid conflicting testimony. In other cases, a defense might center on the lack of evidence or a victim’s mistake in identifying their attacker. Sometimes, an allegation of sexual misconduct stems from a relationship problem or custody dispute. If you believe you are being falsely accused, we will investigate the facts thoroughly and aggressively counter the allegations made against you.

Contact a St. Petersburg sex crime defense attorney for a free consultation

Joseph Montrone, Jr., P.A. provides defense representation to Florida clients accused of sex crimes. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call {PHONE} or contact me online. My firm’s office is in St. Petersburg.