When it comes to sex crimes, there are three common main categories: Sexual Battery or Rape, Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor or Statutory Rape, and Lewd or Lascivious Molestation. Each of these crimes carries different penalties based on the severity of the crime, the age of the accused, and the age of the accuser. However, more increasingly lately are crimes involving technology and the internet. Online accounts for a very large percentage of sex crimes that come through our doors, and it has only grown in the last five years. Such crimes are: Child Pornography, Solicitation or Luring of a Minor, and Traveling to Meet a Minor.
Definitions of the Different Sex Crimes
Sexual Battery or Rape – Unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal physical penetration or union with the sexual organ of a person; or unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of another person with any object. Sexual battery is a federal offense. If convicted, you will receive a prison sentence of at least 9 years and up to life. If you are an adult over 18 years old who is convicted of sexual battery of a child under 12, this is a capitol felony, and you will be given a mandatory life sentence without parole. If the person is under 18 years old and the victim is under 12 years old, then they will be tried as a juvenile unless charges are filed in an adult court.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor or Statutory Rape – Sexual activity with a child older than 12, but younger than 16; or encouraging, forcing, or enticing a child older than 12, but younger than 16 to engage in Sadomasochistic Abuse, Sexual Bestiality, Prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity. The maximum prison sentence is 15 years, and the minimum prison sentence is 7 and a half years.
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation – This is defined as intentionally touching the breasts, genitals, or buttocks of a child younger than 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner; or encouraging, forcing, or enticing a child younger than 16 to touch another person in a lewd or lascivious manner. If the adult committing the crime is over 18 years old and the victim is younger than 12, this is considered a life felony. If the adult is over 18 years old and the victim is older than 12 but under 16, this is considered a second-degree felony. And if someone under 18 years old commits the crime on a child younger than 12, this is considered a second degree felony. And it is considered a third-degree felony if the accused is younger than 16 years old and the victim is younger than 12 years old.
Internet or Online Based Crimes – As mentioned, this has become increasingly more common as technology advances. Police have started targeting online chat rooms and social networking sites in an attempt to crack down on online solicitation. They will act as a minor with the intent of luring potential sex crime offenders. What needs to be taken into consideration are the following: Could the involvement by the officer be considered entrapment? Were illegal pictures or videos put on your computer without your knowledge or did you download something unknowingly? Lastly, whether or not he evidence against you truly includes minors or if their age was not confirmed in the photograph or video.
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Types of Penalties for Sex Crimes
There are four primary concerns for someone convicted of a sex crime: incarceration, sex offender probation, sex offender/predator registration, and civil commitment.
Incarceration – Nearly all sexual offenses will score mandatory prison time on the Criminal Punishment Code score-sheet the sentencing judge must follow—with few exceptions. For example, one instance of consensual sexual activity with a 15-year-old child scores just under eight years in prison. Some offenses carry minimum mandatory prison terms from which the judge cannot depart for any reason; this includes a mandatory life sentence without parole for some of the most severe types of activity.
See the Department of Corrections Website for more information.
Sex Offender Probation – In addition to the many rules that anyone placed on probation must follow, people sentenced to probation for a sexual offense have additional restrictions placed on their liberty, including where they can live, curfews, mandatory counseling, with whom they can associate, and where they can work. Sex offender probation is difficult to complete successfully.
Registration – With few exceptions, people found guilty of sexual offenses will have to register their address and other information every three or six months for the rest of their lives. This information is available to the public. Read more about the Sex Offender Registry here.
Civil Commitment – Once convicted of a sexually motivated crime, any time such a person is sent to prison, mental health professionals will do an evaluation and recommend whether the State Attorney should file a petition to send that person to the civil commitment facility in Arcadia, Florida for “Sexually Violent Predators.” This commitment can be up to life. Since the creation of this “Jimmy Ryce” program, only three people have “graduated” and been released back to society, as of 2007.
If you are being charged with a sex crime, this is a serious matter. You deserve to have your rights defended in court by a qualified Longwood criminal attorney.
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