Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
Offices in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Crestview
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Crestview Statutory Rape Attorney/ Lewd & Lascivious Battery Lawyer

Anyone who is accused of having sex with a minor in Crestview is facing a lengthy prison term. That means that the attorney defending such a case needs to know what they are doing. A successful sex crime defense requires a unique combination of legal strategy, knowledge of procedure, and trial experience. It is also important for your attorney to remember that you are facing the most stressful thing you have ever experienced. You need someone defending you, but you also need someone who will treat you with compassion. Someone who will listen to your side of the story and be your advocate.

We can only imagine how it must feel having someone accuse you of such a horrible crime. Sometimes, even your closest family and friends will start to distance themselves from you and assume that you must be “guilty.” We have had clients tell us that they felt like they had already been convicted of the crime before they had even been to court.

If you are feeling that way, please remember that being accused or arrested for a crime does not mean you have been convicted. It also does not mean that you will be convicted. Taking proactive steps right now to protect and defend yourself can make ALL the difference in whether you walk away from this or go to prison.

The Crestview statutory rape attorneys at Flaherty Defense Firm have a very simple motto: No matter what our clients are accused of, they deserve someone who will fight for them and always have their best interests at heart. When someone entrusts us with their life, we take that responsibility very seriously. We give every one of our clients our absolute very best effort.

What is Statutory Rape/Lewd or Lascivious Battery?

Florida Statute 800.04 provides the definition for Lewd or Lascivious Battery in Crestview and throughout the State of Florida. Basically, if you have sex with someone under the age of 16, you can be charged with Statutory Rape. Lewd or Lascivious Battery is just the legal term for Statutory Rape.

Under this statute, sex is defined as “vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the sexual organ of someone else, or the vaginal or anal penetration of someone else with an object.” See Florida Statute 800.04(1)(a).

The law is pretty clear. It does not matter at all if the child agreed or “consented” to the sexual activity. Children cannot legally consent to sexual activity. It also does not matter if the child lied about their age, or led the accused to believe they were of legal age. The law places the burden on the offending party to know whether or not someone is old enough to legally engage in sexual activity.

Does Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Law Protect Me From Being Prosecuted For Statutory Rape?

No it does not. Florida’s Close In Age exemption only applies to consensual sexual activity between someone who is 16 or 17, and another person who is no older than 23. Statutory Rape in Crestview and throughout Florida deals with sexual activity with someone who is under the age of 16, which is never legally allowed. There are no exceptions.

What is the penalty for Lewd or Lascivious Battery in Crestview?

L & L Battery is a second degree felony offense that is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Under Florida’s Punishment Code Scoresheet, L & L Battery is a Level 8 offense. It scores 74 points.

Using the 74 points, the mandatory minimum sentence under the sentencing guidelines would be calculated as follows:

74 points – 28 X 0.75 = 34.5 months in prison as a minimum.

If additional points for sexual contact are scored, the sentence would be calculated as follows:

74 points + 40 points for sexual contact = 114. 114 – 28 X 0.75 = 64.5 months in prison.

If additional points for sexual penetration are scored, the sentence would be calculated as follows:

74 points + 80 points for sexual penetration = 154. 154 – 28 X 0.75 = 94.5 months in prison.

As you can see, this charge is prosecuted and sentenced very harshly in Crestview. However, there are a number of different options available to avoid these devastating penalties.

How to defend a Statutory Rape case in Crestview

Every case is unique, so your case will require a different approach than someone else’s. There is no “cookie-cutter” approach. However, here are a few things that DO apply in every case:

  • If the police want to talk to you, politely refuse and call a Crestview defense attorney right away
    This is really the best advice anyone can give you. By the time the police decide they want to talk to you, they have already concluded that you are guilty. The police will lie to you, mislead you, and trick you into thinking that if you “cooperate,” this will all go away. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS!! If the police want to talk to you, call me right away at (850) 398-8098.
  • False Accusations/Motive to Lie
    We have used this strategy to great effect in several jury trials where we secured acquittals for clients accused of felony sex crimes. The key is to identify what motivation the alleged victim has for making an accusation like this up, and then exploiting that to your benefit. Here is an example: A couple years ago, we were defending a young man accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at a party. During our pre-trial investigation, we learned that the accuser had recently been caught cheating by her boyfriend. The boyfriend told her that if he ever caught her cheating again, he would break up with her for good. Needless to say, after people starting talking about her having sex with our client, she decided to claim it was rape. We were able to develop this defense very effectively at trial and secured a not guilty verdict for our client.
  • Lack of Physical Evidence
    Unless a rape kit is done right away, usually there will not be any physical evidence to prove any sexual activity took place. Then the case becomes a “he said-she said” case. All the more reason why you should not agree to talk to the police. Why admit to having sex with anyone if the State can’t prove it?
  • Negotiation with the Prosecutor
    I’ll be honest. These cases are tough to resolve without a prison sentence. That is why a high percentage of them go to trial. However, we have had several of these kind of cases end up resolving with a plea bargain that did not involve a prison sentence, sex offender designation, or felony conviction. Usually, we are able to achieve a result like this in cases where the prosecutor is having trouble with their witness or their story. We work very hard in the pre-trial phase of the case to expose the weaknesses in the state’s case through witness interviews, depositions, and motions in court. Once we have sufficiently weakened their case, the prosecutor is much more willing to discuss favorable plea options.

No matter what, it will ALWAYS be your decision about whether to accept a plea bargain or go to trial. My job is to present options for you and help you make an educated and informed decision.

Call a Crestview Statutory Rape Attorney

Very few criminal defense firms in Crestview have the experience that we have in successfully defending clients accused of sexual offenses. We are ready to put that talent and expertise to work for you. If you have been charged with Statutory Rape/Lewd or Lascivious Battery in Crestview or anywhere in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty Defense Firm 24/7 at (850) 398-8098 for a free, confidential consultation.

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