Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
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Crestview Statutory Rape Attorney

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.

I 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.” I have had clients tell me 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.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I started Flaherty Defense Firm with one simple motto that still holds true today, after many years: No matter what my clients are accused of, they deserve someone who will fight for them and always have their best interests at heart. When someone entrusts me with their life, I take that responsibility very seriously.

What is Statutory Rape/Lewd or Lascivious Battery?

Florida Statute 800.04 provides the definition for this charge 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.

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) 243-6097.

False Accusations/Motive to Lie

I have used this strategy to great effect in several jury trials where I 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.

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, I 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, this happens in cases where the prosecutor is having trouble with their witness or their story. I 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. If I am able to get the prosecutor to doubt their own witnesses, they are 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.

If you have been charged with Statutory Rape or Lewd or Lascivious Behavior in Crestview, call me 24/7 at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential consultation.

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.
NORML
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
9.8Tim Michael Flaherty
The National Trial Lawyers