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

Being charged with Lewd of Lascivious Battery in Destin means you are accused of having sex with a child under 16 years old. This charge is also commonly referred to as statutory rape.

With an arrest like this, people believe the worst. Even friends, family, and co-workers who know you will turn their backs on you. At this moment, before you’ve even had your day in court, it may feel like you’ve already been found guilty and your situation is hopeless. Although it is easy to feel sorry for yourself, now is the time to fight back.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I believe that every client deserves someone in their corner who is willing to stand up for them and fight. I don’t care what you are accused of. I won’t judge you; I’ll defend you.

I’ve been a criminal defense attorney in Destin and throughout Okaloosa County since 2001. If you have been charged with Lewd or Lascivious Battery, call me at (850) 243-6097.

What does Lewd or Lascivious Battery mean under Florida law?

According to Fla. Stat. 800.04, Lewd or Lascivious Battery is defined as engaging in sexual activity with someone who is younger than 16 years old, or encouraging, forcing, or enticing someone younger than 16 to engage in sexual activity. Sexual activity is “the vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the sexual organ of someone else, or the vaginal or anal penetration of someone else by an object.”

Any person under the age of 16 is considered a child. A child cannot consent to sexual activity, so consent is not a defense. Even if the alleged victim lied about their age, or was a “willing” participant, under Florida law, it doesn’t matter. If the State can prove the charge against you, you will be convicted; regardless of your intent or lack of knowledge about the alleged victim’s age.

What is the penalty for Statutory Rape in Destin?

This charge is a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years. If convicted, you will also be required to register as a sexual offender for the rest of your life.

How will an attorney defend me if I am charged with Statutory Rape?

Even though consent and mistake about the alleged victim’s age are not a defense, there are other ways to defend Lewd or Lascivious Battery cases. I’ve listed a few things below, but I’ll need to meet with you to talk about the facts of your case to assess what defenses might apply to your case.

Do not make a statement to the police without an attorney present.

This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. I get a lot of calls from clients before they have been arrested, but while the investigation is ongoing. My advice is always the same: do not talk to the cops without a lawyer.

If the police want to talk to you about a statutory rape accusation in Destin, that means they already think you are guilty. Even if you are 100% innocent, they will manipulate you into incriminating yourself. Don’t do their job for them.

If the police call you, or show up at your job or your home, politely tell them that you will not make any statements without your lawyer. Then, pick up the phone and call me right away (850) 243-6097. I’ll tell you how to handle the cops from there.

False Accusation

False accusations are more common than you might think. I have defended clients accused of Statutory Rape where this was our defense.

A couple years ago, I went to trial for a client accused of Lewd or Lascivious Battery. He was accused of having sex with his wife’s younger sister. My team and I worked on that case for almost a year. I talked to all of the girl’s friends, classmates, co-workers, etc. I had to argue several motions to the Court to allow me to pursue this line of defense. I had to fight to keep incriminating evidence away from the jury.

I was able to make a credible argument to the jury that this girl was making up the allegation against my client because she was mad at him for rejecting her advances on him. My client was found Not Guilty and walked out of the courtroom a free man.

Without a doubt, if my team and I had not fought the way we did, my client would be serving a long prison sentence right now instead of being home with his family.

Is it possible to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge?

Usually, no. But in some cases, I am able to leverage the State into offering something that resolves the case without a sex offender designation, felony conviction, or any jail or prison time. Usually, that happens in cases where the defendant and the alleged victim were both under the age of 20, and were in a relationship.

In that scenario, even though a client may still technically be guilty under the law, the State is willing to give the person a second chance that doesn’t ruin their life.

Every case is different, and your attorney needs to be able to adapt their strategy to the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

If you have been charged with Lewd or Lascivious Battery or Statutory Rape in Destin, call me at (850) 243-6097 for a free and confidential consultation.

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