Flaherty & Merrifield defends locals, military members, and vacationers who have been accused of sexually related offenses in Crestview, Florida.
There is no easy way to say it, but people assume the worst when someone they know is accused of a sex crime. This is especially true in a small town like Crestview. The only way to win back your reputation and get your life back on track is to fight. The State will not roll over. This will not just “go away”. Your freedom and your good name must be taken back.
We don’t care what you’re accused of doing. You deserve to have someone in your corner who will fight for you. We will not judge you; we’ll defend you.
My name is Tim Flaherty. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. We defend clients in Crestview who have been accused of sex crimes. Over the years, we have learned what works, and what doesn’t work, when it comes to fighting these charges. A very meticulous approach is required, with a high degree of skill. That level of skill only comes from years of experience defending sexually related charges. Contact our Crestview sex crimes lawyers at (850) 398-8098 for a free consultation.
What should I say if the police want to talk to me about a sex crime in Crestview?
If the police want to talk to you about an open investigation for a sex crime, that means they already think you are guilty. It also means they have talked to the alleged victim, and they believe their story.
Our advice is to tell the police that you will not talk to them with your attorney. This advice is more important in sex crime investigations because these types of cases are usually he said/she said. So don’t do their job for them by incriminating yourself. Politely, but clearly, tell them that you will not answer any questions without your attorney.
If you have already given a statement, and the police want to talk to you again, call us at (850) 398-8098. We will call the officer and tell him/her that you are represented by counsel and they are not allowed to talk to you without your attorney.
Sex Offenses In Crestview
There are numerous different sexually related crimes in Florida, but the following are the most common ones we defend in Crestview:
Sexual Battery is committed when someone penetrates or has union with someone else’s genitals against their will. Depending on the level of force used, whether a weapon was used, or whether the victim was a family member, Sexual Battery is punishable by 15 years to Life in prison.
As long as the alleged victim was 18 years old or older, consent can be a valid defense.
For more information about defenses to Sexual Battery, click here.
Lewd or Lascivious Behavior
L & L charges involve fondling, molesting, touching, or exposing yourself, in a lewd manner, to a child under the age of 16. No matter what, it is ALWAYS illegal to engage in sexual activity of any kind with a child under the age of 16. Consent does not matter. Mistake about the child’s age does not matter. Flaherty & Merrifield has extensive experience defending clients accused of Lewd or Lascivious crimes in Crestview.
For more information about Lewd or Lascivious charges in Crestview, click here.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors
Like I said in the section above, it is always illegal to have sex with a child younger than 16. However, more people understand that the age of consent is 18. Does that mean it is legal to engage in sex with someone between the ages of 16 and 18? It depends on the age of the suspect.
If the suspect is 24 years old or order, it is illegal to have sexual activity of any kind with a child between the ages of 16 and 18. If you are accused of doing so, the most likely charge is Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors. If the suspect was younger than 24, then it IS legal to engage in sexual activity with a 16 or 17 year old, as long as there was consent.
For more information about Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors charges in Crestview, click here.
Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity
If you met someone online who was a minor, and you made plans to have sex with them, you can be charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex if you traveled any distance at all towards that goal. Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity is punishably by 15 years in prison.
For more information about Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex in Crestview, click here.
Soliciting a Child for Sexual Activity Using a Computer
If you used a computer or electronic device to solicit a minor for sexual activity, and the State can prove that you knew the person you were speaking to was a minor, you face this charge.
Soliciting a Minor for Sex is a third degree felony with a possible 5 year prison sentence. If convicted, you will also be required to register as a sexual offender.
For more information about possible defenses to Soliciting a Child for Sexual Activity Using a Computer in Crestview, click here.
What are the penalties for a sex crime in Crestview?
All sexually related crimes in Florida are felony charges that carry a potential prison sentence. All of the ones listed above also require a designation as a sexual offender that will stay with you for the rest of your life if you are convicted.
There are several factors that can affect the potential sentence. If you click the links above, we have specific information about the possible sentence for each of them.
To summarize, Sexual Battery and Lewd or Lascivious crimes will be charged as either a first or second degree felony.
- A second degree felony has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
- A first degree felony has a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
Sex Crime Penalties by Charge
A table outlining various Florida sex crimes and their penalties.
|Sexual Battery of a victim 12 years or older without force||794.011(5)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Lewd or Lascivious Molestation; victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; offender less than 18 years||800.04(5)(d)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Lewd or Lascivious Battery||800.04(4)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Soliciting a minor for sex using a computer||874.0135(3)(a)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Traveling to meet a minor for sexual activity||847.0135(4)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Sexual Battery on a victim less than 12 by a person 18 years or older||794.011(2)||Felony||Capital Felony||Life in prison|
|Unlawful sexual activity with specified minor||794.05(1)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Lewd or Lascivious Conduct||800.04(6)(b)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Sexual Battery of a victim less than 12 years old by a person less than 18 years old||794.011(2)||Felony||Life||Life in prison and $15,000|
|Sexual Battery with the use of a weapon||794.011(3)||Felony||Life||Life in prison and $15,000|
|Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition; offender 18 years of age or older||800.04(7)(b)||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
|Solicitation of a minor to participate in sexual activity by custodial adult||794.011(8)(a)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition in the presence of an elderly person or disabled adult||825.1025(4)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Video Voyeurism||810.145(2)(a)||Felony||3rd||5 years prison and $5,000 fine|
|Indecent Exposure of Sexual Organs||800.03||Misdemeanor||1st||1 year jail, $1,000.00 fine and 1 year driver’s license suspension|
|Indecent Exposure of Sexual Organs in the presence of a person younger than 16||800.04||Felony||2nd||15 years prison and $10,000 fine|
Protect Yourself after an Arrest for a Sex Crime in Crestview
We understand that it may seem hopeless when you see that you’re facing such a long prison sentence. You might be feeling like there is no way out of this and that your life, as you know it, is over.
Please do not let yourself fall into that trap. If you give up, the system will run right over you and take you away from your loved ones.
As you think about your options, keep this in mind: Right now, you have only been accused. You are presumed innocent under the law and you have NOT been convicted of anything yet. In other words, you still have a chance to prevent the worst case scenario from happening.
Should I just let the public defender represent me?
If you are considering just going with the public defender, that is fine, but before you decide, please take a minute and review the page we wrote about a public defender vs a private attorney. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much is my freedom worth?
- How much is getting to see my kids grow up worth?
- If you’re a young person just starting out in life as an adult, how much is your future worth?
I want to hire an attorney, but I don’t know how to choose the right Crestview attorney?
If you have decided that you want to hire a private attorney, but you don’t know how to choose, here is a suggestion: Call several attorneys. Meet with them. Get a sense of how they approach their cases. See if they will treat you like a person, or just a case number.
All attorneys are NOT the same. You need the best criminal defense attorneys you can find. This decision will have a bigger impact on the outcome of your case than anything else.
We would like to be one of the law firms that you call. We’ll be glad to meet with you for free and explain what we can do for you.
The next step is up to you.
If you have been accused of Sexual Battery, Lewd or Lascivious Behavior, Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors, Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity, Soliciting a Child for Sex Using a Computer, or any sexually related crime in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098.