If you have been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, you already know that you’re in a lot of trouble. You already know that you need help, and that’s why you’re here. If you are feeling like you are being presumed guilty before you’ve even had your day in court, I want you to know that we can help you. Call the Crestview unlawful sexual activity a minor defense attorneys at Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098.
When most people hear the word “minor” they think of someone under the age of 18. However, when it comes to Florida law regulating sexual activity, there are really 2 ages to be concerned with: 18 and 16.
For someone accused of having sexual activity with a minor, there are a number of different charges that could be filed. The key factor is the age of the accuser.
Regardless of which charge gets filed alleging sexual activity with a child, they are all felonies, they all carry a possible prison sentence, and they all require lifetime designation as a sexual offender.
Lewd or Lascivious charges are most likely in cases where the accuser if younger than 16 years of age. The most common L & L charges are Lewd or Lascivious Molestation and Lewd or Lascivious Battery.
That leaves a gap in the law because the L & L laws would seem to suggest that is legally permissible to have sexual activity with a child who is 16 or 17 years old. The charge of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors in Crestview closes that gap.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor in Crestview
Florida Statute 794.05 defines Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor as:
“A person who is 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree. As used in this section, sexual activity means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another.”
According to this statute, it IS legally permissible to have sexual activity with a 16 or 17 year old if you are younger than 24 years of age, as long as there is consent. However, if you are 24 years old or older, you may NOT engage in sexual activity with a 16 or 17 year old, regardless of consent.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors in Crestview is a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a mandatory lifetime designation as a sexual offender.
Defending Unlawful Sexual Activity charges in Crestview
The Crestview State Attorney will be working closely with the Crestview Police Department and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with one goal: convicting you and sending you to prison.
With such a serious accusation, it may seem pointless to even try to fight back. You may think your situation is hopeless. This is NOT true. We have successfully defended Unlawful Sexual Activity cases in Crestview, including securing Not Guilty verdicts at trial.
Our experience has taught us that there are two things you can do for yourself that will increase your chances of winning your case, or at least minimizing the damage.
Do NOT Talk to the Police
It is sad but true. The police will lie to you, manipulate you, and trick you into incriminating yourself. They will say they just want to “get your side of the story.” Do not fall for this. Make no mistake, if they are asking you to come in for questioning, that means they think you are guilty. If the police contact you, tell them firmly and politely that you will not make any statements without an attorney present. Then, call us at (850) 398-8098.
Your Choice of Defense Counsel
Whether you hire us or someone else, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. You are facing a prison sentence. Now is not the time to settle for the cheapest lawyer, or to just go with the public defender and hope for the best. We urge you to at least meet with attorneys who have experience defending sex cases in Crestview. You’ll get some answers to your questions along with some peace of mind.
If you have been charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors, or any Sex Crime in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098 for a free, confidential consultation.