If you have been accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor, there are several possible charges you could be facing depending on the age of the alleged victim. Either way, all charges involving sex with a minor are felony offenses with prison sentences ranging from 5 years to life, along with the requirement that the defendant register as a sexual offender.
If the alleged victim was under the age of 16, you will be charged with a Lewd or Lascivious crime such as L & L Battery or L & L Molestation. However, if the accuser was 16 or older, but younger than 18, it is still illegal to engage in sexual contact with that person, if you are 24 years old or older, regardless of whether they consented to the activity.
In that situation, the charge will probably be Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor. The purpose of this charge is to cover the gap in the law regarding the age of consent. If you are facing an allegation like this, you will need a Fort Walton Beach unlawful sexual activity with a minor defense lawyer to help you fight for your freedom and reputation.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor Under Florida Law
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.”
To summarize: if you are 24 years of age or older, it is illegal to have sex with a 16 or 17 year old.
The possible penalty is 15 years incarceration, a felony conviction on your record, and placement on the sexual offender registry for the rest of your life.
Defending Unlawful Sexual Activity Charges in Fort Walton Beach
The prosecutors and cops in Fort Walton Beach will be aggressive in trying to convict you of this charge. And if you are convicted, you will most likely go to prison.
In order to increase their odds of a conviction, usually the police will try to talk to you to get you to incriminate yourself. The #1 piece of advice I can give you is do NOT talk to the police. Tell them that you are invoking your right to have a sex crime defense attorney present during questioning and that you will not waive that right. The police will tell you that they have her “side of the story” and now they just want your side. Do not be fooled. They already think you are guilty.
My name is Tim Flaherty. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. We have the experience and track record to help you.
We know exactly how to put you in the best position possible to achieve the result you need, which is a not guilty verdict at trial, a dismissal, or a reduced charge. We have achieved each of those results for clients over the years. We have learned what moves to make, and more importantly, what moves NOT to make.
It is completely understandable if you are scared and unsure what to do next. The worst thing you could do right now is to bury your head in the sand and hope it “just goes away.” It won’t. They will not stop until you are standing in front of the judge being sentenced to a lengthy prison term.
Have You Been Arrested For a Sex Crime in Florida?
If you've been arrested for a sex crime in Fort Walton Beach, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential case review.