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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Legal support crucial when identifying defense to sex charges

In our last post, we discussed the results of a recent investigation into sexual misconduct online involving minors. In that sting, 22 people were arrested by police officers who were posing as undercover boys and girls online. They were charged with crimes stemming from their intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor and traveling to meet that minor.

We also noted that these extensive efforts are not uncommon. In fact, law enforcement agencies regularly work together and make use of the significant resources at their disposal to conduct elaborate sting operations. Any person who is caught up in these rings can immediately feel the full weight of state and federal authorities coming down on them. However, you are not alone if you are in this situation. You have the right to work with an attorney to defend yourself.

Another sex sting, another group of people arrested

Recent efforts to track down and arrest people accused of sexual misconduct proved to be fruitful as 22 people were arrested in yet another enforcement sting operation. More than 16 law enforcement agencies teamed up to carry out an undercover operation involving the use of agents engaging in online exchanges.

Agents posed as minors and communicated with dozens of people online. For at least 22 people, these conversations turned into an opportunity to meet in person. When the 21 men and one woman showed up to meet the person they thought they were talking to, they instead were met with law enforcement agents and an arrest for attempted sexual misconduct involving a minor.

What do Romeo & Juliet have to do with sex offender registration?

Relationships of any kind can be extremely complicated. When the law is brought into a relationship, however, it can make things much more complex. Take, for example, romantic relationships between two people who are of different ages. In most cases, age may not be that big of a deal. But if one or both people are under the age of 18, questions regarding legality can arise and there could be serious consequences.

This is because the age of consent in Florida is 18, and though there are exceptions, a person who has sex with someone under 18 can be convicted of a sex crime and be required to register as a sex offender. However, in Florida, there is a statute referred to the "Romeo & Juliet law" that can provide some critical relief to people in this situation.

What is the difference between a sex offender and predator?

Being convicted of a crime can leave people with the label of "criminal" long after they have served their sentence and satisfied the terms of their punishments. This label can follow someone into job interviews, romantic relationships and even child custody disputes well into the future.

As damaging as this label can be, it can be even more so when it stems from a sex offense. Someone convicted of sexual misconduct can find it extremely difficult to try and move on in the wake of a conviction, especially when he or she is required to register as a sexual offender or predator. Knowing the difference between an offender and a predator can help people understand how high the stakes are when it comes to their defense.

Is there motivation for police to try and entrap 'predators'?

In a post several months ago, we discussed what the term "entrapment" means in the context of sexual misconduct online. In that blog post, which can be read in full here, we explained that entrapment is a defense that can be used when a person who would otherwise not engage in an illegal act does so, but only because of efforts made by law enforcement agents.

In addition to understanding entrapment, it can also be helpful to understand why law enforcement agencies may be motivated to pursue alleged criminals in this manner if you have recently been accused of such misconduct.

Even without a victim, sex offenses can lead to order to register

State and federal sex offender registries were supposedly created to protect members of the public from people who have committed a sex crime and could pose a threat to members of a community even after fulfilling the obligations of a criminal sentence. Under the requirements of sex offender registration, information about an offender's residence and offense are made available to the public to promote awareness and keep people safe.

However, over the years, more and more offenses have resulted in a court's order to register as a sex offender. This is true even if there is no apparent victim.

Solicitation First-Time Offenders May Face Heightened Penalties

Facing charges of having solicited a prostitute has never been an easy experience. The consequences of simply being charged, let alone being convicted, have always had a major impact on people's lives.

In the past, one of the main difficulties a person might have faced if they were charged with soliciting a prostitute could have been the potential for disruption of the marriage and family life. In recent years as the Internet has become a repository for more and more public records, a person's friends or employer may learn about their charges online, leading to a range of problems from being publicly shamed to loss of a job.

Another penalty of child pornography conviction: restitution

It should not be surprising to anyone that criminal charges related to the possession, distribution or creation of child pornography are taken very seriously by state and federal authorities. For the most part, people generally understand that these charges can prove to be ruinous.

Not only can a conviction mean a tarnished reputation and destroyed personal relationships, it can also mean several years in prison and the requirement to register as a sex offender. However, many people may forget or fail to realize that a conviction on child pornography charges can also mean that a person will be required to pay restitution to victims.

US Supreme Court: Sex offender's sentence unconstitutional

In this blog, we often discuss the fact that sex offenders can receive some of the most aggressive criminal sentences if convicted. There is the potential for lengthy prison sentences, life-long registry as a sex offender and the permanent stigma of being convicted of a sex crime.

However, sentencing tactics have been closely scrutinized because they seem to increasingly toe the line between creative punishment and a violation of a person's civil rights. One case was recently heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and highlights the questionable -- and potentially unconstitutional -- nature of some sentences for sex offenses.

5 types of people often named in sex abuse cases

Sex abuse and other types of sex-related misconduct are very serious allegations that people across Florida can end up facing. These cases can be particularly complicated because the often boil down to one person's word against someone else's.

Figuring out who is telling the truth is something that is typically left up to a judge or a jury. In these situations, a defendant's character, sexual history and relationship with an alleged victim are put under a microscope, which is something that can be extremely difficult to deal with alone, especially when you have a relationship with the person making the accusations.

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