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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

What acts are prohibited when communicating with minors online?

When people are chatting with other people online, there is a very real sense of anonymity. Screen names, false email addresses and even fake profile pictures can make a person feel like they can do and say things they'd never do or say if they were using their real information.

However, generally speaking, people aren't truly anonymous. Federal and state law enforcement agencies have sophisticated resources to identify and track down people who do illegal things online. So while you may be able to conceal your identity from someone with whom you are chatting, you may not be able to hide from the police. With this in mind, you should understand the actions that could be considered illegal if you are chatting with a minor online.

Teen placed on sex offender registry to be re-sentenced

Readers of this blog may remember a post we wrote in June about a 17-year-old boy convicted and sentenced for having sex with a girl who was 14. In that post, which can be read in full here, we discussed the fact that the girl lied about her age and the sentence seemed heavy-handed and unnecessarily harsh.

The story captured national headlines and seemed to be the most recent example of a broken system destroying a person's future. However, a recent development in this case has given people some hope that things can change.

Scrutinizing sex abuse investigation procedures crucial

People are wrongfully accused of criminal behavior far too often in the U.S. Sometimes these allegations are made to purposefully ruin someone's life and other times they are the result of a shoddy or flawed investigation.

In either scenario, it can be crucial for a person facing these wrongful allegations to act fast and speak with an attorney to defend themselves. With the appropriate resources and legal knowledge, it can be possible to find discrepancies, mistakes or outright lies in the prosecution's case and seek a dismissal or reduction of charges.

The importance of avoiding probation violations

Being placed on probation can be a great relief to anyone convicted of a crime stemming from sexual misconduct. Probation is typically preferred as it can shorten or eliminate jail or prison sentences and allow a person to stay in their community instead of behind bars.

However, this is not to say that probation is easy or should be taken lightly. People who are on probation are required to comply with strict guidelines and conditions of being in community control. Any violation -- or even a perceived violation -- could result in harsh penalties that could be worse than the penalties a person was originally facing.

Legal support can be crucial when the stakes are high

If you are being accused of or have been charged with a sex offense, you need to understand that you could be in some very serious trouble. Even the allegation of such conduct can be enough to destroy your family and reputation so it is crucial that you truly appreciate how grave the situation may be.

Understandably, people in this position can be overwhelmed by the emotional distress of their circumstances. They can feel paralyzed by fear or helpless and unable to properly assess their options. Considering how difficult this can be, you would be wise to seek help in protecting yourself and your future.

Those closest to you can play big roles in cases against you

One of the most difficult consequences of being charged with a serious criminal charge is the loss or damage to the relationships with your friends and family. If, for example, you are accused of possessing, making or distributing child pornography, it may not be long until those closest to you start distancing themselves. In some cases, they may even participate in building a case against you.

This appears to be what is happening to former spokesperson for the Subway restaurants, Jared Fogle. 

Are 'sugar baby' arrangements illegal in Florida?

Readers should be aware that it is illegal to engage in solicitation and prostitution in Florida and most jurisdictions across the U.S. However, there are some relationships that may initially seem like prostitution and therefore illegal but actually fall into a legal gray area. 

For example, many people in this state are in a relationship involving a sugar baby. Essentially, these relationships consist of a younger woman dating an older man who provides money and/or gifts in exchange for companionship. Some people argue that these relationships are considered prostitution. However, as noted by an officer for the Tallahassee Police Department, most of these sugar baby relationships are not considered illegal.

A sex crime conviction can sometimes impact retirement benefits

A conviction on a sex crime charge can have some very long-lasting effects on a person. Having such a conviction on one's record can cause a person to face prolonged difficulties when it comes to finding employment. Being convicted of a sex offense can also cause a person to have to be on a sex offender registry for a very long time, possibly even their entire life. Additionally, the reputation damage from such a conviction can stick around and disrupt various aspects of a person's life for years or even decades. A guilty verdict in a sex offense case can, in certain circumstances, even impact a person's future retirement. 

An example of this last point is that, here in Florida, a certain class of individuals can face having their retirement benefits taken away if they are convicted of certain types of sex crimes. This class of individuals are public officers and employees. 

How important is intent when it comes to sex crime allegations?

The answer to the question posed in this headline is, quite simply, very. Intent in regards to the attempt to commit or the act of committing a sex crime can typically make or break a case against you if you are accused of offenses like traveling to meet a minor or online solicitation of a minor for the purposes of engaging in or facilitating a sexual act.

Law enforcement agencies devote massive resources to establishing and arguing that someone in this position knowingly or intentionally engaged in certain behaviors that would ultimately lead to an illegal act. However, with legal support, you can defend yourself and challenge their findings of intent.

Lewd and lascivious behavior: grounds for having to register?

In previous posts on this blog, we have explored some of the reasons why the sex offender registration, while well-intentioned, may actually be less effective than people think. Since the registry was established, people are being required to register for an increasing number of offenses that may not be serious or indicative that a person may be a threat to others. 

For example, people can be required to register as a sex offender if they are in a consenting sexual relationship with someone who is just below the age of consent or if they are caught for an offense like public urination, in some situations. These crimes are very different than violent, abusive or non-consensual sex crimes that we typically think of when we think of the registry. However, they are all crimes that can result in being labeled a sex offender.

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