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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Third parties can be named in sexual assault lawsuits

Did you know that you could be held accountable for the unlawful actions of another person? This can happen if there are claims that you allowed or failed to prevent circumstances that made it possible for another person to commit an offense. 

For instance, recently it was reported that an American Airlines passenger allegedly molested a 13-year-old girl traveling by herself. Not only was the man sitting next to her charged with abusive sexual conduct stemming from the incident, but the airline is also facing charges for failing to adequately protect the girl.

What to know about civil asset forfeiture laws in Florida

If you are accused of a drug crime including drug sales or trafficking, you should know that law enforcement agents can confiscate anything they believe was involved in or resulted from the crime. This means you can have your car, money and other assets seized by the authorities. This is civil asset forfeiture, and it is a common, yet controversial, practice all across the U.S.

Law enforcement agencies can keep a percentage of seized assets, which financially incentivizes policing. Not surprisingly, residents in Florida and in other states across the country have fought back, seeking reforms and changes to the practice. These efforts have been successful in this state, which will have some of the most "robust protections" for residents, according to a state Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Will I have to register a sex offender for solicitation?

Efforts to curb prostitution across Florida have been widespread and aggressive. Despite the fact that prostitution is an active industry all across the globe, it is still illegal here and the penalties for a violation can be much more severe than you might expect.

For instance, did you know that you could wind up having to register as a sex offender in Florida if you solicit an underage prostitute? You could also have to register if you play any role in getting a minor involved in prostitution.

The perception of imbalanced justice

Over the last weekend, a story of sexual assault and criminal sentencing made national headlines. The case involved two people: the man found guilty of multiple felonies after a sexual assault and the victim, who was not identified. The story left people all across the country sharply divided.

It was not the verdict reached by a jury that has sparked such a contentious debate: It was his sentence that has been the most polarizing. The man was found guilty of three felony counts by a jury and sentenced to six months in jail, followed by probation. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. The sentence has been widely criticized as being too lenient. 

Risks of reoffending: What does the research say?

Serving a sentence for a sexual offense like rape, assault or child pornography can destroy a person's life. Even after a sentence is completed, a person is still living under a microscope and can quickly wind up back in jail if he or she commits another offense.

Last year, the Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative released a comprehensive report on numerous sex crime recidivism studies. Looking at the research makes a few things clear: many offenders do not commit another sex crime, arrest rates for any type of offense are troubling for sex offenders and more research is needed to truly examine recidivism rates among people convicted of sexually related offenses.

Florida students: Don't let a youthful mistake ruin your future

College is an incredibly stressful and exciting experience in a person's life. These years are a time for intellectual and social growth, and many people see it as a time for self-discovery and experimentation. However, it is also a time for incredible anxiety and stress, thanks to the demands of classes as well as the enormous costs of a college education.

With all these things in mind, it should not come as a surprise to readers that many students attending Florida colleges use drugs. Some use drugs like cocaine and marijuana recreationally; some use drugs like amphetamines and prescription drugs to stay focused. In either case, the penalties for possessing or distributing these drugs can be extremely harsh.

Going home: It's not that easy for convicted sex offenders

If you are convicted of a crime, you will have to comply with the terms of the resulting sentence. This could include community service, restitution and imprisonment. Once you have fulfilled these conditions, the expectation is that you should be able to move on and try to put that experience behind you.

However, this is far easier said than done, especially for someone convicted of a sex crime in Florida. For people in this position, "moving on" or rebuilding a life after completing the conditions of a conviction can be all but impossible due to the severe and sometimes life-long restrictions placed on a person. For example, if you think you can just move back home after being released from prison, you could be in for some very bad news.

Why was I charged with drug trafficking instead of possession?

Florida residents are likely aware of the incredible resources state and federal law enforcement agencies dedicate to the enforcement of drug laws, from massive sting operations to aggressive arrest and search efforts. Because of all that goes into drug enforcement, police and prosecutors have a distinct interest in pursuing serious charges any time a person is arrested.

This is why so many people find themselves facing charges they may feel are unnecessary or inappropriate. For example, you might be charged with drug trafficking instead of drug possession in many cases. There is a big difference between these two, and law enforcement agents know this. 

What's the difference between witness coaching and preparation?

Testifying in a criminal case is a very serious responsibility for anyone in the position to do so. Whether that person is a witness for the prosecution or for the defense, his or her statements have the power to make a very significant impact on the outcome of the case.

Because of this, proper procedures must be followed when it comes to identifying, preparing and questioning witnesses. For example, in cases involving sexual assault allegations, there may be concerns about witness coaching that call the legitimacy of a witness' statements into question.

The complexities of warrantless cellphone searches

Our cellphones hold some of our most valuable information, from pictures and videos to bank account passwords and even health records. Considering how much personal data is accessible with the swipe of a finger, it can be important to understand more about cellphone search procedures.

Thanks to a 2014 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, police generally cannot search a person's phone without a warrant or without that person's consent. This means that if you are arrested, your phone can be taken, but unless you say it's okay, police will have to first secure a warrant before they look through it. However, there are critical exceptions.

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