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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Judge's sentencing for student met with national outrage

People are told that laws and the justice system are in place to protect victims and appropriately punish people who commit a crime. In many cases, this is what happens. However, the system is far from perfect and there are times when the measures designed to protect people actually work against them.

One example of this played out in another state but the story has captured national headlines. The case involves a man who was 19 and a girl he met online. What started as a casual and friendly encounter online spiraled into what is arguably a prime example of a broken system.

Can I get off the sex offender registry?

Being convicted of a sex offense can be ruinous. Not only could it result in serious jail time and financial penalties, but it could also mean being required to register as a sex offender. The stigma of being a registered sex offender can follow a person for the rest of his or her life.

Because of this, figuring out how to get off the registry is a top priority for most people. However, it is not an option for everyone. As this article explains, there are certain classifications of offenders who will have to register for the rest of their lives. Others, however, do have the option to pursue removal of the requirement.

Understanding the elements of a solicitation charge

There is an unfortunate and unfair conclusion drawn when someone is charged with an offense like solicitation. Many people assume that the person charged is guilty because authorities wouldn't arrest and charge someone unless he or she did something wrong.

Not only is this an inaccurate assumption, it is also a dangerous one. One of the fundamental rights that people have in the U.S. is that they are innocent until they have been proven guilty. So while it may seem like conviction is a foregone conclusion, it is not. People have the right to defend themselves against criminal allegations and fight to avoid conviction.

To speak or not to speak: what to know about staying silent

If you are arrested, under investigation for a crime, questioned or interviewed by police, there is no doubt that you are in a scary situation. You can be face-to-face with intimidating law enforcement agents who seem to know an awful lot about you and your behaviors. They use various tactics and seem to alternate between being understanding and being ready to explode. It's an intimidating and frightening experience for any person, regardless of if they've done something wrong.

While it can be difficult, it is crucial to try and stay calm and understand your rights in this situation. Unfortunately, too many people are confused or misinformed about what they can and cannot do; what they should or should not say. For instance, you may know that you "have the right to remain silent" after you have been read your Miranda rights, but your silence before then can say a lot more than you think.

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.

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