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Challenging assumptions, intent in defending against sex offenses

If you have been accused of a crime involving online solicitation of a minor, you are undoubtedly in a serious situation. You might be facing felony charges and penalties as well as a destroyed career and reputation. Considering all that you might have on the line, it can be essential that you take steps to defend yourself against charges.

Despite what the police, prosecutors and others may be saying to you, you do have rights and options if you are accused of this type of crime. You might be told the case is "open and shut" or that there is "indisputable" evidence against you, but the fact is that you must be proven guilty, and you are innocent until that happens. 

This is not to say that defending against these crimes is easy or that building a defense strategy should be taken lightly. These cases can often come down to the smallest details, interpretations of the law and a person's intentions. 

For instance, in a case against one man who is accused of placing ads online seeking sexual encounters with minors, several details of the alleged offenses are being challenged.

To begin with, the person with whom the man ultimately met after placing an ad appeared to be over 20 and not a minor, and the man said he did not realize he was supposed to be meeting a minor in the first place. Further, it has been argued that the use of certain slang phrases in the man's ads referring to young companions have different meanings in different communities and do not mean he was looking for illegal encounters.

Arguments like these seek to clarify a person's intention and can call into question the legitimacy of police actions. Too often, these kinds of details are misrepresented, taken out of context or simply left out by prosecutors to make their case.

But being thorough, presenting your side of the situation and casting doubt on assumptions presented as fact can make the difference between an acquittal and conviction. This is why having an experienced defense attorney can be so important if you are facing these types of allegations in Florida.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Ex-elementary principal on trial posted Craigslist ads seeking trysts with young males," Valerie Wigglesworth, March 29, 2016

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