Jacksonville Attorneys Defending Individuals Against Criminal Accusations
Allegations of sexual misconduct are serious, with the potential to result in criminal charges and other personal and professional consequences. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville sex crime lawyers understand that investigating these accusations as soon as possible may help resolve the matter discreetly and efficiently. Our dedicated attorneys are prepared to discuss the details of your situation at any time, even if criminal charges have not been filed. If you have been arrested or indicted for sexual battery, or another Florida sex offense, we have the skill to defend against the charges and protect your right to a fair criminal process.
Overview of Florida Sex Offenses
Sex offenses are crimes that generally involve coerced or unlawful sexual conduct by one person upon another person. In Florida, rape and other sexual assaults fall under the crime of sexual battery. Sexual battery is defined by statute as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by, or union with, another person’s sexual organ. Sexual battery also includes the vaginal or anal penetration of somebody else with any other object.
In addition to proving that sexual penetration or contact occurred, the prosecution will have the burden to prove other elements of the crime of sexual battery. These elements are determined by the nature of the allegations, the ages of the defendant and the victim on the date of the alleged offense, and other circumstances provided by law. In a sexual battery case where both parties were adults, for example, the prosecution must prove that the victim did not consent to the act. The prosecution must also prove at least one of the following elements, and a knowledgeable sex crime attorney in Jacksonville can help you counter any evidence suggesting that any of these elements can be established in your case:
- The defendant used or threatened to use a deadly weapon
- The defendant used physical force
- The victim was physically helpless to resist
- The defendant coerced the victim to submit with threats of force or violence which the victim reasonably believed
- The defendant drugged the victim without the victim’s knowledge or consent
- The defendant knew or had reason to believe the victim was mentally defective
- The victim was physically incapacitated
- The defendant was a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, probation officer, or other person in a position of control over a custodial setting, or the defendant led the victim to reasonably believe as such
Other Florida sex crimes include offenses for lewd and lascivious acts, voyeurism, incest, child pornography related offenses, indecent exposure, and certain sexual acts involving children or minors.
Defend Against a Conviction
Florida allows for stringent penalties for sex crime convictions. A sexual battery conviction has particularly serious consequences, as it is a felony offense. The degree of felony generally depends on the allegations involved and other circumstances. In some cases, such as when the victim is younger than 12 years old, the defendant may face a capital felony or a life felony charge, both of which may be punishable by a life prison sentence. In addition, there many situations in which sexual assault is a first degree felony, carrying up to 30 years in prison. The lowest charge for a sexual battery is a second degree felony, which may result in a maximum sentence of 15 years. In addition to incarceration, probation, and fines, the defendant may have to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator if convicted of a sex crime.
In light of the harsh penalties, a defendant must carefully consider their options, and a seasoned Jacksonville sex crime attorney can help you develop the approach that is right for your case. Defense arguments such as consent, lack of requisite criminal intent, mistaken identity, unreliable DNA evidence, police misconduct, and false accusations may be available to defend against sex crime charges. Defenses will vary with the facts of the case, and should be discussed with your defense counsel.
Guidance from a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville
Many sex crime cases are emotionally charged, but an experienced defense attorney can guide you through the proceedings with assurance. At Ellis and Bryant, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and ability to handle any felony or misdemeanor sex offense case. Both Samantha Ellis and TJ Bryant worked in the Special Assault Division during their time at the State Attorney’s Office and handled all sex crimes including many trials ranging from Failure to Register as a Sex Offender to Capital Sexual Battery. Since leaving the State Attorney’s Office and working as criminal defense attorneys, Samantha Ellis and TJ Bryant have continued to handle sex offense cases with great success including in some instances convincing the State not to file charges, or reduce the charges to non-sex offenses. We can assist individuals throughout Duval and Clay Counties, including in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Request an appointment with one of our attorneys by calling (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.