If you are charged with committing a sex crime, or being investigated for a sex crime, call us or another Pensacola sex crime lawyer before you make a statement to the authorities. You should be informed of your rights and the potential consequences that may result from providing a statement without an attorney present. The penalties for sex crimes carry some of the harshest sentences in Florida law so it is wise to promptly obtain legal counsel to develop a defense strategy as soon as possible. Sex crimes cases are different than other criminal cases. Just being accused of criminal sexual conduct, damages your reputation and standing in the community. Therefore, it is crucial that you find counsel you can trust and who will act in your best interests. Be sure to ask your prospective attorney if he or she has experience handling sex crimes or has gone to trial in a sex case. Your attorney should be prepared to ask the tough questions and do the work it takes to clear your name. Attorney Ryan M. Cardoso has extensive experience defending people charged with sex crimes, including jury trials and negotiated plea agreements. Mr. Cardoso can explain each step of the process and provide you with personal attention throughout your case. Mr. Cardoso recognizes that each case must be evaluated based on its unique facts and can work with you to formulate a plan that is tailored to your needs. He also represents people accused of other crimes, such as domestic violence or drug crimes.Sexual Battery
Under Florida law, the crime of sexual battery encompasses a wide array of non-consensual sexual contact, including rape. Sexual battery is a very serious charge. The penalties imposed on an individual convicted of sexual battery depend on the ages of the offender and the victim, as well as whether there are any aggravating factors. In Florida, a person convicted of sexual battery will be designated as a sexual predator or sexual offender and must comply with laws regarding registration for the rest of their life. Two of the potential defenses available to a sexual battery charge are that the contact was consensual or that the allegations are false. A conviction of sexual battery can drastically affect every aspect of your life, so it is crucial to retain a sex crime attorney who will work diligently to prove your innocence.Unlawful Sexual Contact With a Minor
The legal age of consent in Florida is 18 years old. Under Florida law, however, exemptions exist for individuals close to the age of consent. As a result, it is legal for individuals between the ages of 16 and 23 to engage in consensual sexual activity. It is a crime, however, for anyone who is 24 years of age or older to engage in sexual activity with a minor who is 16 or 17 years old, regardless of whether the minor consented to the activity. It is not a defense to the crime that the defendant did not know that the victim was under the age of 18.
Unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a second-degree felony, and if you are convicted, you could face up to 15 years in prison. A person convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor will also be declared a sexual offender and be required to register as a sex offender unless they meet specific requirements to avoid registration under the Romeo and Juliet exception. If you are charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, Pensacola sex crime attorney Ryan M. Cardoso is ready to discuss your options at your convenience.Lewd and Lascivious Acts
Lewd and lascivious acts are defined under Florida law as sex crimes perpetrated on a victim who is younger than 16 years old. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age is not a defense to any lewd and lascivious crime. Additionally, the age of the person accused of lewd and lascivious acts is not a defense either. Therefore, even if the sex acts were consensual, if both parties involved in the acts were 14 or older, one or both of them could be charged with lewd and lascivious acts. The age of the perpetrator is relevant for sentencing, however, since defendants who are 18 years of age or older face more severe penalties for committing lewd and lascivious acts than defendants who commit the same acts but are under 18.Meet With an Experienced Sex Crime Lawyer in the Pensacola Area
If you are charged with a sex crime, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable criminal attorney as soon as possible. There is a vast difference between being charged with a crime and being convicted, and it is essential to your defense to retain an attorney who has the skill to ensure that your rights are protected at each step of the way. Ryan M. Cardoso is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can vigorously advocate on your behalf. He represents defendants in Pensacola, West Pensacola, Cantonment, Brent, Bellview, Ferry Pass, Century, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Jay, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Niceville, as well as other cities in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties. Contact Mr. Cardoso via our online form or by calling (850) 466-2073 to set up a consultation, whether you need a sex crime attorney or assistance in fighting charges involving drug crimes, DUI, assault, or other offenses.