Internet Sex Crimes
Florida, like other states, has very broadly defined internet sex crimes. The broad terminology allows the government to more easily prosecute individuals who use the internet to find and distribute child pornography, solicit minor children, and engage in human trafficking for children and adults. Common sex crimes involving the internet include:
- Solicitation of a minor for sex
- Soliciting or luring individuals for human trafficking
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Solicitation of a minor for prostitution
- Engaging in a lewd or lascivious manner online with a minor
Many sexual internet encounters can also be charged as sex crimes against children, even if the behavior is accidentally or intentionally directed at the child’s parent or legal guardian and not the child.
Florida Internet Sex Crimes Lawyer
If you have been arrested for an Internet sex crime, do not take these charges lightly. You could face years of imprisonment and steep fines if convicted. This is why its best to secure the experienced legal counsel of a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Find that attorney today by calling the legal team at The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A.. We have spent years defending Florida visitors and residents from Internet sex crime charges. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. accepts cases all throughout the Brooksville area, including Weeki Wachee, High Point, Hernando Beach, Hill ‘n Dale, Inverness Highlands, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, and Bushnell.
- Discovering Internet Sex Crimes In Florida
- Penalties For Florida Internet Sex Crimes
- Defenses In Internet Sex Crime Cases
- Additional Resources
Since the millennial generation, children have been brought up using the internet, can have multiple social media accounts, and know how to access the internet on multiple devices. Many children and adults might believe that their social media accounts are personal, “private” chat rooms, instant messaging, or even open public comments on online tabloids provide some distance from other people. The truth is that very few websites are private. Because nearly anyone can view accounts and online forums, adults and children can find unsuspecting visitors who claim to be someone they are not. Knowing how often the internet is used to access child porn, solicit children, or find children and adults for human trafficking, many law enforcement agencies maintain separate units for “sex stings.” These stings are operations designed to find individuals engaging in internet sex crimes. Law enforcement officers might pretend to be prostitutes, pose as minors, ask for or distribute child pornography, and visit dating websites, chatrooms, and any other location where criminal activity is likely to be found. Sex stings can be used to find a specific individual suspected of illicit online behavior. Other times, they are used as a means to stumble upon a random person who then becomes the subject of the sting. Unfortunately, there are many instances where an individual engages in online sexual activity without knowing that the person on the other computer is a minor child. Many internet sex crimes are “strict liability crimes,” meaning that it does matter that the accused person did not know the other person was a child and not an adult. This is true even if the child claims to be an adult. Other crimes, particularly internet activities including lewd or lascivious transmissions, require that the accused knew the person was a child or, in the alternative, should have known or had reason to believe that the person was a child and not an adult. Anyone accused of a sex crime should immediately consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to begin building the best case possible.
Each internet sex crime has its own penalty, but all typically have extensive prison time and fines. If convicted of child pornography or solicitation, an offender will be guilty of a third-degree felony and can be fined up to $5,000 and required to serve up to five years in prison. If convicted of transmitting certain sexual content over the internet, an offender will be guilty of a second or third-degree felony, depending on the offender’s age. Penalties can include up to $10,000 in fines and 15 years in prison. Human trafficking has penalties that vary, but the distinguishing factor is the age of the trafficked person. The other factor involves how the accused used the internet to bring in the trafficked person. Penalties can increase if the alleged offender has committed past sex crimes. In addition to criminal penalties, the social consequences of a conviction can be even more significant. Not only is there a social stigma associated with these convictions, but those convicted of child sex crimes must register as sex offenders. Unlike many other states, sex offenders in Florida are required to register for life. Offenses cannot be sealed or expunged from criminal records, often resulting in significant difficulties when obtaining employment and housing.
In Florida and the United States, generally, it is more challenging to defend against internet sex crimes because the laws are so strict. Additionally, crimes that involve children tend to impact juries differently, and there is a strong desire to favor children over defendants. However, the government, whom a prosecutor represents, must still prove all elements of a crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The best defenses for internet sex crimes typically include discrediting a prosecutor’s witnesses, calling into question their evidence, and in some cases, presenting additional defenses. Depending on the case, these additional defenses could include:
- Diminished Capacity (lacking the mental capacity required to commit the crime)
- Consent (for cases involving adults and only under certain circumstances)
- Mistaken Identity
Internet sex crimes involve some of the most severe charges under Florida law. Anyone accused of an internet sex crime must consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to build the best possible defense as early as possible.
Florida Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Act – The Florida State Legislature created laws specifically for internet crimes against children. These crimes are charged separately from physical acts against children. Considerations for Post-Convictions – The Florida Public Defender’s Office provides a lengthy guide for post-conviction concerns, including child custody and parental rights, unemployment, housing, and many other areas.
Brooksville Internet Sex Crimes Charges Attorney | Hernando County, FL
If you or someone you know has been charged with an Internet sex crime, get in touch with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. in Brooksville, Florida. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. has practiced law since 1996.
We will work tirelessly to develop a strong defense so you can enter the courtroom with confidence. If you reside in Hernando County, Citrus County, or Sumter County, don’t wait any longer. Call (352) 593-4115 to secure a free consultation with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A..