Sex Crimes in Florida
There are numerous sexual offenses that fall into the category of sex crimes. Generally, these crimes involve coerced or illegal sexual conduct against another individual. This can occur to an adult or child and is taken very seriously with serious punishment. Each state has laws that prohibit various sex crimes such as assault and rape. Each state has its own statute of limitations as well. In Florida, since there is such a wide variety of sex crimes and laws, at times there can be either no statute of limitations or the statute of limitations can be up to twenty-five (25) years. For instance, crimes against children have no statute of limitations whereas other sex crimes have limitations of 25 years towards Florida sex offenders. This means there is either no time limit a person can be charged or up to 25 years to be charged Regardless of the sexual offense, once a person has committed a sexual crime, he or she is labeled a "sex offender." This means the offender is required to add his or her name to federal and state sex offender registries. Federal sex crimes are the more serious sex offenses with severe punishment such as fines, significant imprisonment term, and sex offender registration. When a child is involved in a sex crime with an adult, that adult will possibly face double the number of fines and imprisonment compared to an adult against adult sex crime. If the sex crime involves violence, results in death, or is sadistic in nature, harsher punishment will be applied. Typically, the majority of sex crimes will fall under state law jurisdiction with the exception of the federal jurisdiction maintaining the Sex Offender Registry.
Types of Sex Crimes
Rape/Date Rape/ Statutory Rape/ Spousal rape
Child sex abuse
Sexual battery on an elderly person
Federal Sex Crime Charges
Aggravated Rape or Sexual Abuse
Abusive Sexual Contact Crimes
Sex Crimes Involving Minors and Children
Sex Abuse Resulting Death
Human Trafficking or Sexual Slavery
Repeat Sex Offender Crimes
Federal Pornography Violations
Failure to Notify and Register with Sex Offender Registry
In Florida, sex crimes are placed into three categories:
Unlawful sex with minors
Lewd and Lascivious acts
Sexual battery and Rape
Unlawful sex with minors
Typically this sex crime is referred to as statutory rape and according to Florida Statue 794.05, occurs when an individual 24 or older has consensual sex with a minor who is 17 or younger. If the sexual activity is nonconsensual, the charges become classified as sexual battery (rape). Additionally, if a minor is 15 years of age or younger and has been deemed incapable of consenting to a sexual act, or even if the minor has consented to the sexual activity, the charge will become classified as Lewd and Lascivious Battery (rape). Under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code, unlawful sex with a minor is rated a level 6, second degree felony. An offender convicted of unlawful sex with a minor may face a combination of up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment, and up to fifteen years (15) sex offender probation. Furthermore, once convicted of unlawful sex with a minor, not only does the offender have to serve sex offender probation, he or she will now be declared a "sex offender" by the state of Florida and must comply with all sex offender laws throughout the state of Florida and the United States. Defenses to this charge may include false allegations and young adult exception. False allegations are becoming more common in Florida and are the primary reason why a person would be falsely accused. Some reasons why a minor would falsely accuse an individual would include jealousy or anger, parent manipulation towards the minor, or mental illness of the accuser. The young adult exception defense states that it is legal for two individuals between the ages of 16 and 23 to conduct in a consensual sexual manner.
Lewd And Lascivious Acts
Under Florida Statue 800.04, the sex crime of lewd and lascivious act is committed when the victim is sixteen (16) or younger and occurs when a person intentionally solicits or touches the minor in a lewd or lascivious manner. The four common lewd and lascivious acts include Lewd or Lascivious Battery, Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, Lewd or Lascivious Conduct, and Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition. The words "lewd and lascivious" are synonymous and are defined as unchaste, wicked, lustful, licentious, or sensual.
Lewd or Lascivious Battery- Commonly known as statutory rape, Florida Statue 800.04(4) states this is criminalized by the act of consensual sexual intercourse with a child between 12 and 16 years of age. This also criminalizes the act of enticing, encouraging, or forcing a minor to engage in prostitution, sexual bestiality, sadomasochistic abuse, or any other sexual activity act. Under the Criminal Punishment Code, the sex crime of lewd and lascivious acts is classified as a level 8 second degree felony. If convicted, the offender will face a minimum of 34.5 months imprison. In combination of the minimum, the offender may face up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years sex offender probation, and/or up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment.
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation- This sex crime is the criminalization of consensual sexual activity with a minor younger than 16 years of age. Under Florida Statue 800.04(5), this act occurs when a person intentionally touches a minor's genitalia, breasts, or buttocks of a minor under the age of 16 in a sexual manner. This charges also includes any person who entices, encourages, or forces an individual to touch a minor under the age of 16 in a sexual manner. The penalties of a convicted offender of lewd and lascivious molestation by a person older than 18 on a minor under the age of 12 is classified as a level 9 life felony under the Criminal Punishment Code. If convicted, the judge is required to impose a mandatory sentence of 25 years imprisonment followed by twenty-five (25) years sex offender probation. Additionally, the judge may also impose a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a life sentence. Furthermore, if a lewd or lascivious act is performed by a person 18 or older upon a minor between 12 and 16 years of age is classified as a level 7 second degree felony under the Criminal Punishment Code. If convicted, the offender will face a minimum of fifty-one (51) months imprisonment. The judge may also impose additional penalties including up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment, and/or up to fifteen years probation. This same punishment is also for any persons 18 or older that has committed this sex crime against a minor under the age of 12.
Lewd or Lascivious Conduct- This sex crime involves the touching of a minor under the age of 16. This offense can be committed by either someone older or younger than 18 years of age. Under the Florida Statue 800.04(6), the sexual crime of lewd and lascivious conduct occurs when a person intentionally touches a minor 16 years old or younger in a sexual manner. This crime also includes any solicitation of a minor 16 years old or younger. in a sexual manner. The penalties for this crime depend on whether the offender was over or under the age of 18. If the person that committed the sex crime is 18 or older, this crime is classified as a level 6 second degree felony under the criminal Punishment Code. Conviction of this crime lead to the possibility of up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment, and/or up to fifteen (15) years sex offender probation. If the criminal act was committed by a person younger than 18 years of age, this is classified as a level 5 third degree felony. If convicted, the offender faces a minimum requires 24.5 months imprisonment. Along with that sentence, the offender may also face up to $5,000 in fines, up to five (5) years imprisonment, and/or up to five (5) years of sex offender probation.
Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition- This sex crime involves the criminalization of a person intentionally performing sexual acts in the presence of a minor younger than the age of 16. This crime is committed when an individual intentionally masturbates or exposes themselves in a sexual manner to a minor under the age of 16. This also includes committing sexual acts such as sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or sexual stimulation of any sort in the presence of a minor under the age of 16. The penalties for lewd and lascivious exhibition depend on whether the offender is over or under the age of 18. If the offender is over 18, this crime is classified as a level 5 second degree felony under the Criminal Punishment Code. If convicted, punishment will include up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment, and/or up to fifteen (15) years sex offender probation. Furthermore, if the convicted offender is younger than 18 years of age, this is classified as a level 4 third degree felony punishable up to $5,000 in fines, up to five (5) years imprisonment, and/or up to five (5) years sex offender probation.
Sexual Battery and Rape
In Florida, sexual battery is one of the most aggressively prosecuted sex crimes and carries long lasting and severe punishment. Sexual battery is defined as the non-consensual touching or groping of another individual with the intent to sexually arouse the offender. Typically this does not include penetration but some states consider sexual battery the same as rape,including the state of Florida. According to Florida Statue 794.011, sexual battery is committed when one person has non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration with another person using his or her sexual organ or an object. Additionally, in Florida, several enhanced forms of sexual battery are commonly committed such as aggravated battery, capital battery, sexual battery on a child under 12, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and sexual battery likely to cause serious personal injury. Penalties for sexual battery vary due to the Florida sex offenders age, the victim's age, offenders criminal history, and any aggravating factors that may be involved. Any person convicted of sexual battery is required to register as a sex offender and must comply with all sex offender laws for the remainder of his or her natural life. Additionally, under the Adam Walsh Act, any person convicted of sexual battery in ineligible to petition the court for any removal of federal or state sex offender registration laws. This is because the sex crime involves non-consensual sexual interaction. Sexual Battery is a level 8 offense under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. This crime carries a minimum of imprisonment sentence of 94.5 months and can carry up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years of sex offender probation, and/or up to fifteen years imprisonment. Enhanced forms of battery van carry punishment sentences from up to thirty (30) years to life imprisonment.
The sex crime of rape involves one individual forcing another individual to engage in sexual activity such as intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or any form of sexual penetration with his or sexual organ or object against the will of the other person. Under Florida law, rape is classified as a form of sexual battery and carries the same punishment and classifications as sexual battery. Common defenses of sexual battery and rape include consent and false allegations. It is important the accused is thoroughly investigated to ensure he or she is not falsely convicted.
Strict Liability Crime
This is a strict liability crime which means it is used to counteract with common defenses such as (1)the real age of the child was unknown, making the act unintentional and (2) the minor consented the sexual activity, which puts the responsibility of decline on the minor. In today's criminal law, strict liability means the liability of mens rea or "guilty mind" does not have to be proven in the court of law. The prosecutor does not need to prove the defendant intentionally did an illegal act, or that he or she was reckless, knowledgeable, or even negligent. The most common strict liability crime is statutory rape.
Romeo and Juliet Exception
The only exception to the designation of a mandatory sex offender is the "Romeo and Juliet" law. In 2007, this law was created for the purpose to allow young individuals with certain sex crimes the ability to avoid receiving the life long harsh punishment of registering as a sex offender due to the fact that the sexual act committed was consensual between both parties. Basically, this law will allow the convicted sex offender to petition the court for exclusion from the sex offender registry if he or she meets the eligibility requirements. According to Florida Statue 943.04354, in order to petition the court, the conviction must be (1)for either sexual battery or a lewd and lascivious offense (2) The criminal act involved a consensual sexual activity with a minor between 14 and 17 years of age (3) registration as a sex predator or offender is solely related to the conviction of sexual battery or a lewd and lascivious offense (4) no other convictions of lewd and lascivious offense, sexual battery, or lewd and lascivious exhibition using a computer can exist. The state of Florida also carries a "Four Year Window" calculation requirement in which to be eligible for the Romeo and Juliet law, the defendant's birthday must be within four (4) literal years of the minors 18th birthday. If the offender is one day past the four-year limit, he or she will be ineligible to petition for relief.
Other Sex Crimes and Penalties
Child molestation: A prison sentence from five (5) years to life, as well as lifelong registration as a sexual offender and/or sexual predator.
Child pornography:Possession= maximum sentence of five years. Production = sentence of five (5)years to life. Registration on the sex offenders register is also common.
Internet solicitation: Up to five (5)years in prison or up to fifteen (15) years if you solicited a minor.
Indecent exposure: Fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to one year, signing the sex offenders register.
Date rape: Fines, 6.5 to 30 years in prison without parole, registration as a sex offender and/or sexual predator.
Rape: Between 5 and 15 years in prison, lifetime signing of the register as a sex offender and sexual predator.
Sexual assault: Fines,prison, probation/parole, Counseling, rehabilitation, register as a sex offender/sexual predator for life.
Sexual exploitation: Up to life in prison, mandatory counseling, registration as a sex offender and/or sexual predator.
Sex Offender Laws, Requirements, and Prevention
Chemical and Surgical Castration
Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R)
Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP)
Sex Offender Registration with National Sex Offender Registration and Notification System
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)
Halloween Sex Offenders Law
Pimping and Pandering Law
Megan's Law (1996)(Community Notification)
Jacob Wetterling Act (1994)(Registration Requirements)
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (2006)
Amber Alert (1996)