Older Men and Younger Girls, a Recipe for Disaster

Attorney Peter D. Aiken Sex Crimes Defense 941-366-3506
Attorney Peter D. Aiken
Sex Crimes Defense
941-366-3506

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The law in Florida is a little complicated when it comes to understanding how old a girl (woman) must be to lawfully engage in consensual sex.

Part of it depends on how old the people engaging in sex are. If a man or a woman (a person) engages in sex with another person whether or not it is the crime of sexual battery is determined by ages. Generally, the age of consent in Florida is 18. However people sixteen and seventeen years old can engage in sex as long as the other party is not over 23. In other words, if a man 24 years or older engages in sex with a seventeen year old, he commits sexual battery.

It does not matter if the seventeen year old has lied about her age or is promiscuous.

If you are over 23 and the girl is under 18 you are in deep trouble.

This creates great danger for men and if there is any remote doubt about age, walk away. What if a seventeen year old girl has a false ID and is in a bar drinking. If you are over 23, as crazy as it may sound, even if she shows you a false ID claiming to be 19, and you hookup, it is a crime. If you are under 24 and she is 16 or 17, it is not a crime. The law is incredibly confusing for young men and women and a simple mistake can land you in prison and make you a registered sex offender, unless you qualify under the Romeo and Juliette law.

Under the law, 14 and 15 year old girls (jail bait) are incapable of giving legal consent and they are strictly off limits. Many times the police, conducting an interview will trick the person being questioned into thinking that if the 14 or 15 year old consented it is ok. If you are under investigation for any sex crime, particularly sexual battery, you absolutely should talk to a lawyer before saying anything to a detective or deputy. Your ignorance of the law may have gotten you into trouble. Do not let your ignorance of your constitutional rights bury you. There is nothing wrong with “lawyering up” and if you are under investigation for a sex crime, you should.

I have been defending men (and women) for over thirty years. Sadly, many teenage girls falsely accuse stepfathers, the mother’s new boyfriend and other relatives and have an agenda of their own. I have found that many of these accusations are simply false. Also, sadly, here in Sarasota the prosecutors have a tendency to always believe the accuser. They simply do not understand how a false accusation can destroy a life and a reputation.

If you have a son, brother, father or loved one under arrest or under investigation and want to discuss options call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation

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Should I Take a Deal in a Sex Case?

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Probably one of the toughest decisions you will ever have to make is whether or not to accept a negotiated plea, a plea bargain, in a sex crime case. When you are charged with a sex crime like traveling to meet a minor, Internet solicitation of a minor, child pornography or date rape, ultimately you have to make a decision as to whether or not to go to trial or negotiate some type of plea. Unlike other types of crimes like possession of cocaine, possession of pill or driving on a suspended license, no two sex crime cases are alike. Every one of them are different. Deciding what to do is a hard call.
Most serious sex crime convictions have terrible consequences. All of them carry possible State prison sentences. That is not the big consequence. The real problem is becoming a registered sex offender. The real problem is becoming a registered sex offender. It affects where you can live, where you can work, where you can travel and your real personal freedom for the rest of your life. Sex offender probation is also tough. You have curfew, have to wear an electronic monitor, cannot live within a thousand feet of designated places like schools and have to go to all kinds of therapy, evaluation and counseling.
You only get good plea deals when you have an attorney that knows how to raise good defenses and negotiate with the prosecutors. You only get good deals from a position of strength and having a good chance of winning if you go to trial. The prosecutors almost always start off offering State time in prison as well as a sex conviction. It all depends on how strong the case is, whether or not the witnesses are strong and how bad the evidence is against you. Sex cases are tough but not impossible. Even when the cases seem hopeless and the evidence is against you, a good lawyer may be able to do damage control and get you a plea deal for a lesser offense or a lower sentence. Never give up hope.
I have resolved dozens of sex crime traveler cases in the last few years. In half of them we were able to get the charges reduced to non sex offenses like attempted child abuse, unlawful use of a two way communication device or some other computer crime. This is important because in those cases the client did not become a registered sex offender. In the non sex offense resolutions most of the men got probation. In the remaining cases where the evidence was overwhelming we were still able to get low sentences when we could show that the men were not really sex predators but merely made a terrible mistake in judgment.
You have to weigh the strength of the State’s case against the consequences of losing. The State also weighs the strength of their case against the defense lawyer they are coming up against. If the lawyer has not handled sex sting cases and is not familiar with defending them, generally, he will not get as good a deal. If the lawyer has not raised good defense issues, he will not get a good offer. In these types of cases the experience of the lawyer really matters a lot. Not all cases are winners. In some cases it is damage control. Having a good damage control lawyer can make a difference in years of your life. If you want to talk about your sex crime case feel free to call at 941 366 3506 or visit Sarasotaderdefender.com

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