Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is a criminal defense firm whose attorneys represent people charged with statutory rape and other serious sex crimes, such as child pornography offenses. These charges can bring lasting consequences for everyone involved. We are former prosecutors who fight these cases head-on, working to build thorough and creative defenses for the people whom we represent. Our Tampa Bay statutory rape defense lawyers understand that each case is unique. We take the time to understand each client’s circumstances and tailor a strategy accordingly. Our attorneys are dedicated to guiding clients through the criminal justice process with experience and personalized attention.Penalties in Sex Crime Cases
Statutory rape generally refers to consensual sexual intercourse with a minor. This is different from sexual assault or rape, which are crimes that generally refer to forcible sexual conduct, regardless of the victim’s age.
Florida law defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18. For statutory rape purposes, however, a person up to the age of 24 who has sexual intercourse with someone between the ages of 16 and 17 is not considered to have committed a crime. Although the penalties may vary based on the circumstances, a person convicted of statutory rape in Florida is looking at up to 15 years behind bars. For repeat offenders, the prison time may be as much as 40 years. Fortunately, retaining a statutory rape defense attorney can help Tampa Bay residents avert or minimize these consequences to the extent possible.
This is not to mention the significant social stigma that can come with a statutory rape or other sex crime conviction. State law requires sex offenders to register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Your home address will be listed in a state sex offender registry upon your release. It will also be made available to the public – along with your photograph - via the FDLE’s website. If and when sex crimes happen in your area, you are likely to be questioned by the police. You may very well also have a difficult time getting or keeping a job.Statutory Rape Defenses
There are some defenses available to anyone charged with statutory rape in Florida. As our Tampa Bay statutory rape defense attorneys understand, the claim that you did not know the victim’s age is not one of them. That said, cops and prosecutors bear the responsibility throughout the process of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the specific crime with which you have been charged. Showing simply that it is more likely than not that you committed the offense is not enough. This is important to remember in cases that often come down to one person’s word against another person’s word. These cases often raise issues related to witness credibility and medical evidence.
If you are charged with sex with a minor who is close in age, you may have a defense under Florida’s so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law. The law protects a person who has consensual sex with a minor between the ages of 13 and 17 from criminal charges. Moreover, if you were convicted before that law went into effect in 2007, you may be able to get your name scrubbed from the sex offender registry.Consult an Experienced Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Region
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we have decades of combined experience in sex crime cases. We understand the legal issues that often come up in these cases, and we know what judges and juries regularly find meaningful when deciding whether to convict. We also have a strong track record of getting optimal results for clients through negotiated plea deals in state and federal proceedings. Our firm is committed to helping clients and their families in what can be a trying, stressful, and uncertain time. We serve defendants in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding cities. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.