Sex crimes against children are a very sensitive and emotional issue for many people who care about children:
- Parents and other family members
- Teachers and schools
- Social workers
- Child protection services professionals
- Child advocates
- Law enforcement
Protecting Your Rights And Reputation
Politicians often promise to "crack down on" crimes including crimes sex crimes against children as a way of galvanizing strong public sentiment. If you have been charged with a sex crime involving a child, it is especially important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, while a case is "fresh." Consult with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney before talking to police investigators, social workers who ask to discuss an incident or any other person who appears to be probing for information related to allegations of any sex crime involving children:
- Internet child pornography manufacture or distribution
- Solicitation of a minor for sex
- Lewd behavior in the presence of children
- Grooming of underage girls or boys for prostitution
- Child molestation, including improper touching
It is important for you to understand that an accusation does not equal guilt and conviction. In order for you to be convicted of a sex crime, you must be proven guilty as charged. Often, when we investigate allegations of sex crimes against children, we find that children's testimony has been tainted by the influence of adults. Sex crimes against children are often cited in disputed child custody cases.
Both federal and Florida law enforcement are extremely serious about child pornography. You do not need to have ever engaged in any sexual activity with a child to face stiff penalties for:
- Possession of child pornography: Whether pictures were found on your computer, cell phone or elsewhere
- Distribution of child pornography: Including sending photos from your computer, file sharing, sending images through the mail, sending images via cell phone and arranging for the import of child pornography from another country
- Receipt of child pornography: Including the use of P2P file sharing to download child pornography
What Are the Penalties for Possession/Distribution of Child Porn?
Each photo can be charged as a separate crime, with the penalties becoming more severe if you have more than 300 images. More than 600 images increase the sentencing range even further.
If you are convicted of possession, receipt or distribution of child porn, you face significant criminal penalties, including time in prison and registration as a sex offender. A conviction involving possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography will follow you for the rest of your life.
Handling Child Pornography Distribution Charges Among Young People
This is an evolving area of the law as legislators and prosecutors are faced with young people (under the age of 18) sending nude photos of themselves to boyfriends and girlfriends, and finding those photos reaching a wider distribution. This can lead to numerous young people facing child pornography charges.
These charges can have a serious effect on your child's future, limiting his or her ability to get into college, receive scholarships and find employment. If your child has been accused of distributing child pornography, it is extremely important that you speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Internet Child Pornography
Internet child pornography charges are a very serious matter that demands your best efforts to defend yourself. A conviction may lead to years in prison. It is important to get an experienced lawyer on your side if you have reason to believe that you are under investigation on charges of child pornography possession.
Perhaps you took your computer to Best Buy for repairs — and later discovered images of child pornography scenes on your hard drive. You may not know who downloaded them — perhaps a friend of one of your teenage children or a house mate. Might a worker from the repair shop report you? Or you may have discovered that your teenage son or daughter was sending pornographic images to underage friends using a cell phone. Your teenage child may have unwittingly committed a serious crime through "sexting" and exposed you to potential criminal penalties in the process.
At this stage, when you realize that you may be exposed to suspicion of criminal activity, it is especially important to consult with an attorney who has years of experience interacting with law enforcement, prosecutors and courts. Police may have asked to inspect your computer or cell phone — and you wonder whether things are serious enough yet to warrant contacting an Orlando Internet child pornography charges lawyer. The answer is an emphatic yes.
Sting Operations Defense
Sexual predator sting operations are very difficult situations for the accused. Essentially, police and special task force units are setting up individuals to make them look bad through manipulated online chats and e-mails. These officers are trained to create certain situations and to make what could be an innocent statement, construed as sexually overt. Many times, police are overzealous in handling these cases and there is evidence of improper conduct. A skilled attorney can help get such evidence thrown out or at the very least show holes in the prosecution's case due to such illicit conduct.
"We help our clients deal with the adverse publicity and the social consequences that go with even being charged with such a crime." - Mark L. Horwitz
Highly experienced and effective Internet sex crimes defense is vital when it comes to child pornography charges. Anything you say can adversely affect your case or even trial outcome. So it is imperative that you say nothing to anyone until you have sought skilled criminal defense counsel.
Sex Sting Operation Defense — Child Pornography Cases
Internet sex sting operations can involve a number of charges, including traveling to meet a minor, possession of child pornography, Internet solicitation of a minor and many others. These charges can begin in state court and may move to federal court. Unlike many law firms, the attorneys at our firm are highly familiar with both state and federal laws as well as the court systems. This is very important if you are facing federal court charges, as the consequences are stricter including a10- to 15-year minimum mandatory sentence.
Sex With A Minor
It's understandable that the state takes cases of sexual abuse of a minor very seriously. That is especially true in Florida where we have much more severe punishments for any "sexual" conduct that involves a child under age 12.
In cases involving sex with a minor, criminal charges are not always as clear-cut as the police lead the public to believe. There are times when an activity is judged to be a sexual activity but it is not. And, unfortunately, there are times these laws are abused either by teens or by a parent attempting to get back at another parent.
At the Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A, our sex crimes defense attorneys have seen situations, especially in blended families, in which a stepchild used allegations of sexual contact or sexual abuse of a minor as a way to get back at a stepparent. We have seen a teen use a charge of lewd conduct as a justification to move in with the other parent. And we have seen children, parents, teachers and others misinterpret situations to see a sex crime where there wasn't one.
We defend adults and youth facing criminal charges for sexual activity with a minor, including:
- Child sexual abuse
- Child molestation
- Statutory rape or date rape
- Online solicitation of a minor or enticement to sexual activities
- Sexual assault
- Indecent exposure, lewd or lascivious conduct
Traveling To Meet A Minor
Traveling to meet a minor is a felony crime under Florida's Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act. Contained in Florida Statute § 847.0135, the Act makes it a crime to travel to a location to meet a minor, or someone who is believed to be a minor, for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct after first communicating with the minor via the Internet.
If you have seen NBC Dateline, you probably have a good idea what this offense entails. Basically, a person communicates with a minor, or more often an undercover law enforcement agent that they believe to be a minor, and then they travel to meet the minor in the alleged hope of having a sexual encounter.
Protect Your Rights
Thousands of people throughout the United States are arrested every year in state and federal sting operations that are designed to reduce the incidence of Internet sex crimes. If you have been arrested for traveling to meet a minor or any other Internet sex crime, it is important that you retain an experienced defense attorney who is committed to protecting your rights.
For the strong defense you need, contact the Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz in Orlando, Florida. We will examine the facts of your case to determine viable defenses that may be used to your advantage, including:
- Motions to suppress evidence obtained in violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights
- Lack of intent: The state must prove that you traveled expressly for the purpose of pursuing sexual contact with a minor child. You may have been visiting the child for a legal purpose.
Contact Our Experienced Sex Crimes Attorneys
We defend clients throughout Florida who have been charged with sex crimes. To schedule a consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers, call 407-401-7224 or 866-784-0023. You may also contact us by e-mail.