Juvenile Sex Offenses
Most parents never consider that their child could behave in a sexual manner that is deemed unlawful. Under Florida law, a child as young as 10 can be charged with a juvenile sex crime such as molestation, lewd and lascivious acts and sexting.
If convicted, minors who are 14 and older are required to register as a sex offender. The stigma of being a registered sex offender can dramatically impact a child’s life. Because of that, it is imperative that you seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Attorney for Juvenile Sex Offenses in Treasure Coast, FL
The sooner you retain legal representation for a juvenile sex crime, the better your chances of having a more favorable outcome in court. Meltzer & Bell has proven experience handling juvenile sex crimes and they will do everything in their power to defend your child.
Call us today at (772) 291-2534 to schedule a free case consultation or submit your information in the online contact form. Meltzer & Bell assist clients with juvenile sex crimes in counties along the Treasure Coast that include Martin and Saint Lucie.
Overview of Juvenile Sex Offenses in Treasure Coast, FL
Technically, minors can be charged with any crime an adult can, but the severity of the crime will determine whether or not the juvenile is charged in adult or juvenile court.
A common juvenile sex crime is sexting. The act is illegal under section 847.0141 of the Florida Statutes and can be committed if the minor knowingly:
- Uses a computer or any electronic device that is capable of transmitting or distributing photographs or video to another minor of a nude person, or
- Possesses a photograph or video of any nude person that was transmitted or distributed by another minor.
There are circumstances where a minor does not violate this law even though they are in possession of any photographs or videos depicting a nude minor. These circumstances include:
- The minor did not solicit the video or photograph
- The minor took the necessary steps to report the photo or video to their legal guardian, school or the police
- The minor did not distribute the photos or videos with other minors.
Sexting is considered a noncriminal violation for the first violation. The minor is required to appear in juvenile court, complete eight hours of community service, pay a $60 civil penalty or attend a cyber-safety program if locally available.
For a second sexting offense, the minor could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor that entails significant penalties that include probation, fines or time in juvenile detention.
Lewd and lascivious acts are considered any sexual behavior to or around a minor that is under 16 but older than 12. These acts are broken into four categories: battery, molestation, conduct and exhibition.
Lewd and lascivious battery: This is considered forcing, encouraging or enticing a minor older than 12 but younger than 16 to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.
Lewd and lascivious molestation: This sex crime is defined as the intentional touching of the breast, genitals, genital area, butt or the clothing covering them.
Lewd and lascivious conduct: This act is considered the intentional touching of a person under 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner or soliciting a minor to commit a lewd or lascivious act.
Lewd and lascivious exhibition: This sex crime is defined as any person who intentionally masturbates, exposes the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner or commits any sexual act that doesn’t involve sexual contact.
Anyone under 18 convicted of any of the mentioned crimes could be charged with a third-degree felony.
Sexting – Florida Statute 847.0141 – Follow this link to read through the Florida Statute that defines sexting laws in the state. Some of the information includes what is considered sexting and the penalties for minors. The statute can be read on Online Sunshine, the official website for the Florida Legislature.
Lewd and Lascivious Offenses – Florida Statute 800.04 – Familiarize yourself with the state’s laws regarding lewd and lascivious offenses. The statute explains what each act is as well as the penalties for both minors and adults.
Lawyer for Juvenile Sex Offenses in Treasure Coast, FL
If your child is being investigated for a sex offense, you should contact Meltzer & Bell as soon as possible. Our attorneys have proven experience with juvenile sex offenses, and they will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your child situation.
Call Meltzer & Bell today at (772) 291-2534 to schedule a case consultation or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients in counties along the Treasure Coast that include Martin and Saint Lucie.