Sexual Offense & Sex Crimes Lawyer in Pinellas County, Florida & the Greater Tampa Bay Area

Being accused of a sexual offense is one of the most serious and stressful situations a person can experience. If the allegations are made public, the accused is subject to humiliation and potential loss of employment. If it is alleged that the victim is a child, the potential penalties can be severe, including a sentence of up to life in prison. Even consensual sexual contact with a minor of 16 or 17 years of age can result in felony charges and incarceration in the Florida Department of Corrections. It is therefore extremely important that the person accused obtain legal advice as soon as the allegations are known.

The legal advice you receive regarding a sexual offense or sex crimes case should come from an experienced, compassionate lawyer. Attorney Charles Holloway, P.A., has the experience and compassion necessary to consult defendants being accused of sex crimes in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and beyond. Please call attorney Holloway at (727) 446-8303 to discuss your sex crimes case and schedule an appointment at his office in Clearwater, Florida. Attorney Holloway is here to offer valuable advice about sexual offense charges as well as investigating sex crimes, speaking with law enforcement about sexual offenses, and the importance of hiring an attorney to represent you during a sex crimes case.

The Investigation

The response of law enforcement to an allegation of a sexual offense often varies, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a law enforcement officer catches a person in the act of indecent exposure or voyeurism, it is likely that the accused will be arrested for a sex crime on the spot. If, however, the allegations involve behavior where the accused is not caught in the act, it is more likely that law enforcement will want to investigate  before deciding which action to take next. At the end of their investigation, law enforcement may decide to make an arrest or, in the alternative, send the matter to the State Attorney’s Office for what is referred to as a “non-arrested investigation.” After reviewing the information that law enforcement has gathered about the sex offense, the State Attorney’s Office will then decide whether to file charges or not.

When conducting an investigation, law enforcement always contacts the reporting  witnesses and accuser first, saving contact with the accused for last. In this way, they can gather as much information as possible before alerting the suspect of the allegations. This technique also maximizes the background information that law enforcement has available to them so that they can better prepare to interview the accused.

If the accused is alleged to have engaged in a sexual offense with a child, law enforcement will also enlist the assistance of child specialists. These specialists can include law  enforcement officers such as Child Protective Investigators (CPI) and investigators with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). These specialists may also seek to interview witnesses, including the accused.

Initial contact by law enforcement with an accused may take the form of a phone call or a personal visit to the suspect’s place of employment or residence. The chief purpose of this contact is to conduct an interview of the accused. The interview may or may not be  preceded with a warning known as the “Miranda rights” and may or may not be electronically recorded. Regardless, while the official purpose may be to conduct an objective interview, there is a significant risk that law enforcement will view the accused as guilty and therefore conduct an interview that is less than fair and objective. An accused will often decide to speak with law enforcement, in the belief that they can explain their way out of the problem. This belief is usually proved wrong. It is therefore extremely important that the accused obtain legal advice before speaking with law enforcement or other specialists.

If you wish to speak with an attorney before you speak with law enforcement about sex crimes allegations, which is highly recommended, please call Clearwater criminal defense attorney Charles Holloway, P.A., at (727) 446-8303. Attorney Holloway can meet with you at his office in Clearwater, Florida to discuss sexual offense charges, investigations, and evidence. Attorney Holloway’s locations are convenient to clients throughout the Tampa Bay area including Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties.

The Charges

Sexual offenses can include the following charges:

(a) Sexual Battery

  • accuser less than 12 years of age
  • accuser 12 years or older (great force or other circumstances)
  • accuser 12 years or older but under 18 (by person in family authority)
  • solicitation of person under 18 to engage in sex (by person in family authority)

(b) Lewd and Lascivious

  • accuser less than 16 years old
  • accuser elderly or disabled

(c) Impregnating a Minor / Incest

(d) Pornography

  • possession/distribution of obscene materials
  • possession/distribution of child pornography
  • transmission of child pornography

(e) Sex with a Minor

  • accuser 16 to 17 years old and accused 24 years or older

(f) Exposure of Sexual Organs

(g) Voyeurism

(h) Solicitation of Prostitution

(i) Seduction of a Child Using the Internet

(j) Traveling to Meet a Minor

 The Attorney’s Role

One of the most important roles that an attorney can fill is that of advisor. This is certainly true in situations where a person has been accused of a sexual offense. In addition to advising a client whether and how to respond to sex crime allegations, an attorney can provide representation that may include the following decisions and actions in a sex crimes case:

(a)Pre-arrest Representation

  • gather information about the allegations
  • gather background information about the client
  • gather background information about the unreliability of the accuser
  • consider submission to a private polygraph exam
  • provide a voluntary statement to law enforcement (with counsel)
  • provide witnesses to law enforcement
  • consider private psychological evaluation of client
  • interact with prosecutors to drop or reduce the charges

(b)Post-arrest Representation

  • obtain police reports from the State Attorney (discovery)
  • review qualifications of law enforcement investigators
  • obtain psychological, police, school, child protection,
    and/or guardianship records of accuser
  • consider motives of accuser
  • review prior accusations of accuser
  • review accuser’s reputation
  • review accuser’s sexual history
  • take the sworn testimony of state witnesses (depositions)
  • obtain documents from related civil cases (e.g. divorce,
    paternity, child custody)
  • file motions to dismiss or to obtain additional information
    (when appropriate)
  • consider use of experts in psychology, accuser statement
    analysis, or medicine
  • negotiate a plea bargain or represent the client at trial
    by jury

For more information about hiring a lawyer for representation in a sexual offense or sex crimes case in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and throughout Florida, please call or e-mail Attorney Charles Holloway today.