What Makes a Sex Crime a Federal Charge?

Typically, sex crimes are charged and prosecuted at the state level. However, there are certain sex crimes that rise to the level of being federal charges. Federal sex crimes cover a wide range of circumstances, and often involve minors or federally owned and protected locations.  

In this brief article, sex crimes defense attorneys in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm have shared the major differences between federal and state sex crimes, and what makes a sex crime rise to the level of federal charges. 

What Is a Federal Sex Crime?

Federal sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses in state or federal courts in the United States, and as such the punishments for these offenses are severe. These crimes often include similar charges that you face on the state level, and you may be charged with both state and federal charges for the same incident. For example, if you are charged with sexual battery against a minor, you may face the same charge in Florida courts as well as federal courts. 

Examples of Federal Sex Crimes

Federal sex crimes carry steep penalties including extensive jail time. As we mentioned before, these are the most serious charges a person can face. A few common examples of federal sex crimes include:

  • Human Trafficking: Human trafficking occurs any time a person is trafficked by another person for either servitude or sexual reasons. Although this crime often involves several levels of people and involvement, 18 U.S.C. 1584 outlines penalties for up to 20 years in prison for a defendant who is convicted of holding someone or selling them in involuntary servitude. If serious bodily injury or death occurs, or the crime involved kidnapping or sexual abuse, the defendant could be sentenced to life in a federal prison.
  • Sexual Assault of a Minor or Sexual Battery of a Minor: This charge is sometimes called aggravated sexual abuse. Except in limited circumstances, federal laws typically do not apply to child sexual abuse matters that takes place wholly inside a single state and are typically handled by the state. However, if the sexual abuse of a child occurred on federal lands, the offense may be prosecuted under federal law. Federal lands include areas such as military bases, Indian territories, and other government-owned lands or properties.
  • Possession of Child Pornography: As defined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, child pornography is “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct,” including photographs, videos, and computer files, among other forms of content involving a person under the age of 18 engaged in any form of sexual conduct. This is a federal and state crime. You may come into contact with these materials through no fault of your own, but you may still stand accused and charged regardless of intent. 

Find a Federal Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes

If you’re facing federal sex crime charges, you’ll need a federal defense attorney in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm. These charges can negatively impact your life for years to come, and defending yourself aggressively is crucial. 

For a free consultation, contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

What Is Human Trafficking?

Florida is third in the country and one of the top places in the world for human trafficking. In fact, the cities of Tampa, Orlando, and Miami are in the top areas of Florida where human trafficking is most prevalent. But what exactly is human trafficking and how does it occur? 

In this brief article, a federal defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm has shared what you need to know about the definition of human trafficking and what to do if you find yourself facing human trafficking charges.

Human Trafficking Defined

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking “involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act..”

In other words, human trafficking occurs any time a person is trafficked by another person for either servitude or sexual reasons. Although this crime often entails several levels of people and involvement, 18 U.S.C. 1584 outlines penalties for up to 20 years in prison for a defendant who is convicted of holding someone or selling them in involuntary servitude. 

If serious bodily injury or death occurs, or the crime involved kidnapping or sexual abuse, the defendant could be sentenced to life in a federal prison.

Human trafficking is an important legal distinction from prostitution charges, because in many cases those who have been trafficked are protected from facing solicitation charges. Unfortunately, many who are being trafficked are afraid to come forward for fear that they will be charged with a crime, even though they are a victim. If this is the case, a sexual battery attorney in Tampa can help protect your rights. 

How Does Human Trafficking Occur?

Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide. This can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. But how does it actually happen? 

In many cases, traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. 

For example, imagine a woman who is promised a well-paying job and her only responsibility is to go on dates with men. But, once she leaves town to begin this new endeavor, she is actually forced to perform sex acts on the dates which she never signed up for. 

This would be an example of a woman who was trafficked. And, in many cases, fear is used to keep the woman compliant. 

Find a Federal Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes

If you’re facing federal sex crime charges or have been trafficked and fear that you’ll be charged yourself despite being a victim, you’ll need a defense attorney from The Rickman Law Firm. These charges can negatively impact your life for years to come, and defending yourself aggressively is crucial. 

For a free consultation with the best federal defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Sexual Battery Vs. Rape: What’s the Difference?

Accusations of rape are among the most serious in the state of Florida. If you’ve been charged with rape, you might be surprised to learn that you’re actually being charged with sexual battery. So what does that mean? 

In this brief article, a sexual battery attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm has shared the differences between sexual battery and rape and the penalties you could face if convicted. 

What Is Sexual Battery?

The big question is always whether sexual battery and rape are the same thing. Although the legal definitions vary state-by-state, in Florida sexual battery and rape are typically one in the same. 

Florida Statute Chapter 794 defines sexual battery as one party forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse without consent, in a manner that is against their will. The key here is consent: that means that if one party is unable to give consent – for example, they’re a minor, are mentally incapacitated or handicapped, or are unconscious – and a sex act is performed on them, then a sexual battery charge may be the result. 

This is different from sexual assault, because sexual assault can include rape but sexual assault does not have to rise to the level of rape. Sexual assault also includes unwanted touching which does not necessarily rise to the level of sexual battery.

Penalties for Sexual Battery or Rape

Sexual battery, or rape, carries some of the most serious penalties in the state. Depending on the severity of the sexual battery, you may face anywhere from 25 years to life for this felony charge. 

There are additional penalties and punishments if the victim was or is currently a minor, if there were multiple perpetrators, or if the offender was an officer of the law or in another position of power. Additionally, if there were serious injuries as a result of the sexual battery, there may be additional charges and penalties added. 

There is such a wide range of punishments for sexual battery, and it is not one-size-fits-all. A lawyer will help you understand the penalties you might be facing in your unique case. 

Best Defense for Sexual Battery

If you’re facing sexual battery or sexual assault charges, you’ll need a sexual battery lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. Sexual battery or rape accusations can ruin your life, and you’ll need to defend yourself aggressively. Further, our team with The Rickman Law Firm will help you navigate the legal process, and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. 

Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated. Don’t leave your future to a public defender. For a free consultation, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

How to Protect Yourself From Rape Allegations From a Former Lover

It’s a situation nobody ever wants to find themselves in: a “he-said she-said” argument with a former lover or significant other that snowballs into a rape allegation. These allegations can seriously impact your life, family, and your livelihood, and in the moment you may feel that you have no recourse to protect yourself from these allegations. 

In this brief article, a rape defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm has shared tips to help you protect yourself if you are being accused by a former lover of sexual assault, sexual battery, or rape

Do Not Delete Written Communications

Although you may be tempted to delete communications after a breakup, sometimes holding on to these communications can be important. For example, saving a text message chain or email chain wherein written consent is given for a sex act, can be helpful during a trial. 

Another way you can be proactive in preventing a future significant other from accusing you of rape is to make sure that you get verbal or written consent before any sex act is performed. This sounds a little bit strange – after all, it is unnatural to ask for written consent – however, if you suspect that the person might make accusations later it is best to protect yourself however possible. 

Do Not Speak With the Accuser

Allegations of rape are very serious. If someone has made such a serious accusation, then it’s best not to speak with them again without legal representation. This matters for a few reasons. 

First because in a criminal case, this could be seen as tampering with witnesses or victims. Secondly, talking with the accuser can only fuel the fire – it may lead them to make further allegations or to add more serious allegations to their story. 

If you need to communicate with a former significant other who has accused you of rape, for example, if you need to speak with them about a child custody situation during your sexual battery trial, you should always do so with the help of an attorney.

Best Defense for Rape Allegations

Don’t let the allegations of a disgruntled former lover or significant other ruin your life. Protect yourself by working with a skilled sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. Not only will your attorney help you defend yourself against these allegations, they will also be able to help you understand if your rights have been violated and will help you find legal recourse for false allegations. 

Don’t leave your future to a public defender, especially when you know that you are not guilty. Call The Rickman Law Firm today. 

For a free consultation with the best sexual battery lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Common Federal Sex Crimes and Penalties in Florida Part 2

Federal sex crimes are uncommon, but they do happen. Federal sex crimes cover a wide range of circumstances, and are punished with harsher penalties than those crimes convicted solely at the state level.   

In this brief article, the best federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm has shared three of the most common federal sex crimes and their penalties.

Sexual Exploitation of a Child

In many cases, sexual crimes committed against a child carry federal charges and severe penalties. For example, sexual exploitation of a child is a felony and can carry a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Sexual exploitation of a child includes coercion, bribery or any act to entice a minor to engage in sexual conduct, i.e. child pornography, sexual depictions, sexual, etc. For example, if a person shows a minor a pornographic image in an attempt to get them to engage in that conduct, that is sexual exploitation of a child. This is also an offense prosecuted at the state level.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse

Aggravated sexual abuse is a felony prosecuted both at the state and federal level. This crime includes using force, fear, or threats of bodily injury, kidnapping, death, or rendering the victim unconscious to coerce unwanted sexual acts. There is no age limit for this to rise to the level of a federal crime. 

Sexual Crimes Committed on Federally Owned Lands or Territories

Even if a crime doesn’t typically rise to the level of federal charges, you can still face trouble if the crime was committed on federally owned lands or territories. That’s because any crime on a federal property is immediately in the jurisdiction of the federal government. Examples of these properties include: land or territory, including national parks, military bases, reservations, etc.  

The penalties for committing a federal sex crime on federal property will depend on the act itself. For example, there is no minimum sentence for crimes committed in national parks (just by virtue of the location) but there are minimum sentences of 15 years or more for sexual battery of a minor on a federally owned land or territory.

Contact a Federal Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes

If you’re facing federal sex crime charges, you’ll need the best federal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg from The Rickman Law Firm. These charges can negatively impact your life for years to come, and defending yourself aggressively is crucial. 

For a free consultation with the best federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time? Defending Yourself Against Sexual Assault Allegations

During this time of year, the Tampa area has no shortage of celebrations. Events like Gasparilla can be exciting, but when alcohol or drugs are involved, dangerous situations can occur. Sometimes the victim’s memory is clouded by anxiety and stress mixed with alcohol, and you might find yourself being accused of sexual assault just because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

So, what should you do if this happens to you? 

In this brief article, sex crime defense attorneys in Tampa with our team at The Rickman Law Firm have shared what you should do to defend yourself against allegations of sexual assault if you were wrongly accused due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Gather Witness Information

Chances are, you know at least a few people who can confirm your innocence. For example, if you were visiting a Gasparilla event, you were likely attending with your friends. If you’ve been accused of any crime, but especially a sex crime, it’s important to make a list of as many witnesses as you can who were with you at the event or who saw the incident happen and can confirm that you were not the perpetrator. 

The goal isn’t always to prove that a crime didn’t happen, just that you didn’t commit it so that you can help identify the real perpetrator. You should also make a list of the times and locations where you were. If you have photos to corroborate this, make sure to save them without modifying them so that their time stamp shows. 

Do NOT Speak With Police Alone

When you’ve been accused of a crime, the police do not always have your best interests at heart. They may try to make you feel comfortable speaking with them, but anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. 

You should contact a sexual battery lawyer in Tampa before speaking to the police. Your attorney should be present for all interrogations, even if you have been arrested. 

Contact an Experienced Sexual Battery Lawyer in Tampa

Allegations of rape or sexual assault are not taken lightly the state of Florida. Although your inclination may be to avoid the charges or ignore them because you know you are not guilty, you will need the best sex crime defense attorneys in Tampa. Protect yourself by working with The Rickman Law Firm.

Not only will your attorney help you defend yourself against these allegations, they will also be able to look at the evidence you have to aid the police in finding the person who is actually guilty. 

Don’t leave your future to a public defender, especially when you know that you are not guilty. For a free consultation with the best sexual battery lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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