Help from a Fort Lauderdale Sexual Assault Attorney
Sexual battery or assault is a serious felony in Florida carrying severe penalties. People who are charged with sexually assaulting someone while using deadly weapons can face even harsher penalties. Fort Lauderdale sexual assault attorney Kenneth Hassett defends people who are facing serious sex crimes charges to try to secure the most favorable resolutions to their cases possible. Recently, a man was arrested and charged with assaulting a teenage girl in Fort Lauderdale.
Man Arrested for Sexual Assault
According to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, a 33-year-old man was arrested on May 17 for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old girl after she had gone walking with a friend. The 14-year-old girl went for a walk with a friend must past 7 a.m. As they were walking, they saw a man in a backyard who startled them. The two friends told the man to leave, and he said that he would. The 14-year-old’s friend walked to a nearby group home to try to get back inside. After the friend walked away, the man approached the 14-year-old and brandished a knife. He allegedly threatened the girl before sexually assaulting her. After the assault, the man fled. Deputies with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office located the man a short time later and placed him under arrest.
After he was taken into custody, the man reportedly admitted having sexual contact with the 14-year-old girl. He was charged with several counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual assault. The man was held on no bond following his arrest. The teenager lived in the group home, which is a home for children in the foster care system who do not have a placement. She reportedly sustained minor injuries during the assault.
Sexual Assault or Battery in Florida
Sexual assault or sexual battery is codified at § 794.011, Fla. Stat. (2021). A sexual assault or battery occurs when a person penetrates the anus, vagina, or oral cavity with a sexual organ or penetrates the vagina or anus with a different object. This offense is always punished as a felony, but the penalties differ based on the victim’s and perpetrator’s ages and the circumstances of the offense.
When the offense is perpetrated by someone who is 18 or older against someone who is 12 or older while using a deadly weapon, it is a life felony. The potential penalties include up to life in prison and a fine of $15,000. When a person is convicted of sexual battery while using a deadly weapon, he or she will also be considered to be a dangerous sexual offender under § 794.0115, Fla. Stat. (2021). People who are designated as dangerous sexual offenders for using deadly weapons while committing a sexual battery and who have committed their offenses after 2014 must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 50 years up to life.
Defending Against Sex Crimes
While sexual assault or battery is a serious offense, it is still possible to defend against these types of criminal allegations. Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Kenneth Hassett can review the evidence to identify potential issues with the state’s case and the types of defenses that might be the most appropriate.
For example, attorney Hassett might review the man’s confession to determine whether he was provided with his Miranda warnings and if his confession was coerced or made voluntarily. If he was not properly Mirandized and his confession was coerced, the confession might be suppressed as well as any evidence gathered because of it. Another possible defense that might apply in this case is mistaken identity. There are known issues with eyewitness identification, especially in cases involving weapons. Attorney Hassett might also identify other defenses that could be raised.
Speak to a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer
Attorney Kenneth Hassett has decades of experience defending people who have been charged with crimes, including serious sex offenses. If you have been charged with similar offenses or know someone else who is in a similar situation, contact Hassett & Associates, P.A. at 954-791-3939.