Being accused of a sexual crime can be devastating, especially when you’re falsely accused or another side to the story. Sexual allegations can be based on hearsay — a simple misunderstanding or, worse, intentionally false.

You have a lot to lose if you’ve been accused of a sexual crime in Sarasota, FL. You may start experiencing consequences before you’re even charged or convicted. Finding a qualified and passionate criminal defense lawyer is your best chance at avoiding the fallout. Attorney Erika Valcarcel is ready to hear your case and start your defense.

Florida Sex Crimes

Florida sex offenses fall into a few categories. Understanding which crime, you’ve been accused of is critical. Some sex crimes carry penalties life in prison, registration as a sex offender and even the death penalty in some cases.

Over the years, attorney Erika Valcarcel has handled all types of sex offense cases. She can help with your case involving:

Sexual Battery

In Florida, the crime typically known as rape or sexual assault is charged as sexual battery. This offense involves any kind of sexual penetration that is non-consensual and is done through force, threats, coercion, or incapacitation of the alleged victim. Sexual battery could be a capital, life, or first-degree felony.

Sexual Battery of a Child

This crime occurs when a minor victim is compelled to engage in sexual intercourse against their will. Sexual battery of a child is a capital felony.

Lewd Acts

Crimes of lewdness involves acts such as public masturbation or exposing your genitals to another person, as well as sexual contact with a minor ages 12 to 16, also commonly known as statutory rape. Lewdness offenses can be either be first- or second-degree felony offenses in Florida.


Prostitution involves sex as a transaction. Criminal charges related to prostitution can include the act of exchanging sex for money, receiving the proceeds of prostitution, forcing someone to engage in prostitution, or renting out space to someone when you know it will be used for prostitution. Prostitution offenses can be misdemeanors or felonies in Florida.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

Anyone convicted of a sex crime is required to register as a sex offender in the state of Florida. Failing to register as a sexual offender is a third-degree felony.

Child Pornography

Child pornography is defined in Florida as any image or video displaying a child under the age of 18 engaging in sexual acts. Anyone convicted of a child pornography crime could be charged with a first-, second-, or third-degree felony.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault charges are more generic than sexual battery crimes, but they still carry grim connotations. Penalties for sexual assault convictions vary, because the degree of charges vary: you could face second- or first-degree felonies, along with capital or life felonies.

Sex Sting Operations

Law enforcement sex sting operations can function to weed out sexual offenders in large numbers. They can be aggressive and sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Defend yourself with an experienced attorney’s help. These charges can vary in degree as misdemeanors or felonies.

Sarasota Sex Crime Penalties

Florida takes sexual crimes seriously. Convictions carry hefty consequences, some beyond prison or fines. Understanding what’s at stake can motivate you to find the proper lawyer to lead your defense. These charges can result in felony sentencing and other collateral consequences.

In Florida, there are five degrees of felonies, ranging from highest to lowest: capital, life, first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree. These carry different levels of punishment. You might be charged for a first- or second-degree misdemeanor, depending on your alleged crime.

  • A lengthy jail or prison sentence
  • Expensive fines and court fees
  • House arrest
  • Probation
  • A requirement to register as a sex offender
  • Restrictions on where you can live and work
  • The stigma of being a convicted sex offender, which can affect your ability to get a job or damage your relationships with family and friends
  • Loss of custody of your children or your visitation rights
  • Loss or denial of a professional license, such as to work as a teacher, doctor, nurse, or lawyer
  • Loss or denial of your immigration visa or green card, denial of your citizenship application, or deportation

Florida Sexual Offender Registry

Along with significant incarcerations or fines, anyone convicted of a sexual crime must register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Public safety and awareness are the goal of this registry, even if it feels humiliating or demeaning.

You’ll be required to register immediately after getting released from prison. If you move residences, you’ll need to notify the local county sheriff’s office within 48 hours of moving to your new address.

Information provided to the registry will include details like your:

  • Your name, date of birth, and address.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • A recent photograph of you.
  • Any contact information associated with you, like a phone number or e-mail.
  • Your driver’s license or state-issued ID.
  • Your place of employment, address, and contact information.

You may have to provide additional information, like places of education or kind of vehicle you drive. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer with experience in Florida is a good way to keep you off of this humiliating registry.

Collateral Consequences of Florida Sex Crimes

You may also suffer consequences outside of the criminal justice system. These consequences aren’t specified by the judge when they sentence you. Rather, they’re what you’ll experience once you’re charged and convicted of a sex crime in Sarasota.

You could be restricted to living or working in certain areas. You could lose visitation or custody rights to your children. If you have a professional license, like a teaching license, you could lose it.

In some instances, a sex crime conviction or charge may be enough for you to lose your immigration status or the possibility of citizenship.

The most damaging experience you could face is the loss of social standing. There is a stigma associated with sexual criminals. People facing the fallout of a sex crime conviction could lose standing with their family, community, or neighbors. Working with a sex crimes defense attorney to get charges dismissed, allegations dropped, or acquitted through a trial gives you the best chance at avoiding the most damning of these consequences.

Possible Defenses for Florida Sex Crimes

Like other criminal charges, you’ll be working with your attorney to disprove or throw doubt on the prosecution’s side of the argument. They must show beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are guilty of the crime you’re accused of committing. Your attorney will try to show that you are not guilty of the crime.

Common defenses include:

  • False accusations. There have been instances where the alleged victim of a sex crime is instead accusing the person charged with a crime as a form of revenge. Your attorney can use your evidence and that of the prosecutors to show they’re lying.
  • Mistaken identity. Sexual battery can be traumatizing. The victim may have been attacked, but they might confuse their assailant with a bystander: in this case, you. You shouldn’t have to face the consequences of someone else’s actions. Your attorney can help prove the victim is mistaken.
  • Broken chain of evidence. The prosecution’s case is built on evidence. That evidence is gathered by law enforcement agents. There are instances when the police “want a win,” so they’ve created evidence that implicates the wrong person. Your attorney can review the investigation and find flaws in the evidence.

"Valcarcel is the best you will find."

Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is the best you will find. Erika Valcarcel is completely honest and straightforward. She took a huge burden off my shoulders many times during difficult periods of my life knowing that she was doing everything that that could and should be done. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice has always been right on the mark. She is worth every penny of the fee she charges. You cannot go wrong securing her services.

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What to Look for in a Sarasota Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Being accused of a sexual crime can have earth-shattering implications. The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” sometimes gets left behind: many people are quick to make judgments about someone’s guilt before the facts are clear.

You need to find an attorney who can ensure fair treatment by the justice system. Your sex crimes defense lawyer should have experience in Sarasota or Manatee counties, someone who’s worked within the courts before.

Your attorney should review the facts of the case to help you develop a defense strategy. An experienced lawyer may be able to objectively review your prospects and push for reduced charges, which could lead to a smaller sentence.

In some instances, a conviction could be inevitable. Your lawyer can help negotiate a plea deal, so the consequences aren’t as extreme.

When speaking with an attorney, you should feel heard and that they’re taking your defense seriously. You need to make sure they have handled cases similar to yours, how involved they’ll be with your case, and discuss their fees. Finding a qualified Florida sex crimes defense lawyer is critical to your future.

Contact a Sarasota Sex Crimes Lawyer

Sex crimes are daunting when you’re alone. You stand the best chance at getting past charges when you’ve got an experienced defense attorney on your side. Attorney Erika Valcarcel is the attorney to help you defend yourself against sex crime charges. She has more than 20 years of legal experience and has helped countless clients in positions like yours.

Erika has the experience to look over your case and help guide you to the best solution. Get started on your case today with a call or use the contact form to schedule your consultation.