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Although the criminal justice system strives for equality under the law, being accused of a sex crime can forge feelings of “presumed guilty before being proven innocent.” Often, it is the testimony of the victim alone that can convict or acquit. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex offense in the Treasure Coast, a Fort Pierce sex crime lawyer from our firm can help your case by providing expert investigative skills and aggressive protection of your rights with sensitivity to your particular circumstances.

Repercussions of sex crime conviction

Those convicted of a forcible sex crime in Fort Pierce are faced with a number of very serious and potentially life-altering penalties depending on the charge.

  • Sexual battery/rape – minimum of nine years in prison up to a life sentence
  • Unlawful sexual activity with a minor/statutory rape – minimum of nine years in prison up to a life sentence
  • Lewd offenses – Up to 15 years in prison, depending on the specific charge(s)

Child pornography

Possession, distribution and manufacturing of images or videos depicting minors engaged in sexual acts is illegal and penalties upon conviction are steep. Due to the nature of this type of sex crime, prosecutors work especially hard to secure convictions. For this reason, we have devoted a whole page to the subject. See: How can a child pornography defense lawyer from our firm help?

Human trafficking

Human trafficking has been on the rise over the last three decades, due in part to the fact that international travel is more commonplace than ever. It is a serious crime with penalties that are severe and, in many cases, enforced to the fullest extent of the law.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is defined as an act that constitutes the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for sexual purposes or for labor exploitation. Sex trafficking in which commercial sexual acts are induced by coercion or force, fraud or acts where minors are involved, carry steep penalties and lengthy prison sentences. Labor trafficking is a crime in which individuals are caused to perform acts of involuntary servitude through peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, after being subjected to coercion, force or fraud.

Examples may include:

  • transporting or assisting in transporting potential victims
  • the solicitation of individuals to be used for human trafficking purposes
  • harboring individuals known to be victims
  • knowledge about human trafficking that is not reported to the authorities
  • profiting financially in any way from human trafficking

What are the penalties?

Because of the marked increase in human trafficking cases over the last few years, authorities and courts pursue and prosecute individuals suspected of human trafficking aggressively in Fort Pierce. Penalties that may accompany convictions of human trafficking include:

  • fifteen (15) to Thirty (30) years in prison
  • multiple federal felony convictions
  • registration as a sexual offender for life
  • fines upward of $10,000

Possible defenses

While human trafficking is a terrible crime that should never be taken lightly, in some cases, the aggressive pursuit of guilty individuals leads to the downfall of innocent people. This can happen during a federal investigation or to those who doesn’t realize that criminal activity is happening around them. Since many of these cases are extremely complex, only your attorney can help you build a viable defense or mitigation strategy. Being able to provide evidence of your innocence and a concrete alibi may be a step in the right direction. The best defensive step to take if you are facing potential human trafficking charges or allegations will be the retention of an experienced and knowledgeable Fort Pierce criminal defense attorney.


Florida is a coastal state that experiences heavy tourism traffic year-round. As a result, cases in which individuals are accused of criminal prostitution are fairly common. Prostitution is an illegal act that involves the exchange of sexual favors for money, property, or other gains. With escort services on the rise, defining and understanding which acts constitute as prostitution crimes can be tricky. If you have been charged with prostitution crimes or believe that allegations of this nature may be raised against you, knowing how prostitution is defined, penalized, and defended, can help you decide how best to proceed.

What is prostitution?

Prostitution is defined in the state of Florida as physically giving or receiving activity for sexual hire, or, exchanging sex for money. It falls under Florida Florida Statute 796.07(1)(a).

Crimes that may be charged as acts of prostitution in Fort Pierce may include:

  • owning a property in which active prostitution happens
  • offering another person prostitution services
  • transporting people for prostitution purposes
  • hiring anyone engaged in prostitution for any reason

What are the penalties?

Prostitution crimes carry steep penalties that increase with more than one offense.

First offense penalties in Florida:

  • up to sixty (60) days in jail.
  • up to six (6) months of probation.
  • up to $500 in criminal fines.

Second offense penalties:

  • up to one (1) year in jail.
  • up to one (1) year of probation.
  • up to $1,000 in criminal fines.

Third offense penalties in Florida:

  • up to five (5) years in prison.
  • up to five (5) years of probation.
  • up to $5,000 in criminal fines.

Multiple counts of prostitution may be considered multiple offenses. How counts are charged and penalized will vary greatly from situation to situation. This is just one of the reasons that hiring an experienced sex crimes lawyer is so important.

Registering as a sex offender in Fort Pierce

The penalties don’t stop with prison time. The State of Florida launched the first online list of sexual predators and offenders following the Public Safety Information act of 1997. If you or a loved one have been arrested or is under investigation for a sex crime, a conviction means that your name, picture and whereabouts will be available for view by anyone with an Internet connection. This information will remain on the list for a minimum of 25 years if the offender has not been arrested for any crime since first registering.

Convicted sex offenders might also face many challenges in life after prison that other ex-convicts do not necessarily have to tolerate. For example, Florida Law requires sex offenders to register their vehicle(s) with local authorities as well as keep those same authorities abreast of their educational and employment activities or face stiff punishment.

Retain a sex crime lawyer near you ASAP

If you or a loved one is charged with a sex offense in Fort Pierce,  it’s critical to obtain the services of a competent sex crime attorney. A dedicated lawyer experienced in defending those accused of sexual misconduct or other charges will work with you to ensure that available evidence is carefully scrutinized, testimony is recorded, and that your rights are protected.

Ohle & Ohle are sex crime defense lawyers near you who represent those facing sex charges in the Treasure Coast. Call us now for a consultation with our law firm.

Why Choose Ohle & Ohle?
“I first hired him to defend me on a dui charge. We got the outcome we wanted on that. I then rehired him for new charges (possession of marijuana and paraphernalia) which resulted in a warrant being issued for Violation of Probation. I was scared to death, but Mike held my hand through the entire ordeal while maintaining effective and efficient communication with me throughout the entire process. He ended up getting those charges DROPPED and the warrant was redacted. He’s a life saver. I would never hire anyone other than him.”
~ Jen S., Google Reviewer
A sex crime can involve any of the following: possession / distribution / manufacturing of child pornography, assault, human trafficking, prostitution, rape, date rape, sexting, sodomy or child molestation. Because of the nature of the offense, Fort Pierce prosecutors aggressively pursue sex crimes, often seeking maximum penalties upon conviction. Before consulting with your defense attorney, It is essential that you say nothing to police or investigators that might incriminate you.
According to Florida law, anyone under the age of 18 is a minor, and sex with a minor is often charged as statutory rape. Whether or not the age was known is immaterial because ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense to a sex crimes charge. In Fort Pierce, always seek guidance from your sex crimes defense lawyer immediately after you’re arrested.
The answer varies depending on the nature of the alleged sex offense, as well as the number of counts. For example, a person found guilty of prostitution will face significantly less time than someone facing 20 counts of child pornography possession. Always consult with a Fort Pierce sex crime defense attorney as early as possible – even if you haven’t been arrested yet, but suspect you might be facing charges.


(772) 460-9801