Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Can A Misdemeanor Sex Offense Be Just As Harmful as a Felony Offense?

If the charge is any type of voyeurism, expect the complainant to call the State Attorney’s Office five days a week demanding someone’s head. Video voyeurism in particular is one of those offenses that first offender defendants are at serious risk of jail time. If someone charged with voyeurism were to ask me how to handle their case without a lawyer, I would say tell them to plan to go to jail for several months if they walk into court and plead guilty or no contest.

Additionally, a misdemeanor sexual offense conviction where adjudication was withheld or if it was dismissed, but not expunged will cause problems for many years. Employers are very reluctant to hire people with criminal histories. They are even more reluctant to hire someone with any type of drugs, alcohol or sexual offense history even if it is a misdemeanor. It is very important that these cases be properly handled, if possible, the records are sealed and a new item that we have added this year from a company outside of our law firm is the erasure of digital records online.

That is becoming increasingly important, and especially in the context of misdemeanor sexual offenses such as exposure of sexual organs or indecent exposure where somebody may have been able to get a dismissal of some form either outright dismissal or a nolle prosequi no pros, a negotiated dismissal, but they still received a criminal history for their potential employers or other people to find. We are recommending to people when they can, follow up with a record seal, expunction and we are recommending digital online record erasure if possible.

One of the good things about digital erasure is that while it will not get everything if someone is convicted, for example, it will still get a lot of information on private websites out of the public view. It will not eliminate it in situations where people have been convicted or sentenced for sex offenses, misdemeanor or felonies, but it can still get rid of a lot of negative online material hosted by private websites.

Mental State Of People Charged With Sex Crimes In Florida

When I am sitting across from a decorated military veteran who has been charged with traveling to meet a minor for sexual acts or multiple counts of child pornography; I may not be able to read their mind and know for a fact what their mental state is, but I know two things: one, they are extremely upset and two, if in fact they are guilty of making a mistake. I can have their brain imaged. In those brain images I have used for many years with my cases, I have found consistently in every single person that has been imaged, issues that may be related for these types of offenses. Additionally one thing I find that is very shocking is the absence of literature and discussion, particularly political discussion about the large number of our wounded warriors or veterans who are coming back from deployments.

They have absolutely no prior criminal history, they have excelled in school, they have done all kinds of community service and the next thing you know, they go off to war and they come back and suddenly there is this interest in child pornography and traveling to the purported girls who are so young and innocent. This is not normal. These are people who were not like this before they were deployed. So when I look at the mental state of my client, I am looking at two things; how are they doing inside right now and how are they going to be doing during the pendency of this case. What can I do to help them deal with the emotional trauma of this type of prosecution?

We actually created an entire protocol for that. Now, if this person has been falsely accused that is one thing. But, if this is a scenario where someone out of the blue has made a mistake of this magnitude, I know right away that something upstairs is not working correctly and had it not been for that brain problem; this person would not need my services for this type of a charge. I find it very upsetting that our veterans are not being cared for the way they should be. Many of these crimes could be prevented if the military took a more proactive stance when it comes to the mental health of our veterans. I’ve had more clients brain imaged than any lawyer in criminal law. Not one of them has come back with anything close to a healthy, normal set of brain images. Crime and Treatment is the paradigm of tomorrow, but we are still dealing with the outdated Crime and Punishment model today.

For more information on Misdemeanor And Felony Sex Offenses, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 423-0035 today.

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Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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