Sexting…..A slippery Slope


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We live in a different world now. Modern technology has made it easy to commit a crime by accident. This is particularly true when it comes to communication over a smartphone. Young women now sometimes are sexually aggressive. This begins as early as middle school and particularly in high school. It is particularly confusing when it comes to “Sexting”. In high schools now girls sixteen and seventeen years old often send sexually explicit texts, including photographs, videos and “pics” showing themselves in various stages of undress, often nude. For an adult man engaged in “sexting”, confirming age is absolutely critical. It is not unlawful for a young adult woman to send naked pics or sexually stimulating videos. It happens often in the adult dating and social media sites. A man could meet a young woman in a bar, engage in conversation and then later exchange pics. In a bar you would normally assume the person is an adult of drinking age. What if that person later turns out to be sixteen or seventeen years old? All of a sudden it becomes felony possession of illegal images. A seventeen year old can engage in actual sex with a man under 24 but it is a crime to ask a seventeen year old to send a dirty pic. The law is really confusing and a trap for the unwary.
You have to know the actual age of people you are communicating with. Do not be bashful.  They have phony identification to get into bars. Demand proof of age before sending or receiving anything sexually explicit. In Sex Stings, undercover cops will ask for a “pic”. Sending a dick pic to someone underage will land you in jail. Sarasota and Manatee County are long overdue for another “Sting”. As a sex crime lawyer I see lives ruined all the time by a single moment of indiscretion. Sexting in high school can ruin a student’s life forever. Imagine starting life as a registered sex offender. Imaging going into prison at the age of 18 or 19. Imaging being on sex offender probation for simply sending or receiving a video from a girl you thought was an adult. These cases are defensible and getting in touch with a lawyer who does this type of case is important. Not all criminal defense lawyers are experienced in sex crime defense and experience does make a difference. If you have any questions, call attorney Peter Aiken for a free consultation at 941 366 3506

2016…Feds targeting street level heroin and crack dealers in Manatee

20150617-074The DEA and ATF branches of the federal government have teamed up with the Sheriff in Manatee and started indicting street level heroin dealers. Although it is basically a crime normally enforced by local law enforcement, in the latest arrests it was run through the Federal system and the indictments were returned in Federal Court in Tampa. As a former Federal prosecutor I can tell you exactly why they are doing this. They want to get the benefit of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which jacks up the penalties a lot. The men charged were arrested based on low level street sales of grams of heroin and crack. This is not a case involving multi kilos of drugs like you normally see the Feds involved in. The other reason they use the Federal laws is because of the enhancement possibilities. If a person has a prior drug conviction and then gets charged in a new case federally, the penalties go through the roof. You could have a minor drug conviction from before, but if you then get a later federal drug charge, the penalties go sky high. If you have two prior drug charges, you can get life.
Sadly, many times the Federal charges involve minorities including blacks and Hispanics. I have always felt that a better approach to the drug problem is some form of legalization. Addicts are going to use until they can get real medical help. Drug addiction is a sickness that causes crime.
So many crimes are committed to get the money to buy drugs. If we legalized some of the drugs, at least there would not be the financial motive and some of the collateral crime could be eliminated. I suspect the Federal involvement and the crackdown is because of the out of control murder rate in Manatee. Defending crimes in Federal court is the big league. Not all criminal lawyers are experienced in defending federal cases and not all lawyers are admitted to practice in Federal Court. As a former federal agent and former federal prosecutor, I understand the system and why and how the Feds do things. If a loved one is under indictment or under investigation for a Federal crime, call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation