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Federal Sex Crimes

Federal Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Tampa Lawyers Defending Those Accused of Criminal Acts

Sex crimes are highly stigmatized. A mere accusation can destroy a reputation, and a conviction can make it difficult to find a job, secure housing, or attain higher education. Federal sex crimes include human trafficking for prostitution, child sex exploitation, child pornography, sex trafficking of minors, kidnapping to perpetrate a sex crime, sex crimes resulting in death, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse, and computer sex crimes. At Hanlon Law, our Tampa sex crimes attorneys fight for the rights of the accused.

Federal Sex Crimes

The federal government takes sex crimes seriously. You can face charges for sex crimes under both federal and state laws. Most crimes involving criminal sexual actions are brought by state prosecutors, but there are many federal sex crimes as well, found within Title 18 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). Certain crimes apply to sex crimes perpetrated within the United States or in federal prison. Others, however, involve border crossing to perpetrate a sex offense. Among other things, the FBI has an Innocence Lost National Initiative intended to discover and prosecute trafficking in kids and child prostitution.

Offenses involving child pornography are federal sex crimes. Under 18 U.S.C. section 2251, it’s illegal to knowingly publish, print, or cause to be made a notice or ad that seeks or offers to receive, buy, reproduce, trade, display, or distribute images involving minors engaged in sexually explicit acts. This child pornography law is also applicable if somebody knows the notice or advertisement will be or has been carried in interstate or foreign commerce through any mechanism including online.

Another federal sex crime under section 2421 is transporting someone with the intent of involving them in unlawful sexual activity. To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor will need to show that you: (1) knowingly, (2) transported, (3) someone in foreign or interstate commerce or inside the United States, (4) intending that person be involved in prostitution or any sex activity for which someone can be charged with a crime.

Under section 2425, you can be charged with using interstate facilities to send information about children if you: (1) intend, (2) to entice, encourage, or offer, (3) a child to be involved in a sexual activity that’s charged as a crime.


Federal sex crimes, like other crimes, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very tough standard. Even so, you should be aware that most prosecutors don’t bring charges unless they’ve gathered enough evidence to think they might be successful. With sex crimes, an accusation is enough to ruin a reputation. That’s why it is advisable to retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable enough to negotiate with prosecutors, and who can figure out the defense strategies available to you.

In some instances, prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to meet the reasonable doubt standard. In those cases, it may be appropriate to raise reasonable doubt as a defense. For example, under section 2421, it can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you “knowingly” transported somebody in interstate or foreign commerce or to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended the person to be involved in illegal sexual activity.

In other situations, it may be appropriate to challenge how the police gathered the evidence of the sex crime. Sometimes, Fourth Amendment rights are violated in obtaining evidence of child pornography. In that case, you may be able to bring a motion to get the illegally obtained evidence suppressed. In other situations, it may be appropriate to challenge the credibility of witnesses or raise a substantive defense.

Retain a Sex Crimes Attorney in Tampa

If you’re charged with a federal sex crime in Tampa, a skillful trial lawyer who understands these types of charges and how to defend them can help you protect your rights. Our founder and principal Will Hanlon has represented people accused of a wide range of crimes since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at (813) 228-7095 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
I retained Mr. Hanlon for two cases... He handled both cases very quickly and without me present. The end result was all three charges on two separate cases were dismissed. I couldn't be more pleased with the service I received from Mr. Hanlon.
- Ashley
Excellent attorney! Will handled my petty theft case with the utmost professionalism and kept me informed of my options and choices every step of the way. The evidence was highly circumstantial and predatory, but luckily the whole case was null processed. I highly recommend Will because of his expertise and knowledge.
- Criminal Defense Client
Mr. Hanlon was extremely professional in handling my DUI case. His office was very helpful in answering all my questions. I was so pleased when he reduced my charge from a DUI to Reckless Driving. It was a weight off my shoulders. I would highly recommend him for any DUI case based on his high success rate in reducing the charges. Thanks again Mr. Hanlon.
- Steve