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Sexual Battery or Rape in Florida

Sexual Battery is one of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in Florida and carries some of the most severe and long-lasting penalties of all crimes.

To further complicate the defense of Sexual Battery cases, they frequently boil down to one person's word against another's.

If accused of Sexual Battery, you want to know the:

Definition of Sexual Battery

Under Florida Statute 794.011, the crime of Sexual Battery or rape occurs when a person engages in:

  • Unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal physical penetration or union with the sexual organ of another person,
  • or
  • Unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of another person with any object.

Penalties for Sexual Battery

The crime of Sexual Battery or Rape is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Sexual Battery or Rape, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 34½ months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Civil Consequences

A person convicted of Sexual Battery or Rape would not only be placed on sex offender probation, but would also be declared a sexual offender.

As a result, they would be required to comply with sexual offender registration laws in Florida and throughout the United States for the remainder of their lives.

Romeo and Juliet Ineligibility

Under the Adam Walsh Act, a person convicted of Sexual Battery or Rape is ineligible to ever petition for removal from state or federal registration laws because the crime involves unconsensual sexual interaction. [1]

This means that if a teenager is convicted of Sexual Battery or Rape under questionable circumstances (such as date rape allegations), they will be labeled a sex offender for their entire life.

Mitigating Circumstances

Under certain circumstances, the court can deviate from the minimum prison sentence required under Florida's sentencing guidelines if it can be shown:

  • The child was an initiator, willing participant, aggressor, or provoker of the incident;
  • The defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder (unrelated to substance abuse or addiction) and is amenable to treatment; or
  • The defendant is to be sentenced as a youthful offender before the defendant's 21st birthday.

Defenses to Sexual Battery

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, the two primary defenses to the crime of Sexual Battery or rape are:

  1. Consent; and
  2. False Allegations

Consent is a defense to an accusation of sexual battery or rape, but only if the consent was found to be intelligently, knowing, and voluntarily made. This means that if a person says they were unknowingly drugged or too intoxicated to consent, a jury could find that they did not consent to the sexual activity voluntarily.

Likewise, the failure of the accuser to offer physical resistance will not be deemed consent. Rather it will be something a jury can consider when determining whether the sexual interaction was consensual or coerced submission.

Coerced Submission

On the other hand, sexual battery or rape will be deemed coerced submission if force, threats, or intimidation were used to compel the sexual interaction.

This is an important distinction, because if an accuser alleges they feared for their life, physical safety, or the life and safety of a loved one, they can assert that they had no other alternative than to submit to a sexual act - thus they did not consent under the law.

False Allegation

False allegations of sexual battery or rape are increasingly common in Florida and one of the primary reasons people find themselves accused of sexual battery or rape.

Typical reasons for false allegations include:

  • Fear of being caught in an affair,
  • Jealousy,
  • Manipulation of children by an angry parent,
  • Mental illness of the accuser,
  • Mentally ill parents influencing a child

As a result, it is vitally important that an accuser's motives are thoroughly investigated so that any motive for making a false accusation of sexual battery or rape can be exposed to a jury.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Sexual Battery or rape in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando metropolitan area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Miller v. State, 17 So. 3d 778 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009)