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 (more commonly referred to as rape) is committed when a person has unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person using their sexual organ or an object.

In addition to the standard crime of Sexual Battery, there are several enhanced forms of Sexual Battery that can be committed in Florida.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated Sexual Battery is committed when a person has oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person using their sexual organ or an object under an aggravating circumstance.

Aggravating Circumstances

  1. The victim is physically helpless to resist.
  2. The victim is coerced into submission by threats of force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury and the victim reasonably believed the present ability to execute the threat.
  3. The victim is coerced into submission by threats to retaliate against the victim, or any other person, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the ability to execute the threat in the future.
  4. The victim is unknowingly and without consent drugged so that they are mentally or physically incapacitated.
  5. The victim was taken advantage of due to a known mental defect.
  6. The victim is physically incapacitated.
  7. The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer, or any other person in a position of control or authority, or a person reasonably believed to be in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government.

Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12

Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12 is committed when, regardless of consent, a person has oral, anal, or vaginal contact with a child under the age of 12.

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon is committed when a person has unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person as a result of the use, or threatened use, of a deadly weapon.

Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon is committed when a person has unconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person as a result of the use of physical force likely to cause serious personal injury.

Penalties for Sexual Battery

The penalties for Sexual Battery increase based upon the age of the offender, the age of the victim, or the presence of aggravating circumstances.

Further, every person convicted of Sexual Battery is designated a sexual offender under Florida law and is required to comply with sexual offender registration laws for the remainder of their lives.

Additionally, under the Adam Walsh Act, a person convicted of Sexual Battery 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.

Sexual Battery (Rape)

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

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Sexual Battery to a minimum sentence of 94½ months in prison and can 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.

Aggravated Sexual Battery on Person 18 or Older

The crime of Aggravated Sexual Battery on a Person 18 or older is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Aggravated Sexual Battery on a Person Over 18 to a minimum prison sentence of 34½ months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in prison.
  • Up to thirty (30) years of sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Aggravated Sexual Battery on Person between 12 and 18 Years of Age

The crime of Aggravated Sexual Battery on Person between 12 and 18 years of age is classified as a Life Felony and is assigned a Level 9 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Aggravated Sexual Battery on Person between 12 and 18 years of age to a minimum sentence of 108 months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to life in prison.
  • Up to life on sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12

The crime of Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12 by a person 18 or older is a Capital Felony and known as Capital Sexual Battery. The crime of Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12 by a Person under 18 is a Life Felony.

Capital Sexual Battery

A judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Capital Sexual Battery to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sexual Battery by a Person Under 18 on Child Under 12

The crime of Sexual Battery by a Person Under 18 on Child Under 12 is classified as a Life Felony and is assigned a Level 9 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Sexual Battery by a Person Under 18 on Child Under 12 to a minimum sentence of 108 months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to life in prison.
  • Up to life on sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon

The crime of Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon is classified as a Life Felony and is assigned a Level 10 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon to a minimum sentence of 126 months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to life in prison.
  • Up to life on sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury

The crime of Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury is classified as a Life Felony and is assigned a Level 10 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

Absent legal grounds to impose a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury to a minimum sentence of 126 months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to life in prison.
  • Up to life on sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

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 Allegations

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 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)