Being charged with a sexual battery can be scary because it’s a very serious offense. If you’re facing one such charge you should talk with an experienced Florida sexual assault attorney about the specifics of your case so that you can get detailed information on the best strategy that you can use to defend yourself. It’s also a good idea to learn more about sexual battery laws in Florida and what you’re facing.
What Is Sexual Battery?
Florida Statute s. 794.011 defines sexual battery or rape as:
“Sexual battery” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.”
If you are convicted of sexual battery in Florida you could face penalties of fines to extensive prison time depending on different factors and the details of the case.
Aggravated Sexual Battery
There are also enhanced sexual battery charges in Florida like Aggravated Sexual Battery. The state defines this term as a crime where “a person has oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person using their sexual organ or an object under an “aggravating circumstance”. The “aggravating circumstances” that can lead to this charge include situations where:
- The victim cannot physically resist.
- The perpetrator coerces the victim into submission via threats of force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury, and the victim reasonably believed the present ability to execute the threat.
- 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.
- The victim is unknowingly and without consent drugged so that they are mentally or physically incapacitated.
- The victim was taken advantage of due to a known mental defect.
- The victim is physically incapacitated.
- 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.
Children Under 12
Another enhanced charge is 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. Children cannot give legal consent.
With a Deadly Weapon
Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon is an enhanced sexual assault charge that requires that that a person used or threatened to use a deadly weapon during non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person.
Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury
Sexual Battery Likely to Cause Serious Personal Injury is the charge assigned when a person uses physical force likely to cause serious personal injury such as blunt force trauma during the commission of the sexual assault.
If you are convicted of sexual battery in Florida it’s always a felony, although charges are considered to be more serious felonies than others. Conviction will also mean that you must register as a sex offender in Florida. The fines or jail time associated with conviction of sexual battery in Florida depend upon the specifics of the case but according to Florida statute 794.011 can include:
- When the Perpetrator is 18 or older, victim is younger than 12 years old: Penalties for a conviction on this charge include a fine, life in prison, or a combination of both. Offenders must serve at least 25 years in prison before obtaining eligibility for parole.
- When the Perpetrator is younger than 18, victim is younger than 12 years old. If the defendant has not yet reached the age of majority and commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of someone younger than 12 years old penalties include a fine or up to 40 years in prison or both.
- When the Perpetrator is 18 or older and victim is 12 or older with physical force. This is a first-degree felony. Penalties include a fine, up to 30 years in prison, or a combination of both. If the offender didn’t use physical force, violence, or a weapon it’s considered a second degree felony and the penalties include a fine, up to fifteen years in prison, or both.
One of the questions at the heart of any sexual battery case is consent. It’s possible that in some cases the person gave consent for sexual contact and then revoked it but the defendant didn’t know that and believed they still had consent. Some people, like children or those who lack the mental capacity to give consent, legally cannot give consent so consent cannot be used as a defense in those cases. Coercion or the use of a weapon or threat of the use of a weapon also negates consent.
One possible defense to these types of charges is to raise questions about the nature of consent. There are a lot of questions about the practical expression of consent that can be raised to help form a defense.
Get Professional Help
Because there are so many specific circumstances that go into the possible penalties for these types of charges, it’s essential that you talk to an experienced attorney in Florida right away to get advice on the best way that you should proceed if you have been charged with sexual battery in Florida.