Sexual Battery Charges in Florida

Sexual Battery, which is more commonly known as rape or sexual assault, is one of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in Florida and carries some of the most severe and long-lasting penalties of any criminal offense.

Korody Law is YOUR BEST Jacksonville criminal defense attorney if you are charged with sexual battery.

I generally classify sexual battery into three types of cases:

  1. Stranger rapes
  2. Date rapes
  3. Spousal rapes

Date rapes and spousal rapes often are he said/she said cases.  Stranger rape cases often boil down to identification and forensics.  All sexual battery cases require a zealous defense because of the harsh  prison sentences and collateral consequences (namely sex offender registration) that accompany a conviction.

Definition of Sexual Battery

Under Florida Statute 794.011, a Sexual Battery is committed when a person has non-consensual 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 aggravated crimes also contained in the statute.

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 non-consensual 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 non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person as a result of the use of physical force likely to cause serious personal injury.

Maximum Sentence if Convicted of Sexual Battery

The penalties for Sexual Battery are determined by 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 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 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 94½ 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 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 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 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 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.

How to Defend Against a Charge of Sexual Battery

There are many defenses available to the charge of sexual battery, including:

  1. Consent
  2. False allegations
  3. Misidentification

Consent

Lack of consent is element of sexual battery between adults.  Therefore, it is not a true defense; rather, if the state fails to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must be acquitted.  Challenging lack of consent is a common defense strategy.

“Consent” means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. Consent does not mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

 Often, voluntary intoxication by the defendant and the alleged victim come into play.  Voluntary intoxication of a defendant is not a defense under Florida law.  Voluntary intoxication under an alleged victim will play a part in any sexual battery trial where the prosecution is proceeding under an incapacitation theory.  The defense can also use intoxication to attack an alleged victim’s memory and credibility.  However, an incapacitated person cannot consent.  This is a common prosecution theory in alcohol facilitated sexual assaults.

False Allegations

False allegations of sexual assault and rape are often motivated by mental instability or a desire for some time of social or financial gain.  Sometimes allegations of sexual assault are made as a result of a simple misunderstanding.  Men view sex entirely different than women for the most part.  Men are very capable of enjoying sex and not thinking anything about it afterwards except for how much fun they had.  Women may claim that is how they feel but the facts of these accusations show they have a much hard time accepting it as such a meaningless act of pleasure.  It is in these instances that false accusations commonly arise.

Moreover, false accusations upon a break-up or divorce, or to protect a relationship (“I didn’t cheat – he raped me”) are all too common.

Pursuing a false allegation defense must begin with a thorough review of all of the circumstances of the relationship or the situation.  A comprehensive investigation of the alleged victim must be done by an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney – the defense must know the alleged victim’s background, character, reputation, and social relationships.  The motive to fabricate the accusation must be identified and properly present to the State or to the jury during trial.

Misidentification

In most misidentification cases, there is no dispute that the victim was sexually assaulted. The claim is that the wrong person is being prosecuted.

Witness identification has proven to be unreliable.The mind does not work like a video recorder. A person cannot just replay a mental recording to remember what happened. Memory and
perception are much more complicated. Remembering something requires three steps. First, a person sees an event. Second, the person’s mind stores information about the event. Third, the person recalls stored
information. At each of these stages, a variety of factors may affect — or even alter — someone’s memory of what happened and thereby affect the accuracy of identification testimony. This can happen without the witness
being aware of it.  Factors that can cause a misindentification include:

  1. Opportunity to view the event, including lighting, disguises, distance, and obstructions
  2. The use of a weapon or other distractions during the event
  3. Whether the witness has good eyesight
  4. Whether the witness suffers from physical or mental health issues
  5. Whether the witness was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time
  6. The passage of trime
  7. Whether the witness and the defendant are of different races (cross-racial identification)
  8. Exposure to outside information, like police suggestibility or media accounts

A skilled Florida criminal defense attorney can hone in on identification issues and ask the court to suppress the identification or give the jury a specific instruction on the weighing the reliability of identification.

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Attorney Patrick Korody is YOUR BEST Jacksonville criminal defense attorney if you are charged with sexual battery.  He has litigated sexual battery cases for more than a decade as a both a prosecutor and Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.  He offers a free case evaluation.

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