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Sexual Battery

Sexual Battery

When a person is accused of rape in the state of Florida, the legal term for the criminal charge is sexual battery. A sexual battery charge is extremely serious and can spell unfortunate trouble for your future. If you are convicted, you could face jail time, fines, or both. In addition, you may also be forced to register as a sex offender. Even after the fines have been paid and imprisonment has been completed, the stigma of a sexual battery conviction can have long-term effects on your future.  

It is important to remember that an arrest for a crime does not mean a conviction will automatically follow. This is especially true if you have an experienced Tallahassee sexual battery attorney at your side. Even if you do not think the charges against you are substantial, it is critical to do everything in your power to combat these charges and preserve your future. The most important step in a criminal case is finding a skilled Tallahassee sexual charge defense attorney to work thoroughly on your case.

Attorney for Sexual Battery Crimes in Tallahassee, FL

Sexual offenses are some of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in Florida. The penalties can be harsh and the repercussions can last a lifetime. If you have been accused of sexual batter, you do not have to face the charges alone. A Tallahassee sexual battery attorney at Pumphrey Law can help you make the best decision for your case.

The sex crime lawyers at Pumphrey Law can be a strong asset to have at your side. The legal team has more than 20 years in the Florida criminal justice system.

Pumphrey Law has been defending accusations of sex crimes for over 2 decades, and has the results to back it up!

Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to learn more about your legal options after a charge for sexual battery in Leon County. Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including those in Franklin County, Gadsden County, Jefferson County, Liberty County and Wakulla County.


Florida Sexual Battery Information Center


Sexual Battery in Florida

Sexual battery is defined under Florida Statutes Section 794.011 as “any vaginal, oral, or anal penetration, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object (excluding acts done for a bona fide medical purpose).”

In other words, it is unlawful for any person to engage in non-consensual sexual contact with another person by vaginal, oral, or anal penetration. Consent is defined as when an individual voluntarily and willfully agrees to another person’s proposition. In criminal cases surrounding sexual assault or rape allegations, consent is not a valid defense if it was given out of coercion or fear.

In the state of Florida, a person can receive a standard sexual battery charge or an aggravated sexual battery charge. In order for a case to be considered aggravated sexual battery, there are specific aggravating circumstances that have been committed.

Aggravated sexual battery is more serious than a regular sexual battery charge, as it implies that certain aggravating factors exist in the sexual battery accusations. If the State charges you with aggravated sexual battery, then any of the following aggravating factors may apply to your case:

  • The victim was helpless to resist
  • The offender coerced the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence to cause the victim severe physical injury and the victim believed the offender had the ability to execute the threat
  • The offender coerced the victim to submit by threatening retaliation against the victim or another person and the victim reasonably believe the offender had the ability to execute the threat in the future
  • The offender administered or had knowledge somebody else was administering narcotic, anesthetic or other intoxicating substance which mentally or physically incapacitated the victim, without the victim’s prior knowledge or consent
  • The offender had reason to believe or possessed actual knowledge that the victim is mentally defective
  • The victim is physically incapacitated, such as handicapped
  • The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or any other person in a position of control or authority in a probation, community control, controlled release, detention, custodial, or similar situation. That includes a person acting in a way to suggest to the victim that the offender is in a position of control, authority, or is a government employee. (A person who falsely accuses any of these people can face a third-degree felony).

Penalties for Sexual Battery in Florida

The penalties for sexual battery can vary according to the offense. In the state of Florida, all sexual battery charges are considered felony offenses. A standard sexual battery charge without any aggravating enhancements is considered a second-degree felony. That implies that the defendant allegedly committed sexual battery upon a victim 18-years-old or older without using physical force, violence, or a deadly weapon. A second-degree felony in Florida has penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

When a person is charged with sexual battery and through the investigation there are aggravating factors found, they may receive harsher penalties for aggravated sexual battery. Aggravated sexual battery is typically considered a first-degree felony in Florida; however, there are additional circumstances that can result in a life or capital felony. If the defendant is accused of committing any of the aggravating factors listed above in the commission or attempt of sexual battery, they may receive the full penalties for a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony has penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

A person who commits sexual battery on a child 12 years or older, without that person’s consent, and uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or force likely to cause severe personal injury has committed a life felony. People who are convicted of a life felony that involves sexual activity, as defined in Florida Statutes Section 800.04, can be sentenced to life in prison, or a split sentence that is a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison, up to a $15,000 fine or both.

If a person in an authority or custodial role engages in an act with a person less than 12 years old which constitutes sexual battery or attempts to commit sexual battery, damaging the sexual organs of the victim in the process, is guilty of a capital felony.

It is also considered a capital felony offense for a person 18 years of age or older to commit sexual battery on a person under 12 years old and or injure the sexual organs of the victim in an attempt. However, if the offender is less than 18 years old, he or she has committed a life felony offense.

According to Florida Statutes Section 775.082 and 775.083, if a person is convicted of a capital felony, he or she can be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In addition, these crimes cannot be sealed or expunged from a criminal record. Florida law does not allow the sealing or expunging of some crimes, often those that are violent in nature, such as child abuserobbery and sexual battery.


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Unlawful Activity with Certain Minors

A person who is 24 years or older and engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years old is guilty of committing a felony in the second degree, according to Florida Statute Section 794.05. This crime is often referred to as statutory rape. Cases of statutory rape are usually reported by parents or family members of the victim. In some statutory rape cases, the sexual act is consensual.

Under Florida Statute Section 794.011, “consent” is defined as intelligent, knowing and voluntary, and does not include submission that is coerced. However, the term does not mean failure by the alleged sexual battery victim to give any resistance to the offender.

In these cases, the victim’s prior sexual consent is not a relevant issue to prosecution. By law, the victim cannot consent to the sexual activity. This section does not apply to a person 16 or 17 years of age who has had disabilities of nonage removed under chapter 743.


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Sexual Battery by Multiple Perpetrators

Under Florida Statute § 794.023, separate provisions are made for people found to have committed sexual battery to a victim with other offenders. The Florida state legislature found that acts of sexual battery present a great danger to the public and subsequently reclassified acts of sexual battery committed by more than one person.

A violation of Florida Statute § 794.011 is therefore reclassified if it is charged and proven by the prosecution that, during the criminal episode in question, more than one person was involved in committing an act of sexual battery on the same victim. A second-degree felony will be reclassified to a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is reclassified to a life felony. This section, however, does not apply to life or capital felonies.


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Penalties for Sexual Assault in Florida

The penalties for sexual battery vary according to the offence. According to Florida Statutes § 775.082 and 775.083, if a person is convicted of a capital felony, he or she can be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

People who are convicted of a life felony that involves sexual activity, as defined in Florida Statutes § 800.04, can be sentenced to life in prison, or a split sentence that is a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison, up to a $15,000 fine or both.

For first-degree felony convictions, individuals face up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. People convicted of a second-degree felony can face up to 15 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine or both.

In addition, these crimes cannot be sealed or expunged from a criminal record. Florida law does not allow the sealing or expunging of some crimes, often those that are violent in nature, such as child abuse, robbery and sexual battery.


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Dangerous Sexual Felony Offender Act in Florida

Florida Statute § 794.0155 provides for certain mandatory punishments for people labeled as dangerous sexual offenders. This includes a person convicted of sexual battery, luring or enticing a child, lewdness, indecent exposure, lewd or lascivious acts and other sexual offenses. To receive the designation of a dangerous sexual felony offender, the offenders must have:

  • Been committed by a person age 18 or older
  • Caused serious injury to the victim as a result of the offense
  • Used or threatened to use a deadly weapon during the offense
  • Victimized more than one person in the course of the criminal episode
  • Committed the felony offense while under the jurisdiction of a court in Florida or another state, or for an offense that would have been a felony if committed in Florida
  • Previously been convicted of a sexual offense under

Individuals who are deemed as dangerous sexual felony offender face a mandatory imprisonment term of 25 years to life. Florida Legislature states if the described offense took place on or after October 1, 2014, the person who qualifies as a sexual felony offender must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of 50 years up to life in prison. Defendants sentenced to mandatory minimum term of imprisonment are not eligible for statutory gain-time or any form of discretionary early release aside from pardon, executive clemency, or conditional medical release before serving the minimum sentence of 25 years.

If the defendant has been convicted of a sexual battery charge, the next step after sentencing would be to register under Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Sex Offender Registry. According to the FDLE, a sexual offender is any person who has been convicted of a qualifying sexual offense in the state of Florida. The following is a list of several qualifying offenses:

  • Sexual Battery
  • Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Activity with Certain Minors
  • Lewd and Lascivious Offenses
  • Video Voyeurism of a Minor
  • Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Child Pornography

You can read the entire list of qualifying sexual offenses on FDLE’s site here.

According to Florida Statute Section 943.0435, a “sexual offender” is a person who has been convicted of committing, attempting to commit, soliciting, or conspiring to commit any of the aforementioned sex crimes codified under Florida Law. FDLE explains that all sexual offenders are required to maintain registration as a State Sexual Offender for the duration of their life. That means all qualifying offenders will be listed on the site. In addition to registering, convicted sex offenders must complete the following:

  • Complete the registration form at their local county sheriff’s officer either 2-4 times a year depending on the offense
  • Update their driver’s license or identification card within 48 hours after any change of residence (transient, temporary, or permanent)
  • MUST maintain registration for life and be listed on the site’s public registry

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Rules of Evidence in Florida Sexual Battery Cases

In Florida, the prosecution and defense are somewhat limited in the type of evidence that is admissible in court. Sexual offense cases are handled very carefully. Testimony of the victim does not need to be corroborated in prosecution, according to Florida Statutes § 794.022.

In addition, specific instances of previous consensual sexual activity between the victim and people other than the offender shall not be admitted. A person’s sexual history cannot be used against them in court. However, it may be admitted if it is established that such evidence may prove that defendant was not the source of the semen, pregnancy, injury or disease.

If the consent of the victim is being argued, the evidence may be admitted if it is established that said evidence can show a pattern of conduct or behavior on the part of the victim that is similar to the conduct or behavior that is relevant to the consent issue.

Reputation evidence of a victim’s prior sexual conduct or evidence presented to show that the manner of dress of the victim at the time of the offense incited the battery shall not be admitted into evidence. Neither shall the offender’s use of a device intended to prevent conception.

If the consent of the victim is being used as a defense to prosecution, evidence of the victim’s mental incapacity or defect is admissible in court to show that the consent was not knowing, voluntary or intelligent.

Possible Defenses to Sexual Battery Charge

Many believe that there is no defense to sexual battery cases. However, that is not true. Although sex crimes are awful and should be taken extremely seriously, that does not necessarily mean that every allegation is true. In addition to pretrial defenses and trial defenses, the two most common defenses to a sexual battery accusation are as follows:

False Allegations

It can be difficult to realize that false allegations can exist in a sexual battery case, especially with how severe the penalties can get. However, it can happen. That means it is extremely important to thoroughly investigate the accuser’s motives in a sexual battery case. Common reasons for someone giving false allegations include:

    • Manipulation by parent or other family member
    • Jealousy
    • Fear of exposing an affair
    • Mental illness

Consent

  • One of the main factors in determining a sexual battery case is whether or not there was given consent from the victim. It is the State’s responsibility to prove that the victim did not provide consent in an intelligent, knowing, and voluntary way. In a case involving coerced submission—consented only out of fear for their life or physical safety—consent cannot be used as a valid defense.

The best way to figure out which defenses are applicable to your case, contact a skilled Tallahassee criminal defense attorney in your area today.


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Finding an Attorney for Sexual Battery in Leon County, FL

A charge of sexual battery is a serious offense and can have tremendous consequences on your future as well as your loved ones. When facing these allegations, you need to make sure that you have an experienced and dedicated criminal lawyer at your side. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients for different types of battery charges from a misdemeanor offense for simple battery or a more serious offense for felony aggravated battery.

Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 to learn more about how we can help you combat these charges in court. Schedule your free consultation with a lawyer today.


This article was last updated on January 20, 2023.

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