Sexual battery in Florida is a serious charge, as a conviction could send you to prison for decades, if not for life. Additionally, you could suffer other life-altering consequences like being forced to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of sexual battery.
The sex assault defense lawyers from Moses and Rooth are former state prosecutors who have over 30 years of combed legal experience. We are available 24 hours a day to make sure that we are here to help you whenever you need us.
What Is the Sexual Battery Definition in Florida?
Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes describes the sexual battery meaning. Sexual battery, sometimes called sexual assault, refers to any oral, anal, or vaginal penetration with another person’s sex organ without consent. It also refers to the anal or vaginal penetration of another person by any other object without consent. The definition excludes acts undertaken for a legitimate medical purpose.
Consent is often an issue in sexual battery cases. Under Florida law, consent means to make a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent approval of the act. Consent does not mean submission or acquiescence to authority. Additionally, consent is not a failure by the victim to physically resist the attacker.
Aggravated Sexual Battery in Florida
If certain aggravating factors apply, the state can charge you with an aggravated sexual battery. Aggravating factors under Florida’s sexual battery law include:
- Committing the act while in a position of authority such as a law enforcement officer, teacher, parent, step-parent, or guardian;
- Threatening to harm the victim or the victim’s family while committing the act;
- Using violence that could have led (or did lead) to the victim suffering great bodily harm;
- Using violence and causing a physical injury that is permanent or causes disfigurement;
- Having a previous conviction for certain offenses related to child abuse or sexual misconduct; or
- Abusing a victim who was either physically or mentally incapacitated at the time of the assault, including being drugged, attacked while sleeping, rendered physically helpless, or attacking someone with mental defects.
The age of the victim is also a critical factor in the severity of the charges you could face.
What Is the Sexual Battery Sentence in Florida?
All sexual battery charges in Florida are felonies. The potential sentence you could receive depends on the seriousness of your charges. Your sentencing judge must weigh other factors when handing down a sentence, including but not limited to:
- Your previous criminal history, if any;
- Your age;
- The victim’s age;
- The relationship between you and the victim, if any; and
- The underlying circumstances of the crime.
The judge could consider any other information you offer, such as educational history, work history, family background, and community support.
Sexual battery is a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence is 15 years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine. Aggravated sexual battery is a first-degree felony. The law allows for a 30-year sentence and a $10,000 fine. The crime becomes a life felony if the victim is between 12 and 18 years of age and aggravating factors are present. Finally, a person 18 years old or older who injures the sexual organs of a person 12 or younger commits a capital felony.
What Are the Collateral Consequences of a Sexual Battery Conviction in Florida?
There is a strong likelihood of going to prison after a sexual battery conviction. Additionally, the judge could levy a fine against you, and you might even have to be on probation or under court supervision once you get out of prison. However, you might not realize there are also collateral consequences for a sexual battery conviction.
First—and perhaps most importantly—Florida law requires you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life if you are convicted of sexual battery. You may be able to petition the court to remove that designation after 25 years. However, you have no right to petition the court to remove that designation if the court finds you to be a sexual predator under Florida law.
You may encounter other problems too. Convicted sex offenders often have trouble finding work and a place to live for a number of reasons. Moreover, the judge could further restrict your movements by ordering you to avoid certain places and certain people.
Lastly, there can be immigration issues that result after such a conviction. You can learn the full extent of a conviction on your citizenship status by checking with an experienced immigration or criminal defense attorney.
What Defenses Do I Have for a Sexual Battery Charge in Florida?
Every case is different, and an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer combs through every detail of a case to find the client’s best defense. And although each case is unique, there are common threads in sexual battery cases that lead to some common defenses.
The primary defense in sexual assault cases is consent. In all cases where the victim is an adult, the state has the burden to prove that the alleged victim did not consent. When consent is an issue, you might be able to discredit the complaining witness’s testimony and show the jury that you reasonably thought you had consent.
Mistaken identity is a possible defense as well. If the alleged victim did not know their assailant, there’s always the chance that they were mistaken as to the identity of the perpetrator. This is especially true if there is no forensic evidence identifying you or placing you at the scene of the crime.
Having a highly-experienced and savvy defense lawyer is essential to challenging DNA matches, fingerprint evidence, or other types of forensic evidence. Jurors often cannot see that scientific evidence is fallible. A knowledgeable defense lawyer knows how to explain scientific evidence to a jury and challenge the validity of any damaging forensic test results.
Unfortunately, people face false accusations of sexual assault more often than you might think. And since the stakes are so high, you need a seasoned attorney to protect your rights. A thorough pre-trial defense investigation could uncover other defenses that may apply in your case—including evidence that the alleged victim had a motive to lie.
Call Moses and Rooth Today if You Have Charges that Fall Under the Sexual Battery Definition in Florida
When you are in trouble, you need aggressive criminal defense from highly-experienced trial lawyers. As former prosecutors, the Central Florida defense attorneys from Moses and Rooth have a tremendous amount of trial experience. Contact Moses and Rooth today at 407-531-8694 to find out how we can help.