If someone accuses you of rape you are obviously facing an extremely serious situation. In Florida, that accusation is referred to as “sexual battery.”
A conviction for this kind of charge can and likely would ruin your life. So, if you have been accused of “rape,” or “sexual battery” you need to fight back with the strongest defense strategy possible.
You also need to understand the law itself. Below you’ll find information about sexual battery in Florida, and what options are available to you to protect your rights.
Overview of Sexual Battery
If a sexual battery case goes to trial, the prosecutor must prove two things to secure a conviction:
- That the defendant engaged in oral, anal, or vaginal penetration or union with the victim using any object, and
- That the victim was unable or unwilling to give consent.
If the prosecutor is unable to prove either of these two things, will not be convicted. The exception to this rule is that prosecutors do not have to prove a lack of consent if the victim is under the age of 12.
Florida Sexual Battery Penalties
Your charges and penalties will be based on the age of the victim and the particular circumstances surrounding the incident, such as whether any weapons were used, or other factors.
If you are 18 or older and you are accused of committing sexual battery on someone who is also 18 or older, you will, at a minimum, be charged with a second degree felony.
However, various factors such as claims that the alleged victim was helpless to resist, or is mentally defective, or it is claimed that you used or threatened to use t force upon resistance, or you used a drug to cause the alleged victim to become intoxicated prior to the act, and others, will cause you to be charged with a first degree sexual battery felony.
When sexual battery on a victim under the age of 12 by someone 18 or older is alleged, it is considered a capital felony. This offense is punishable by life in prison, and those convicted must serve at least 25 years of their sentence before they become eligible for release from prison. If physical force or a deadly weapon was used by the defendant during the time of the alleged crime, the offense can be punishable as a life felony. The only ways to avoid this penalty is to be acquitted at trial or through negotiating a deal causing the charges to be reduced, dropped or dismissed.
What Is and Isn’t a Defense against Sexual Battery Charges?
There are a number of defense strategies that may make sense for your case. Two of the most common include arguing that consent really was given or that someone else committed the crime. There are a couple of defenses that the state of Florida has categorically barred, however:
- The defense may not introduce any evidence regarding the victim’s prior sexual history or behaviors.
- In cases where the victim is underage, the defendant cannot use the defense that he or she did not know the victim’s age prior to sexual conduct.
So how do you know which defense is best for you? The only way to find out for sure is to sit down with a Florida sexual battery attorney. You want someone with a history of helping clients just like you in similar situations. He or she will be able to look at the facts of your case and craft a unique strategy.
Get in contact with an experienced criminal defense lawyer today, because the earlier on in the process they begin building your defense, the more likely you are to receive a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.