Per Florida Statute § 794.011, any type of sexual penetration or union committed without the other party’s consent constitutes sexual battery. The nature of the contact need not include intercourse. Non-consensual contact using a foreign object also qualifies for this charge.
The severity of the penalties for this offense depends on a variety of factors, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the parties involved.
What Penalties Might I Face for Sexual Battery in Florida?
Absent aggravating circumstances, sexual battery in Florida carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years, sex offender probation, and up to $10,000 in monetary fines.
No matter what the level of felony charges or criminal penalties may be, an individual convicted of sexual assault in Florida must register as a sex offender. Further, that individual must remain registered for life and comply with all requirements thereof.
A convicted sexual predator cannot ever legally petition for release from these provisions. A convicted sex offender can after 25 years.
What Is Aggravated Sexual Battery in Florida?
When aggravating circumstances accompany this crime, the state may pursue aggravated sexual battery charges.
Aggravating circumstances for sexual battery may include the following:
- The perpetrator was — or the victim believed he was — in a position of authority (e.g., police officer, probation officer, agent of the government, guardian, teacher, or parent)
- The perpetrator coerced the victim by threats of personal harm
- The perpetrator coerced the victim by threats of harm to loved ones
- The perpetrator coerced the victim by threats of future harm or retaliation
- The perpetrator drugged or otherwise incapacitated the victim without the victim’s knowledge or consent
- The victim had a mental defect
- The victim was physically incapacitated (e.g., asleep)
Other categories of aggravated sexual battery include the following:
Sexual Battery With a Deadly Weapon
If someone commits this crime while using (or while threatening to use) a firearm, knife, or any other potentially deadly weapon, the state may pursue this charge.
Sexual Battery on a Child Under 12
Any sexual contact with a child less than 12 years old qualifies for this charge, even if the victim consented to the contact. If the offender is 18 or older, this crime carries capital felony charges, requiring a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Sexual Battery on a Child Between 12 and 18
Sexual contact with a child age 12 to 18 qualifies for this charge. If the offender is 18 or older, this crime carries first-degree felony charges, carrying a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. If the offender is below the age of 18, the charge can be a first- or second-degree felony depending upon whether the offender used “physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury.”
Sexual Battery with Serious Injury
If an individual commits sexual battery in a way that causes significant physical injury — or that may cause significant physical injury — the state may pursue this charge. Offenders face life in prison.
Is Consent a Possible Defense?
It depends. The statutory definition of consent figures heavily into this charge as well.
The statutes define consent as voluntary, knowing, and intelligent agreement to sexual contact. Consent must be current and ongoing and the victim need not physically fight back for the contact to be non-consensual. Coerced submission does not constitute consent in Florida.
In addition, determining whether consent from a minor is valid can be tricky. To learn more about when a minor can consent to sexual contact, read about Florida’s Romeo and Juliet laws here.
Get Help From Goldman Wetzel Today.
If you currently face Florida sexual battery charges, you have the legal right to a lawyer. These serious allegations place your future, your reputation, and your freedom at risk. Do not attempt to fight this battle alone.
Goldman Wetzel provides aggressive legal representation for clients facing sex crimes charges in Florida. We are committed to helping you fight these charges. In many cases, we can negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of charges. And, if necessary, we can mount an aggressive defense in court on your behalf.
Contact Goldman Wetzel today to speak with our Florida sexual battery lawyers: 727-828-3900.