Rape, referred to as sexual battery in the Florida statutes, is one of the most diligently prosecuted types of crimes. A rape conviction means harsh punishments that include imprisonment, fines, and loss of certain civil liberties.

And because of the sensitive nature of sexual battery, officials and the public tend to believe the alleged victims’ sides of the story above the defendants’. This makes it even more important to secure a tough attorney who can ensure your rights are upheld and help you build a solid defense.

If you have been accused of rape, contact the rape and sexual battery lawyers in Bradenton at Goldman Wetzel. We can protect your rights, defend against the charges, and push for the best possible outcome. Call us today at 941-405-5193 for assistance.

What Does the State of Florida Consider Rape?

Many people mistakenly believe that there must be vaginal penetration or forcible violence to constitute rape. Not so. In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation removed the term “forcible” from the offense title and definition. The Bureau now defines rape as, “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Florida law provides a similar broad definition. Florida Statute § 794.011(1)(h) defines sexual battery as, “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.”

What Kinds of Sexual Battery Cases Does Goldman Wetzel Accept?

Our defense lawyers have the investigatory skills, attention to detail, and determination it takes to effectively tackle any type of sexual assault case. We have represented clients throughout Florida charged with serious felonies in both state and federal court.

Some of the most common forms of sex crime charges we manage involve:

  • Sexual battery;
  • Date and acquaintance rape;
  • Spousal or partner rape;
  • Internet solicitation;
  • Traveling to meet a minor;
  • Sexual battery with a mentally or physically incapacitated victim;
  • Sexual performance by a minor; and
  • Sex charges involving children.

What are the Penalties for Sexual Battery in Florida?

The potential penalties for rape depend on several factors, including the age of the defendant, the age of the victim, and whether there were any aggravating circumstances.

Simple sexual battery, i.e., the defendant and victim are both adults and there were no aggravating circumstances, is a second-degree felony. If the defendant was a minor and the victim was age 12 or older, the state also considers the offense as a second-degree felony. This offense is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

There are several instances in which the state will escalate rape charges to a first-degree felony:

  • When the victim (regardless of age) was “physically helpless” and the defendant was an adult;
  • When an adult defendant did “not use force and violence likely to cause personal injury” on a victim;
  • A defendant engages in any act that constitutes sexual battery with a victim 12 years or older but younger than 18.

When you work with our team at Goldman Wetzel, we will carefully review your case and explain in no-nonsense terms what penalties you are facing and how we may be able to help. Call us today at 941-405-5193 for a free consultation with a rape defense attorney that handles cases in Bradenton.

What Defenses Are Available for Rape Charges?

The state of Florida accepts various defenses in sexual battery cases. The defense tactics most plausible for you depend on the set of events and evidence surrounding your particular case. Examples of defenses to rape include:

  • The act was consensual.
  • Mistaken identity (i.e., the victim accused the wrong person).
  • False accusations: the victim falsely accused you and she had motive to fabricate the story, e.g., a divorce case.
  • The alleged act was impossible, e.g., medically determinable impotence.
  • Law enforcement violated procedure, tampered with evidence, or otherwise violated your constitutional rights.
  • You did not commit the crime and had an alibi.
  • You lacked mental capabilities or experienced temporary insanity at the time of the act.

How Can Goldman Wetzel Help with My Rape Case in Bradenton?

Our attorneys at Goldman Wetzel have over 30 years of experience, both in prosecution and defense. We know how the state develops its cases and where to look for weaknesses. Throughout the years, we have stockpiled legal aptitudes and defense strategies that have proven extremely effective, from negotiations to litigation.

When you work with our team, you can expect the legal representation and counsel you need when facing serious charges like sexual battery. If you enlist our help early on, we may be able to provide information to the state or court that causes the prosecution or judge to drop your case. In other situations, we may work towards a plea bargain, file motions to suppress evidence, or begin preparing supportive evidence for trial.

Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel work in tandem on each case we accept, giving our clients balanced, effective defense. We will advocate for your best interests each step of the way, from initial contact with law enforcement until the case closes. Contact our office today to learn more about how we may be of service.

I Have Been Accused of Rape. What Do I Do Now?

If you have been accused of or indicted for sexual battery, do not speak freely with investigators until you have spoken with an attorney. (If you do not have a lawyer, call our office and the attendant will patch you through to one.) You might inadvertently say something that could damage your case — even in cases of true innocence.

Our criminal attorneys will quickly review the facts of your case and inform you of the best way to move forward. Call 941-405-5193 and speak to a sexual battery defense attorney in Bradenton today, free of charge.

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