Rape, also referred to as sexual battery, is a serious felony crime in Florida, punishable by up to life imprisonment. Given the sensitive nature of sexual violence-related cases, prosecutors have a strong motivation to believe the alleged victims’ testimonies over the accused’s testimonies and to seek a conviction. This makes it very tough for defendants to get their side of story across to the court. Defendants must have a strong, evidence-rich defense to successfully fight rape charges and escape undue punishment.

At Goldman Wetzel, we understand that innocent people can find themselves facing sexual battery charges, often after a relationship goes sour or an ex presses charges as a means of retaliation. There are numerous viable defenses we can use to fight your case. If you are facing accusations of rape, do not submit to questioning without having spoken with an attorney first. Tell the investigators you want to have your lawyer present before answering any questions.

Then call our office at 727-828-3900 to speak to a rape and sexual battery lawyer in Pinellas County for a free consultation. We can explain your next steps.

How Does Florida Define Sexual Battery?

Florida Statutes use the term “sexual battery” in lieu of rape. Fl. St. 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.”

At Goldman Wetzel, our team of attorneys can defend against various types of rape charges, including:

How Can I Fight Rape Charges?

Unfortunately, false or exaggerated accusations of rape occur. False complaints may spring from things such as jealousy, manipulation, affairs, spite, and mental illness of the victim. If you are facing accusations of sexual battery, speak to one of the lawyers at Goldman Wetzel straightaway about your case. We may be able to bring evidence to light early on that convinces the state to avoid filing formal charges altogether.

If the prosecution has already filed charges, we will spring into action, begin collecting information, and discuss your defense options with you. Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel will work together on your case, developing an effective defense strategy for your particular circumstances.

There are various ways to approach a sexual battery case. We may try to get the case dropped or negotiate a plea bargain for lesser charges with the prosecutor. When that is not possible, we can thoroughly prepare your case for trial, attempt to find and expose flaws or weaknesses in the state’s case, and offer a well-founded defense in court. Below are a few examples of the available defenses for rape cases in Florida:

  • Wrong identity, if the alleged victim wrongly identified you as the culprit;
  • False accusations, if the victim falsely accused you and had motivation to fabricate the story;
  • Alibi, if you had a viable alibi at the time of the alleged attack;
  • Consent, if the sexual act was consensual;
  • Mental incapacity, if you had diminished mental capacity or were temporarily insane;
  • Violation of Constitutional rights, if law enforcement violated your rights during or following the arrest; and
  • Medical condition, if you have a medical condition, such as erectile dysfunction, that makes the alleged act impossible.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Sexual Battery in Pinellas County?

While the penalties for rape depend on the age of the victim and whether there were any aggravating circumstances, offenders generally face felony charges.

If the victim was age 18 or older and the defendant did not use physical force or violence, the crime is a second-degree felony. This charge carries up to 15 years in prison. If the victim was age 12 to 17, the crime becomes a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If the victim was under age 12, it becomes a life or capital felony, punishable by life imprisonment.

In addition to incarceration, a conviction will also mean large fines and a court-mandate to comply with sexual offender and predator registration laws for the rest of the defendant’s life. This designation comes with not only an embarrassing social stigma, but it can thwart various areas of your life, including your career, education, marriage, child custody case, or ability to rent a home.

If your case involved any of the following aggravating circumstances, the state will automatically escalate the charges and penalties:

  • The offender used a deadly weapon;
  • The victim was physically incapacitated;
  • The victim was helpless to resist;
  • The offender threatened to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury;
  • The offender coerced the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate;
  • The offender gave the victim an intoxicating substance that is mentally or physically incapacitating;
  • The victim is mentally defective or physically incapacitated; or
  • The offender was a correctional officer, law enforcement officer, or correctional probation officer.

Can Goldman Wetzel Help With My Sexual Battery Case?

Yes. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience representing people charged with all types of crimes, including sexual battery, child molestation, and aggravated rape.

Even in cases of absolute innocence, your charges will not disappear if you do nothing. You need a defense attorney you can count on to advocate for your best interests until the case concludes. At Goldman Wetzel, we can provide the aggressive, articulate, effective representation you need during the criminal process. When you work with us, we will:

  • Negotiate with the state, when appropriate;
  • Work with an investigator to comb through the state’s case and victim’s statement for inconsistencies;
  • Scrutinize the DNA evidence to determine if the collection and analysis procedures were correct;
  • Address any ulterior motives the victim may have had;
  • Gather character witnesses and other supportive evidence;
  • Protect your rights during the process;
  • Present your side of the story in the best possible light; and
  • Push for a dismissal, acquittal, or mitigated penalties.

Call 727-828-3900 to Talk to a Sexual Battery Defense Lawyer in Pinellas County Today.

Get the legal help you need to fight sexual battery charges head-on. Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900 and speak to a rape defense lawyer in Pinellas County.

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