Sexual battery, the term Florida laws use for rape, is one of the most serious types of crimes, prosecuted as a major felony offense. Not all rape allegations arise from facts, though. Sometimes the accusers exaggerate their claims, misidentify the perpetrator, or even fabricate their story for ulterior motives. And because Florida extended the statute of limitations for sexual battery in 2015, defendants can find themselves facing rape charges up to eight years after the alleged incident.

No matter the details, if you have been accused of rape, you must have a viable strategy to effectively defend yourself. Our sexual battery lawyers in Sarasota can help. We have the resources, know-how, and tenacity to assist with even the most challenging sex crime cases. Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 941-405-5193 to discuss your case.

How Does Florida Law Define Rape?

In Chapter 794, Florida Statues refer to rape as sexual battery and define it as non-consensual “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.”

There are various kinds of situations in which rape charges can come about. Our defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel can assist with any type of sexual battery case, including:

  • Spousal rape;
  • Sexual battery involving relatives;
  • Workplace sexual battery;
  • Date rape;
  • Sexual battery against minors;
  • Juvenile sexual battery;
  • Sexual battery with a deadly weapon; and
  • Aggravated rape.

What Challenges Do Defendants Charged with Rape Face?

Sexual battery is a sensitive, emotionally charged offense, making it challenging for defendants to have a truly fair opportunity to present their side of the story. Moreover, evidence can be scarce in cases of this nature, frequently boiling down to a matter of “He said, she said,” and further complicating issues.

Authorities and the public also seem to have a bias against defendants accused of rape, and prematurely side with accusers before the accused even have a chance to defend themselves. In some cases, despite mounting evidence that contradicts a rape accusation, law enforcement officers and investigators still rush to judgment, which results in a less-than-objective investigation process.

Our aggressive criminal defense team can help overcome these challenges. We will protect your rights, present your case in a positive light, and work to vindicate you.

What Penalties Can the State Impose for Sexual Battery?

The penalties for rape depend on a number of factors, including the age of the victim, the age of the defendant, and whether there were aggravating circumstances involved. Sexual battery charges are sometimes coupled with other charges, such as lewd and lascivious battery, possession of rohypnol, or kidnapping, which significantly increase the punishments.

Below are examples of potential penalties for sexual battery offenses.

Offense

Age of Parties

Category

Penalties

Sexual battery without injury-inducing physical force and violence

Both 18 or older

Second-degree felony

15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Juvenile sexual battery without injury-inducing physical force and violence

Defendant: <18

Victim: 12 or older

Second-degree felony

15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Sexual battery on a minor

Defendant:18 or older

Victim: 12 to 17

First-degree felony

Up to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine

Sexual battery on with force/violence or on a person who is helpless to resist, mentally defective, or physically incapacitated

Both age 18 or older

First-degree felony

30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Sexual battery on a child

Defendant: 18 or older

Victim: <12

Capital felony

Up to life imprisonment or the death penalty

Sexual battery with a deadly weapon

Victim: 12 or older

Life felony

40 years in prison and a $15,000 fine

In addition to imprisonment, probation, and fines, a rape conviction will also mean lifetime mandatory inclusion on the Sex Offender Registry and compliance with reporting rules. This is a notable burden to bear, a damaging label that follows you for years to come.

What Are the Defenses to Sexual Battery?

Neither the victim’s sexual history/promiscuity nor prior consensual relations between the victim and defendant are potential defenses for rape. However, there are several types of defenses available to sexual battery charges, the most common of which are:

  • False accusations
  • Mistaken identity
  • The other party consented to the act

Note: To use consent as a defense, the victim must have been of right mind to wittingly consent. Florida Statute § 794.011(1)(a) specifies that consent means “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. ‘Consent’ shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.”

When you work with our defense firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the event and begin building a defense strategy for your case. As we dissect the prosecutor’s case, we will look for shortcomings and inconsistencies to bring to light and preserve favorable evidence.

Can Goldman Wetzel Help Me Fight Sexual Battery Charges in Sarasota?

Yes. Our attorneys have over three decades of combined experience helping people through the criminal justice system in both federal and state jurisdictions. We accept all types of serious felony cases in Sarasota and throughout Florida, including sexual battery.

Contact us to discuss your charges and to see if your case is a good match for our firm. After reviewing the facts, we will explain the next steps if you wish to retain us. Then, we will spring into action and begin developing a defense strategy. This may mean showing evidence that sways the prosecutor to not pursue the case, negotiating a plea deal, or working on pretrial preparations to present a staunch defense in court.

With your future and freedom on the line, the sooner we can begin working on your case, the better. Call us at 941-405-5193 to speak with our Sarasota sexual battery defense lawyers today.

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