Rape, or “sexual battery” as Florida statutes refer to it, is a serious offense that the state diligently prosecutes. A conviction for a sex crime in Florida can cost you thousands and put you in jail for life. If you have been accused of a sex crime, call the rape and sexual battery lawyers in Tampa at Goldman Wetzel. We will advise you of your options and create a plan of action to defend your best interests.

Contact us at 888-727-4652 for a free consultation.

 

What Constitutes Sexual Battery?

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.”

For the prosecution to prove rape, it must establish the following two elements:

1) The defendant either penetrated the alleged victim orally, anally, or vaginally with a sexual organ or another object, or the defendant engaged in a union between his sexual organ and the alleged victim’s mouth, anus, or vagina; and

2) The alleged victim did not consent to the sexual act. (If the victim was under 12, the state presumes lack of consent.)

If aggravating circumstances are involved, e.g., the victim was coerced, threatened, mentally ill, or physically incapacitated, the state will elevate the charge to “aggravated sexual battery,” which carries greater penalties.

 

What Penalties Do I Face if Convicted of Rape?

Penalties for sexual battery depend on several factors, including the age of the victim, the age of the defendant, and whether aggravating circumstances were involved. Below is a general outline of potential penalties for rape in Florida:

Factors

Category

Penalties

The victim was age 18 or older and there were no aggravating circumstances.

Second-degree felony

Up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Sexual battery with aggravating circumstances

First-degree felony

Up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

Sexual battery with a deadly weapon on a victim 12 or older

Life felony

Life imprisonment

The victim was 12 to 17 years old

First-degree felony

Up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

The victim was 11 or under

Capital felony

Death or life imprisonment

Moreover, a conviction of sexual battery means inclusion on the sexual offender/predator registry, a label the offender will have to carry for the remainder of his life.

 

What Defenses to Sexual Battery Are Available?

There are numerous circumstances under which someone may bring rape charges. It may stem from a misunderstanding or even a vengeful ex. Whatever the case, there are valid defenses we may be able to use to fight the charges. The primary defenses to sexual battery in Florida are:

  1. Consent: The victim consented to the act. (Affirmative defense)
  2. Mistaken identity: The victim wrongly identified you as the perpetrator. (Negative defense)
  3. False allegations: The victim fabricated the story and had motive to do so. (Negative defense)
  4. Insanity: You had a mental condition or defect that caused you to commit the act. (Affirmative defense)

Each case is different. We will review your particular circumstances and determine the best defense strategy. This may mean presenting pre-trial evidence that results in a dismissal, negotiating a plea bargain, or fighting for reduced charges.

Our team will explore all angles. Does the accuser have a motive to file charges? Does she have a history of rape allegations? Could she have you confused with someone else? We will comb through your file and look for holes or inconsistencies in the state’s case, as well as any errors, constitutional infringements, or tampering with evidence.

 

Can Goldman Wetzel Help Me Fight Rape Charges in Tampa?

Yes. Our attorneys at Goldman Wetzel have successfully defended numerous clients throughout Florida who have been charged with sexual battery and other sex crimes. As a former prosecutor, attorney Summer Goldman understands how the prosecution team thinks, how they approach rape cases, and how to find weaknesses in their evidence. As a career criminal defense attorney, Maribeth Wetzel knows how to zero in on the most hard-hitting evidence and build solid defenses.

Unlike other firms, at Goldman Wetzel, our attorneys work together on each case we manage, enabling us to provide the most well-rounded, effective defense possible to our clients. Even though the criminal justice system holds that defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the fact of the matter is that the authorities often believe alleged rape victims over defendants. When you enlist our help, we will bring your side of the story to light and ensure you get the fair hearing you deserve.

 

Talk to Our Sexual Battery Defense Lawyers in Tampa Today.

We know how alarming and damaging sexual battery charges can be to you and your family — and we are here to help protect your rights and fight for your best interests. The sooner you contact us, the more legal options we may have and the more time we will have to strengthen your case. Contact Goldman Wetzel today to speak to our rape defense attorneys in Tampa: 888-727-4652.