There is very little in Florida’s criminal code considered more serious than a charge for sexual battery. Each criminal attorney at They Mayberry Law Firm has extensive experience in representing those accused of sex crime charges. Because Florida uses different terminology than many states when referring to this type of criminal conduct, to better explain, one could say that a sexual battery in Florida is the same as rape in many other states. The very nature of this charge and the victims involved cause it to be one of the most fiercely prosecuted crimes in our legal system regardless of whether the charge is at the State or Federal level. A charge of sexual battery in Florida is full of “if this, then that” scenarios and penalties. Florida’s sexual battery statute considers largely the age of the parties involved, injury to the victim, the mental capacity of the victim and the use and extent of physical force. Each of these factors dictates the potential penalty involved. A sexual battery charge literally is as serious as it gets. If you’ve been charged with sexual battery there is nothing more important than hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights.
Florida Statute 794.011 defines sexual battery as orally, anally, or vaginally penetrating, or having union with, the sexual organ of another. Sexual battery also encompasses anally or vaginally penetrating another with any other object. Unlike other sex crimes, in Florida to maintain a charge of sexual battery the State Attorney must prove there was a penetration or union between the victim and the defendant without the victim’s consent.
Lack of consent can be a situation where a person has no mental issues but is physically forced to comply with the sexual battery. Consent can also be an issue when dealing with an individual who may be “mentally defective” or “mentally incapacitated” and cannot legally consent to the sexual act. One who is “mentally defective” has a mental disease or defect causing them to be temporarily or permanently unable to understand the nature of their conduct, therefor incapable of consenting. Under Florida Statute 794.11(1)(c) mental incapacitation simply means that one is temporarily unable to control or understand one’s own conduct due to the influence of an intoxicating substance. The date rape drug gamma hydroxybutyric (GHB) is often the cause of mental incapacitation in sexual battery allegations. In cases where the violent use of physical force is not present, the State Attorney will try to show the alleged victim suffered from a mental defect or was mentally incapacitated and thus could not consent to sexual activity. Conversely, a criminal lawyer would likely utilize expert testimony to impact the credibility of the State Attorney’s mental defect or incapacitation claim.
Penalties for sexual battery are based primarily on the ages of the parties involved and the amount, if any, of physical force used. The most serious of all sexual battery crimes involves a defendant over the age of 18 committing a sexual battery on a victim under the age of 12, or while attempting to do so injures the sex organs of the victim. Scenarios like this are capital charges, punishable by death or life in imprisonment in addition to sexual predator status. A person under the age of 18 committing the same exact crime faces a life felony with the potential of life imprisonment. A sexual battery committed upon a person 12 years old or older, using a deadly weapon or physical force commits a life felony. A sexual battery on a person 12 years old or older using coercion, when the victim is physically helpless, uses a narcotic to intoxicate the victim, or the victim is mentally defective commits a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Lastly, a sexual battery on a person 12 years old or older without the use of force and violence likely to cause injury, commits a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Short of murder, sexual battery is the most serious of all crimes in Florida. Not only is an individual looking at serious prison time, whether a formal conviction of a sexual battery is imposed or not, the individual will have to register with the State as a sex offender or sexual predator. If you or a loved one is facing sexual battery charges, call the sexual battery attorneys at The Mayberry Law Firm first at 813-444-7435.