Florida Rape Laws: How to Protect Yourself Legally
Being charged with rape can ruin your life. Even if you’re found not guilty, people may treat you differently. Case in point: Kobe Bryant. Talk of his untimely death in a helicopter accident inevitably led to a rehashing of rape charges stemming from a 2003 allegation. The case was dropped because the alleged victim refused to testify. He was never tried for sexual assault (though he did settle a civil lawsuit with the alleged victim), however, he was quickly labeled a rapist. Even after his death, there are plenty of articles about the alleged crime despite the case being dropped. And that’s a man with millions in the bank. How can a regular Joe fight rape charges?
Rape, or sexual battery, is a serious crime and it is punished harshly in Florida. The insinuation of rape can leave a mark on a stellar reputation and charges can have life-long repercussions. Here’s what you need to know about what’s considered rape in Florida, how this crime is punished, and how to fight against sexual battery charges.
What is Considered Rape in Florida?
Rape is the penetration of the vagina or anus of a non-consenting individual. Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators.
The main aspect of rape as a crime is the issue of consent. The expectation is that willing adults must consent to sexual activity. If they do not consent to sexual activity, or if they are unable to consent because they’re drunk, on drugs, or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, then the act is considered rape or sexual battery under Florida law.
In Florida, Statute 794.04 defines sexual activity between a person 24 years old or older and an individual 16 or 17 years old as a second-degree felony. Sexual activity, in this context, includes oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse or penetration.
Statutory rape also includes cases where both parties are minors and where one individual is considered unable to consent because of a mental disability or defect or because of physical or mental incapacitation.
What is the Punishment for Rape in Florida?
How rape is punished depends on three variables: the age of the victim, whether a weapon was involved, and whether the assault resulted in injuries.
Rape is a second-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of sex offender probation, and up to a $10,000 fine. The minimum sentence for this crime is 7 ¾ years in prison and two years of sex offender probation.
If a weapon is used, a defendant may be charged with aggravated sexual battery, which is a first-degree felony. This type of felony can result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years, sex offender probation for 30 years, and a $10,000 fine. Alternatively, they may be charged with sexual battery with a deadly weapon, which is a life felony and can result in life in prison.
If the victim is of an aggravated sexual battery is between 12 and 18 years old, the charge is a life felony that can result in life in prison if convicted.
Capital sexual battery occurs when the victim is under the age of 12 and can result in life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Clearly, Florida laws on rape do not see all rape cases as equal (nor should they). The particulars are crucial for determining the exact charges and the punishments upon conviction. For more insight into how this may affect your case, contact Mike G Law today.
How Do Florida Rape Laws Protect Me?
Florida rape laws are fairly one-sided. When someone is accused of rape, the only major defense they have is to prove voluntary consent. If a person consents to sex, then they are willingly participating in the act. If not, then it is considered rape. If consent is given before sex begins, but not during, that is still rape.
As you can imagine, proving consent can be difficult and often results in “he-said-she-said” sorts of testimony. A defense lawyer may rely on witness testimony, texts, emails, and more show that there was a relationship or that consent was implied.
If you are charged with rape, there are few things you can do to protect yourself in a courtroom, especially if you’re stuck with a court-appointed lawyer with too much on his plate. The best thing you can do is to hire a lawyer who knows sexual rape cases well and can help you get the best outcome possible.
What Do Rape Charges Mean for Jobs, Life, Etc.?
If you’re convicted of rape, you may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This makes life much harder. Not only do you have to regularly report to an officer, but you lose some freedoms for the rest of your life. You may not be able to live in certain areas, may face difficulty in finding a job, and may not be able to enroll in college. Thanks to the internet, people will easily be able to find out about the charges, even if you’re found not guilty.
To lessen the impact of charges, it’s important to get a skilled lawyer on your side—and not just any lawyer, but an expert on rape cases in Florida and the laws that might put you behind bars.
Charged with Rape? Call Mike G Law
There’s no time to waste after a rape charge. The legal system in Florida works quickly to convict and prosecute those accused of rape. Legal representation is the only way to make sure you are protected.
As a former sex crimes prosecutor, Mike G has years of experience working with these sorts of cases. He now works even harder to help protect the rights of the accused. As a prosecutor, he saw how defendants were railroaded by overzealous prosecutors’ intent on a high conviction rate. Now, he strives to give his clients the best defense as they fight for their futures.
Don’t let your reputation be tainted, get help and fight your charges with a skilled Tampa defense attorney. Call Mike G Law today.