Florida Sex Crimes: What is Sexual Battery?

Under Florida Statute s. 794.011 sexual battery, more commonly known as rape, is defined as follows:

Sexual battery” means 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; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.”

It is a serious charge that needs a proper defense. If you’re charged with sexual battery, failure to secure good legal counsel could impact the rest of your life.

In addition to the basic outline of what sexual battery is, there are certain definitions in the law that have a huge impact on who is tried for this crime. The following are extremely important when it comes to the prosecution of, and the defense against, sexual battery charges.

What is consent?

“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.

The tricky thing about consent is knowing whether consent has been given or not. I have seen cases where the “victim” said she wanted to have sex and then later claimed she did not, then said she did, then did not. The prosecution of these cases seems to depend on such nuanced facts that, often, there is no way to know anyone’s intentions. Certain factors, such as intoxication or age, can also have implications on whether an individual can consent.

What does mentally defective mean?

“Mentally defective” means a mental disease or defect which renders a person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

How is someone to know that someone who they are intimate with is a schizophrenic and will claim that they don’t remember anything but know they would not have had sex with the individual suspected of a crime? At Mike G Law, we have dealt with this exact situation, and after a long dragged out fight, we achieved a dismissal of charges.

What does mentally incapacitated mean?

“Mentally incapacitated” means temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.”

What does physically helpless mean?

“Physically helpless” means unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

What does physically incapacitated mean?

“Physically incapacitated” means bodily impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in ability to resist or flee.

Proving Sexual Battery in Florida

What does the State of Florida have to show to prove sexual battery?

To prove sexual battery in Florida, the state prosecutor must show beyond all reasonable doubt that:

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

2) There was no consent to the sex act. If the victim is under 12 years of age there is a presumption of lack of consent.

A defendant will face aggravated charges and the possiblity of an enhanced sentence if the victim was coerced threatened, or physically incapacitated or if they are mentally ill.

What Is the Sentence for Sexual Battery?

If convicted of sexual battery, one’s sentence depends on the specific facts of the case. This chart gives a general guideline as to what the maximum sentences are for particular situations. The actual sentence depends on the sentencing guideline scoresheet, which will include additional enhancements for sexual penetration, sexual contact, and injury, as well as for a prior record.

Facts of the CaseDegree of Felony CrimeMaximum Sentence
The victim was age 18 years old or older and there were no aggravating factors.Second Degree 15 years in state prison 
Sexual battery with aggravated factorsFirst Degree 30 years in state prison 
Sexual Battery with a deadly weapon on a child 12 years old or olderLife FelonyLife imprisonment
Sexual Battery on a child 12 to 17 years oldFirst Degree 30 years in state prison 
Sexual Battery on a child under 12Life FelonyLife in state prison with no chance of early release

 

Those convicted of sexual battery generally must register as a sex offender. This means that, if convicted, this one act may follow you around for the rest of your life. However, with a good defense or with the possibility of a plea bargain, you may be able to protect your future.

Do You Always Go to Prison if You’re Convicted of Sexual Battery?

No. I have had many cases where a client charged with sexual battery avoided prison entirely even though he may have been guilty of the offense. Often, the state will enter into plea negotiations because they want to avoid a trial for one of a number of reasons. 

For example, if the prosecutor feels their victim will not make a good victim or if the victim’s family does not want to see the defendant go to prison, a prosecutor may cut a deal in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty. 

At Mike G Law, we have handled cases where there was abundant evidence of guilt but because we brought other factors to the attention of the prosecutor, the victim’s family, and the court, our client was able to avoid a prison sentence. Some of these factors may include the age of the defendant, the degree to which the alleged victim participated willingly, and the defendant’s lack of prior criminal history. Plus, sometimes people just do not want to be responsible for sending someone to prison because they have had problems with the law and they personally know that prison often solves nothing.  

Are There Any Defenses to Sexual Battery?

The main way to defend against a sexual battery charge in the state of Florida is to show consent on the part of the alleged victim. That is, the alleged victim gave consent to the act now claimed to be a crime. 

At Mike G Law we represent many people who have been charged with sex crimes because of buyer’s remorse. Basically, a woman has sex with a man and now she does not like him and may be embarrassed by the fact that she slept with him so she cries rape. She gets tons of attention and sympathy and called a hero for standing up to a bad guy. I have seen this pattern over and over again. 

By the time many clients call us, terrified that they are going to jail, it may be too late to stop an arrest. However, it’s not too late to bring those charges to a halt. 

What will we do at Mike G Law

  1. We will immediately contact law enforcement and let them know that they are not permitted to speak to our client.
  2. We will oppose any attempt on their part to obtain evidence. 
  3. We will interview witnesses and create affidavits to memorialize their statements. 
  4. We will retain investigators and other experts to establish that our client is 100% innocent of all charges. We are experts at getting to the truth. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to proving the improper motives of an accuser.