Florida Sex Crimes: What is Sexual Battery?

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A sexual criminal offense includes, but is not limited to: sexual battery, sexual penetration, sexual assault, rape, or any type of sexual contact without the will of another person. Sexual battery offenses may lead to a felony sexual battery criminal arrest or a lesser sexual battery case. In addition, a person convicted of sexual battery in Florida or another jurisdiction has to enter the sex offender registration program, which will affect the rest of this person’s future life and freedom.

While the term “sexual battery” refers to any type of criminal sexual gratification in most states, 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.”

Whether it is a sexual battery, sexual abuse, or sexual assault charge, it may bring up aggravating circumstances in which you may face serious sexual battery charges that require a proper criminal defense attorney. Failure to secure a good legal authority figure or criminal defense lawyer could impact the rest of your life, and you may be charged as a sex offender and possibly face a prison sentence. If you are facing a sexual battery allegation, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight against sex crime false accusations.

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.

“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 sexual intercourse and then later claimed she did not, then said she did, then did not. The prosecution of these sex crime 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 the other person’s consent was voluntary.

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.

Nobody knows whether the person they are intimate with has a mental condition, such as schizophrenia, and whether they will claim that they do not remember anything or did not give consent to sexual intercourse 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 the sexual battery charges for multiple clients.

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:

  • The accused perpetuated a contact of sexual nature, or criminal sexual penetration in the intimate part of a sexual battery of 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 aggravating factors.
  • There was no consent to sexual contact of an intimate part, sexual act, or sexual activity. If the victim is under 12 years of age there is a presumption of lack of consent, and usually consider to be a sex crime.
  • There were some aggravating factors that nearly led to sexual arousal, such as: the sexual gratification of another person touching the victim’s bare skin without consent, forcing another person to enter physical contact, or even involve in a criminal sexual penetration without a will.

A defendant convicted of a sexual battery may face aggravated sexual battery charges—either a misdemeanor or a felony, due to the state’s sentencing guidelines. There is also a possibility of an enhanced sentence if the victim was coerced, threatened, physically incapacitated, or if they are mentally ill.

What Is the Sentence for Sexual Battery?

If convicted as a sex offender of sexual battery, sexual abuse, or sexual assault, one’s sentence depends on the specific facts of the case and the intimate part of the sexual nature. If the victim unwillingly suffered great bodily harm for the purpose of sexual arousal, the state prison sentence can be longer than any other based on sexual assault laws of the criminal justice system. 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 with no aggravating factorsSecond Degree15 years in state prison
Sexual Battery with aggravated factorsFirst Degree30 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 Degree30 years in state prison
Sexual Battery on a child under 12Life FelonyLife in state prison with no chance of early release

Those convicted of a sexual battery or sexual assault generally must register as sex offenders in Florida’s sex offender registry. This means that, if convicted, this one act may follow you around for the rest of your life, and you may go to prison. However, with a good criminal defense attorney 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 a sexual battery or sexual assault conviction avoided prison entirely even though they may have been guilty of the sexual 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 clients charged with sexual battery 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 misdemeanor sexual battery 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 personal problems with the law and they personally know that prison often solves nothing.  

Are There Any Defenses to Sexual Contact, Sexual Battery, or Sexual Assault?

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 sex crime. 

At Mike G Law we provide an attorney-client relationship to represent many people who have been charged with sex crimes due to the change of a person’s consent or the slightest form of confusion regarding the intimate parts of the other person’s consent. Basically, both parties should have a person’s consent in order to avoid a sexual battery, sexual abuse, or sexual assault charge. I have seen this pattern over and over again, where people are unlawfully restrained and where people abuse sexual battery laws by calling a police officer and accusing the alleged offender of physical harm or assault with a deadly weapon.

By the time many clients call us, terrified that they are going to jail for sexual battery, 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?  

  • We will immediately contact law enforcement and let them know that they are not permitted to speak to our client.
  • We will oppose any attempt on their part to obtain evidence. 
  • We will interview witnesses and create affidavits to memorialize their statements. 
  • 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.

Mike G Law offers a free consultation to anyone who faces a sexual battery offense. Don’t roll the dice of your life, contact a former prosecutor with more than 25 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney today.

Let Mike G Help Protect Your Rights

The decisions you make after you have been arrested can determine the outcome of your case — and possibly your life. Call Mike G Law at 813-221-4303, or contact me online.

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