Florida Sexual Assault Law

According to Florida Statute Chapter 775.082, sexual assault is also referred to as sexual battery and is defined as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of another without that person’s consent. The severity of a sexual assault charge depends largely on the ages of the victim and the alleged perpetrator. For instance, a person can be charged with a life felony if he or she is a minor under the age of 18 years old and commits sexual battery against someone aged 12 or younger, while anyone over the age of 18 years old who commits a sexual assault against a minor under the age of 12 years old can be charged with a capital felony, which is punishable by life in prison or death. Finally, anyone over the age of 18 years old who sexually assaults a minor over the age of 12 years old can be convicted of a first-degree felony.

Statute Chapter 794.011 – Determining Factors

According to Florida Statute Chapter 794.011, when determining how a person will be charged, prosecutors also take certain factors into consideration, including whether:
  • The victim was physically unable to resist
  • The alleged offender coerced the victim to submit by threatening to use force or to retaliate against him or her or someone else
  • The offender administered a narcotic or other intoxicating substance to the victim in an effort to mentally or physically incapacitate him or her
  • The victim had a mental defect
  • The victim was physically incapacitated
  • The offender was a law enforcement officer or an elected official
If a jury finds that any of the above circumstances existed at the time of the alleged assault, the defendant could face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, if an individual did not use violence or physical force during an assault, the offense may be downgraded to a first or second-degree felony.

Possible Defenses

There are a number of defenses that someone who has been charged with sexual assault can raise, including that:
  • The alleged victim was not a minor and had the mental capacity to knowingly consent to the sexual encounter
  • Mistaken identity
  • False allegations

All Evidence Must Be Considered

A solid defense will also require a thorough examination of all physical and electronic evidence, including:
  • Fibers and fingerprints found at the scene of the crime or on the clothing of the defendant and victim
  • Medical records
  • Toxicological reports
  • Phone and computer records
Evaluating all physical and electronic evidence related to the charge can make all the difference in the outcome of a case.
Newsweek Super Lawyers BBB Avvo The National Trials Lawyers