Sexual BatterySexual battery, which is more commonly referred to as rape, is one of the most serious sex offenses in Florida and is both aggressively investigated and prosecuted. For this reason alone it is critical that Florida residents have a solid understanding of the state’s consent laws.
What Qualifies as Sexual Battery?Under state statute 794.011, sexual battery occurs when a person has non-consensual oral, vaginal, or anal contact with someone else using their sexual organ or another object. There are also a variety of enhanced forms of sexual battery in Florida. For example, when a sexual battery involved aggravating circumstances, the defendant’s charge could be increased to an aggravated sexual battery. Aggravating circumstances include the following:
- The victim was physically unable to resist because he or she was unconscious, asleep, or otherwise physically unable to communicate an unwillingness to participate in a sexual act
- The victim was coerced into submission by threats of violence and the victim reasonably believed that the defendant had the ability to follow through on those threats
- The victim was coerced into submission by threats of retaliation against the victim and his or her family, which could include threats of future physical violence, extortion, kidnapping, or forcible confinement
- The victim was unknowingly drugged with a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicant, which caused him or her to become mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to appraise or control his or her own conduct
- The victim had a known mental defect, which includes diseases that render a person either temporarily or permanently unable to fully grasp the nature of his or her own conduct
- The victim was physically incapacitated, which means that he or she was physically impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in the ability to resist or escape
- The offender was a law enforcement officer, probation officer, correctional officer or someone else in a position of control or authority
Another enhanced form of sexual battery is sexual battery with a deadly weapon, which is committed when a person uses a deadly weapon during a rape. The final type of enhanced sexual battery offense is sexual battery where a defendant uses physical force or a weapon that is likely to cause serious personal injury. Serious personal injury includes great pain or bodily harm, as well as permanent disability or disfigurement. When an offender is charged with either of these crimes, he or she automatically faces between ten years to life in prison.
Penalties for Sexual BatteryThe penalties assigned for sexual battery convictions depend on the age of the defendant, the age of the victim, and whether or not the offense involved aggravating circumstances. Those who are convicted of sexual battery will face at least an eight-year prison sentence, although the sentence could be extended to 15 years. If the victim was under the age of 12 years old and the defendant was over the age of 18 years old at the time of the offense, the offender will be charged with a capital felony, which carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. If the offender was under the age of 18 years old, he or she will be required to spend at least nine years in prison, although the sentence could be extended to life in prison.
Florida law also makes it unlawful to falsely accuse a law enforcement officer or another person in a position of control or authority of sexual battery. Those who are convicted of doing so face the penalties of a third degree felony, pursuant to Florida statute 775.082.