In Florida, Sexual Battery, commonly referred to as “rape” is one of the most aggressively prosecuted criminal offenses. Sexual Battery Laws have many categories, and each comes with a severe and life-changing penalty upon conviction. If you are facing rape charges, it is imperative that you have an experienced attorney by your side. Contact Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC in Clearwater – Tampa, Florida now, or continue reading for more information.
Sexual Battery Laws: Florida Statute Definition
Under Florida Statute §794.011 “Sexual Battery” is defined as:
• 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.
Are there Enhancements to the Criminal Charge of Sexual Battery in Florida?
Yes, based on Florida Sexual Battery Laws, the charges can be enhanced if any of the following apply to the case. If an offense is enhanced, the potential sentence can and likely will be greater, and the level or degree of the crime will be increased.
One enhanced charge is Aggravated Sexual Battery. Aggravated Sexual Battery is committed when a sexual battery, as defined above, takes place under an aggravating circumstance. Florida Statutes list the following as aggravating circumstances:
- The victim is physically helpless to resist;
- The victim is coerced into submission by threats to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury to the victim, and the victim reasonably believes the offender has the ability to execute the threat;
- The victim is coerced into submission by threats of retaliation against the victim or any other person, and the victim reasonably believes the offender has the ability to execute the threat in the future;
- The victim is unknowingly and without consent drugged to the extent that they are mentally or physically incapacitated;
- The victim is mentally defective, and the offender knows or has reason to believe this fact;
- The victim is physically incapacitated;
- The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer, or any other person in a position of control or authority, or person acting in such a manner as to lead the victim to believe the offender was in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of the government.
If the Sexual Battery is committed when the victim is less than 12 years of age, the charge will be enhanced, and the potential penalty increased. The level and sentence if someone is convicted of Sexual Battery will be enhanced when an offender commits a sexual battery on a victim and uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon. Likewise, the crime is enhanced when an offender commits a Sexual Battery and he or she uses physical force likely to cause serious personal injury to the victim.
What is the Difference Between Sexual Battery vs. Sexual Assault in Florida?
Many people will interchange the terms “battery” and “assault” when referring to criminal acts. In Florida, battery offenses and assault offenses are defined quite differently, except when discussed in relation to a sexual offense. The statutory term, the correct title, is Sexual Battery as there is not a separate crime of Sexual Assault in Florida.
What is the Penalty for Sexual Battery in Florida?
The degree of felony for the criminal offense of Sexual Battery ranges from a second-degree felony to a Capital Felony. The penalties are determined by the age of the offender, the age of the victim, and the existence of any aggravating circumstances.
In addition to being sentenced to serve a lengthy prison sentence, every person who is convicted of Sexual Battery will be designated as either a Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator. These designations come with stringent registration requirements for life. We discuss those a little later in this article.
Second-Degree Felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison; up to 15 years of sex offender probation; and up to $10,000 in fines.
First-Degree Felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison; up to 30 years of sex offender probation; and up to $10,000 in fines.
Life Felonies are punishable by life in prison; up to Life on sex offender probation; and up to $15,000 in fines.
Capital Felonies are punishable by a mandatory sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole (sometimes called “natural life”).
What are Florida's Sex Offender and Registration Laws?
Anyone who is convicted of Sexual Battery will be required to comply with Florida's strict sexual offender or sexual predator registration requirements. If you are required to meet the stringent requirements, the failure to comply may result in a felony charge of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.
Some of the conditions and requirements imposed upon those who must register are as follows:
- Report to the Sheriff's office in the county in which the offender establishes or maintains a permanent, temporary, or transient residence, or in the county where he or she was convicted, within 48 hours after being convicted for a qualifying offense for registration if the offender is not in the custody or control of, or under the supervision of, the Department of Corrections, or is not in the custody of a private correctional facility.
- Any change in the information required to be provided must be reported to law enforcement. Failure to report changes in your information may result in a felony charge of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.
- Provide his or her name; date of birth; social security number; race; sex; height; weight; hair and eye color; tattoos or other identifying marks; fingerprints; palm prints; photograph; employment information; address of permanent or legal residence or address of any current temporary residence, within the state or out of state, including a rural route address and a post office box; if no permanent or temporary address, any transient residence within the state, address, location or description, and dates of any current or known future temporary residence within the state or out of state; the make, model, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license tag number of all vehicles owned; home telephone numbers and cellular telephone numbers; electronic mail addresses; Internet identifiers and each Internet identifier's corresponding website homepage or application software name; date and place of each conviction; and a brief description of the crime or crimes committed by the offender. A post office box may not be provided in lieu of a physical residential address. The sexual offender shall also produce his or her passport if he or she has a passport, and, if he or she is an alien, shall produce or provide information about documents establishing his or her immigration status. The sexual offender shall also provide information about any professional licenses he or she has.
- If the sexual offender's place of residence is a motor vehicle, trailer, mobile home, or manufactured home, the sexual offender shall also provide to the department through the sheriff's office written notice of the vehicle identification number; the license tag number; the registration number; and a description, including color scheme, of the motor vehicle, trailer, mobile home, or manufactured home. If the sexual offender's place of residence is a vessel, live-aboard vessel, or houseboat, the sexual offender shall also provide to the department written notice of the hull identification number; the manufacturer's serial number; the name of the vessel, live-aboard vessel, or houseboat; the registration number; and a description, including color scheme, of the vessel, live-aboard vessel, or houseboat.
- If the sexual offender is enrolled or employed, whether for compensation or as a volunteer, at an institution of higher education in this state, the sexual offender shall also provide to the department the name, address, and county of each institution, including each campus attended, and the sexual offender's enrollment, volunteer, or employment status. The sheriff, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Juvenile Justice shall promptly notify each institution of higher education of the sexual offender's presence and any change in the sexual offender's enrollment, volunteer, or employment status.
- A sexual offender shall report in person to the sheriff's office within 48 hours after any change in vehicles owned to report those vehicle information changes.
- Within 48 hours after the initial reporting, a sexual offender shall report in person at a driver license office of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, unless a driver's license or identification card that complies with the requirements of s. 322.141(3) was previously secured or updated.
- Driver's license renewal and changes must be reported.
- Changes in residence must be reported within 48 hours.
- All electronic mailing addresses and internet identifiers must be registered with the department.
- All telephone numbers must be reported.
- All employment, volunteer activities, higher education must be documented, and changes must be reported.
If you plan to move to another state, you must meet specific requirements in order to do so. The reporting requirements are the same and/or more stringent for those with a Sexual Predator designation.
Hire an Experienced Sex Crimes Lawyer
You may have been accused of Sexual Battery, but that does not mean you are guilty. Because of the complexities and seriousness of Sexual Battery allegations, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced sex crimes lawyer right away. Our team of attorneys, investigators, and experts are highly experienced with sexual battery laws and will begin building your defense today.
At Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience defending citizens charged with Sexual Battery and related offenses. We know what it takes to get the best result in your case. If you or someone you know is facing rape charges, call us today for a free case evaluation.