What Constitutes Sexual Battery in Florida?
In the State of Florida, any sexual penetration without the other party’s consent constitutes sexual battery. A rape or sexual assault may also be charged as sexual battery. If you are charged with sexual battery in South Florida, contact a Fort Lauderdale sex crimes lawyer at once.
Under the law in Florida, sexual battery is a non-consensual act that consists of any anal, oral, or vaginal penetration of another person, whether or not an object is used. (However, the law exempts acts that are performed for a genuine medical purpose.
Sexual battery may not be reported immediately. What is the statute of limitations – that is, the deadline – for filing sexual battery charges in Florida? What are the penalties if you’re convicted of sexual battery? And when should you contact a Fort Lauderdale sexual battery attorney?
What Constitutes Aggravated Sexual Battery?
In the State of Florida, sexual battery is a second-degree felony when both the perpetrator and the victim are at least 18 years old.
Aggravated sexual battery, a first-degree felony, is a non-consensual act that consists of any anal, oral, or vaginal penetration of another person under an aggravating circumstance. What constitutes an aggravating circumstance?
- The victim is coerced or is helpless to resist, or the victim is under 18 years old.
- The perpetrator is a police officer, correctional officer, probation officer, a person in a position of authority or control, or a person who is reasonably thought to be in a position of authority as an employee or representative of the government.
Aggravated sexual battery against a person 18 or older is a first-degree felony in Florida. Aggravated sexual battery against a person between 12 and 18 years old is a life felony. Sexual battery against a child under age 12 by a person age 18 or older is a capital felony in this state.
When May Sexual Battery Charges Be Filed?
When sexual battery is a second-degree felony and a victim is 18 or older, if the victim does not report the crime within 72 hours, prosecutors have up to eight years to file the charge.
If a victim reports the crime within 72 hours, there is no deadline for bringing a sexual battery charge. Additionally, there is no statute of limitations in Florida for any aggravated sexual battery charge.
Are You Being Charged With Sexual Battery?
If you are charged with sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery anywhere in the South Florida region, now or in the future, you must be represented by a Fort Lauderdale sex crimes lawyer who has considerable experience representing defendants who are accused of sex crimes.
If the prosecution’s case against you is weak, a defense attorney can sometimes have the charge reduced or dismissed. However, if the state’s case is persuasive and a conviction is inevitable, your attorney may negotiate a plea deal to have the charge or the sentence reduced.
If you are innocent, in most cases, you should not accept a plea deal. Instead, insist on your right to a jury trial. If your sexual battery case goes to trial, your defense attorney will explain to jurors what really happened and why you should be found not guilty.
A conviction for sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery may be penalized with a lengthy prison term, a costly fine, probation, and sex offender registration. A prison sentence is probable if the victim was a minor or if the defendant has a previous conviction for a sex crime.
A Sexual Battery Conviction May Entail Extra-Legal Consequences
Because the Florida Sex Offender Registry is available online to landlords, neighbors, employers, and the general public, the penalties ordered by a criminal court may not be the only negative consequences of a sexual battery conviction.
Convicted sex offenders may have difficulty locating housing or employment. If you’re not a United States citizen, a conviction for sexual battery may trigger a removal proceeding. If you hold a professional license, it may be revoked or suspended after a sexual battery conviction.
How Do You Contest a Sexual Battery Charge?
If you’re charged with sexual battery in South Florida, the defense strategy that a Fort Lauderdale sexual battery attorney develops for your case will depend on the details of the charge. The typical defenses presented in sexual battery cases include:
- The victim consented: This is a common defense, but if the victim was a minor, incapacitated, disabled, or impaired by drugs or alcohol, the consent defense may not be allowed.
- The accusation is fabricated: False sex crime allegations are made for a number of reasons and sometimes for no apparent reason. A teen may lie about a stepparent, for instance, or a former spouse may lie to gain an edge in a child custody fight.
When Should You Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you’re charged with sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery in South Florida, in order to convict you, a prosecutor must prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and in a sexual battery case, that may not be easy.
What you must not do is act as your own lawyer. Your future will be on the line. If you’re taken into police custody and charged with sexual battery, exercise your rights. If the police ask you questions, say something like “I’d rather not answer your questions until my lawyer is present.”
Your defense lawyer will fight to bring your sexual battery case to its best possible resolution. Call a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you’re placed under arrest or if you know that you are being investigated for sexual battery.
Take Your Sexual Battery Case to George Reres Law
If you’re charged with sexual battery in or near the Fort Lauderdale area, call the offices of George Reres Law immediately. Our award-winning criminal defense attorneys will protect your legal rights, fight aggressively for justice, and bring your case to its best possible outcome.
The attorneys at George Reres Law know that a conviction for sexual battery has severe consequences, so we’re dedicated to offering you the personalized attention and the effective defense representation that you need and deserve.
If you are charged with sexual battery in or near Fort Lauderdale or anywhere in South Florida – currently or in the future – you must exercise your rights and promptly call George Reres Law at 954-543-1186 to arrange for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and review.