Sexual assault crimes in Florida – including rape – are considered Sexual Battery and carry some of the harshest penalties in the law. Florida Statute 794.011 is very specific and explicit about exactly what constitutes sexual battery, but the key element is consent. Any forced, uninvited or unwelcome – in other words, nonconsensual – physical contact of a sexual nature is considered sexual battery. Rape charges in Florida can lead to harsh prison sentences, large fines, ruined reputations, and wrecked careers.

The state aggressively prosecutes sexual assault cases and can pressure defendants with the prospect of years in prison to get a guilty plea – regardless of the circumstances.

Sometimes these cases come down to one person’s word against another or arise from emotionally-charged incidents in volatile relationships. Anyone facing rape charges should have an aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect their rights as a defendant and present their side of the story. Everyone deserves a fair hearing. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with the Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Rivas Law Firm.

AggravatedSexualBattery

The least serious SexualBatterycharges apply in a case without “physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury” and a victim over 18-years-old. It’s a second-degree felony with a 15-year prison sentence. However, any number of “aggravating circumstances” can enhance the charges and increase the penalties. Sexual battery involving a minor, for example, or the use of a deadly weapon, violence, or threats will likely lead to first-degree felony charges with up to 30 years in prison.

Florida Statute on Sexual Battery lists aggravating circumstances as:

  1. The victim is physically helpless to resist.
  2. The offender coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury to the victim and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the present ability to execute the threat.
  3. The offender coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate against the victim, or any other person, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender can execute the threat in the future.
  4. The offender, without the prior knowledge or consent of the victim, administers or has knowledge of someone else administering to the victim any narcotic, anesthetic, or other intoxicating substance that mentally or physically incapacitates the victim.
  5. The victim is mentally defective, and the offender has reason to believe this or has actual knowledge of this fact.
  6. The victim is physically incapacitated.
  7. The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer

A conviction for rape or sexual battery with aggravated circumstances could lead to life in prison, or even the death penalty if the alleged victim was under 12-years-old. Also, a sexual battery conviction means serving the entire prison sentence — no time off “for good behavior.” A conviction also means a lifetime as a registered sex offender.

SexualBatteryChargesDefense

The first thing your criminal defense attorney should do is a thorough pre-file or pre-trial investigation. There may be cases in which the issue of consent can legitimately be contested or where false allegations or mistaken identity are involved. Your lawyer can hold police accountable for sloppy evidence collection, faulty witness statements, improper procedures, or other violations of your rights.

A sexual battery defense attorney can make pretrial motions to have certain evidence suppressed (if the police violated procedure) and make motions to dismiss the case altogether if the prosecution has a weak case. If the case goes to court, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will fight hard to protect your rights — and work hard for the best possible outcome.

Rape or sexual assault charges in Florida require a vigorous, determined defense. If you’ve been charged with sexual battery in Florida, you’ll want the best criminal defense attorney you can get. Consider the skilled and aggressive Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneysat the Rivas Law firm. Call 407-349-4211, so we can work through your legal problems, and you can get on with your life.