Many defendants believe that sexual battery is the same as sexual assault. However, in Florida, the term sexual battery is used to describe several prohibited acts, including rape.
The details of the alleged crime make a difference
An arrest for sexual battery is a serious and potentially life-changing occurrence. In most cases, an arrest leads to felony charges. However, the sentence handed down upon conviction depends on the details of the alleged acts.
The state defines sexual battery as penetration by another person’s sex organ or by an object without the victim’s consent.
- When committed by an adult against a person younger than 12 years, it is a capital felony, which means life in prison or the death penalty.
- When committed by a person younger than 18 years against someone younger than 12, it is a life felony, which means 30 years to life in prison.
- When committed against an adult and accompanied by coercion, threats and the victim’s inability to consent, it is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment.
- When committed against an adult without the elements above (threats, etc.), it is a 2nd-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment.
- When the defendant uses a deadly weapon in the commission of sexual battery, it is a life felony, punishable by 30 years to life in prison.
Upon conviction on any of the charges above, defendants must register with the state’s sex offender registry.
As you can see, the authorities in Florida have little sympathy for those arrested on sex charges. Defenses against these allegations are few and nearly always revolve around proving consent. If you have been arrested for a sex crime, it’s important to get the help of a criminal defense attorney even if you believe your case is hopeless.