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Failing to report a sexual battery offense is an offense itself

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Sexual battery is one of the most deplorable crimes anyone can commit, and Florida has severe punishments for those convicted of this felony offense. The penalties are based on factors such as the ages of the offender and the victim, whether physical force or a weapon was involved, and so on.

However, not only does Florida penalize those who commit sexual battery, but the state also has rules punishing those who have failed to report a sexual battery offense.

When does a person fail to report sexual battery?

According to state law, a person who witnesses a sexual battery crime and meets the following criteria commits an offense:

  • The person reasonably determined that they had just witnessed an act of sexual battery
  • The person could’ve sought assistance for the victim by reporting the sexual battery offense to law enforcement
  • The person failed to seek assistance
  • The person wouldn’t be exposed to any retaliation or violence for seeking assistance
  • The person isn’t the husband, wife, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or sibling of either the offender or victim, whether by blood or through adoption
  • The person isn’t the victim of such sexual battery

A person who fulfills all these commits the offense of failing their duty to report sexual battery, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The penalties for failing to report

If a court convicts a person for not reporting sexual battery, they face up to a year of prison time and as much as $1,000 in fines. This is the same penalty imposed on those convicted of shoplifting, vandalism, simple battery and driving under the influence.

Staying silent about a sexual battery crime not only allows the offender to continue their wrongdoing but also exposes their victims to further abuse. While the fear of reprisal is a defense to this accusation, proving there was a reasonable risk that you’d suffer some violent payback for reporting the offense is essential. If you face this charge, you may need a legal professional’s experience to protect your rights in court.