Sexual Battery

Sexual battery also known as rape is a serious allegation that can alter your life forever. The statutory penalties for the crime are incredibly serious and include time in prison. You could also be labeled as a sex offender for years as a result. Not only that, but the social stigma to rape accusations is enough for someone to lose many close personal relationships.

Allegations of sexual battery can be the result of a spurned lover, angered friend or awful miscommunication. However, explaining this to the jury is extremely difficult since many sexual battery cases become a “he said, she said” sort of scenario. If you or someone you know has been accused of rape, then it’s crucial you have an sex crimes attorney on your side. They can collect evidence and call witnesses to prove you are not guilty of this crime.

Defense Attorney for Sexual Battery in Broward County, FL

Have you been accused of sexual battery? It’s time you act now and hire legal representation immediately. Sexual battery allegations are incredibly serious and can result in you losing friends, money and your freedom. Contact Meltzer & Bell to speak to a skilled attorney with years of sex crimes practice in Florida’s court rooms.

You can call us at (754) 755-8554 to set up your first free consultation. Our lawyers work round the clock to ensure our clients have the defense they need. You can contact us at any time 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Meltzer & Bell represents people throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale area including Coral Springs, Davie, Hollywood, Miramar, and Pembroke Pines.

Overview of Rape Charges in Florida


The Issue of Consent in Florida

A major element to the crime of sexual battery is consent. Under Florida Statute Section 794.011, sexual battery refers to the oral, anal or vaginal penetration of a person with an object or by another person’s sexual organs without their consent. In Florida, consent is defined as intelligent, knowing and voluntary consent and doesn’t include submission. The victim failing to resist the act is also not construed as consent.

This means that those who are physical helpless throughout sexual activity are deemed incapable of giving consent. Some examples include alleged victims who were asleep, unconscious, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or are too mentally handicapped to give consent during the act.

Being in a position of control over someone is also not considered consent. For example, if a person is at a mental health hospital and their psychiatrist coerces them into sexual activity because of their position, that doesn’t qualify as consent. This applies even if the defendant wasn’t aware of the full scope of their power and control.

People at a certain age are unable to give their consent according to Florida law. Children under the age of 12 are considered incapable of intelligently and knowingly consent to a sexual encounter. The defendant can be charged with sexual battery with a child under 12 even if they are a minor themselves.

No matter the level of willingness or consent, certain acts with family members or custodial authority to a minor is considered to be sexual battery. These include:

  • Sexual battery with a person under the age of 18; or
  • Solicitation to engage in sexual battery

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Florida’s Definition of Sexual Battery

Under Florida Statute 794.011, the sexual battery involves the penetration of oral, anal, or vaginal of another person using their sexual organ or an object without the other person’s consent. Florida law provides for several different types of sexual battery including aggravated sexual battery.

Sexual Battery on a Person 12 Years Old or Older

Sexual battery is a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is generally punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. The crime is ranked in Level 9 of the Criminal Punishment Code offense severity ranking chart for a person to commit sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent under any of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is physically helpless to resist;
  • The offender coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury on the victim, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the present ability to execute the threat;
  • 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 has the ability to execute the threat in the future;
  • 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;
  • The victim is mentally defective, and the offender has reason to believe this or has actual knowledge of this fact;
  • The victim is physically incapacitated; or
  • The offender is a certified law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer or is an elected official exempt from such certification by virtue of s. 943.253, F.S., or any other person in a position of control or authority in a probation, community control, controlled release, detention, custodial, or similar setting, and the officer, official, or person is acting in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe that the offender is in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government.

Sexual Battery upon a Person 12 Years Old or Older without Consent

Under Section 794.011(5), F.S., it is a second-degree felony ranked in Level 8 of the Criminal Punishment Code for a person to commit sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent if, in the process of committing the sexual battery, the offender does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury.

Sexual Battery if the Offender is an Authority Figure

It is a first-degree felony ranked in Level 9 of the Criminal Punishment Code for a person who is in a position of familial or custodial authority of a person who is 12 years of age or older, but less than 18 years of age, to engage in any act with that person that constitutes sexual battery.

Lewd and Lascivious Battery in Florida

Under Section 794.011(8)(b), F.S., is is a second degree felony ranked in Level 8 of the Criminal Punishment Code for a person to commit lewd or lascivious battery by:

  • Engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; or
  • Encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.
  • Encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.

See Section 800.04(4), F.S.


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Florida Penalties for Rape

The penalties for sexual battery depend on the age of the defendant and the victim. It also is determined by whether the defendant committed sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery. In Florida, the aggravating factors for sexual battery include:

  • The victim is physically unable to resist;
  • The victim was coerced into submission because of threats of force or violence;
  • The victim was unknowingly and without consent drugged;
  • The victim had a known mental defect;
  • The victim was physically incapacitated so they couldn’t resist; or
  • The defendant is a law enforcement officer, correctional probation officer, or any other person who may be in control such as an agent of the government or doctor

Sexual battery between two adults is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated sexual battery involving adults is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Sexual battery upon a person between the ages of 12 and 18 without their consent and without the use or force or violence is a first-degree felony. The penalties for this crime include up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Aggravated battery involving a person between the ages of 12 and 18 is a life felony. This means you could spend the defendant could spend their life in prison and pay a $10,000 fine. If they’re released, they will be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.

The defendant can also be charged with a life felony if they’re convicted of:

  • Sexual battery involving a child under 12 years old;
  • Sexual battery with a deadly weapon; and
  • Sexual battery likely to cause serious personal injury

Committing sexual battery on a person older than 12 years old as a minor without the use of force or violence is a second-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the defendants under 18 and commits sexual battery with a person under the age of 12, they will be charged with a first-degree felony. The maximum penalties for a first-degree felony include up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Minors who commit aggravated battery on a child younger than 12 could be sentenced to a life felony.


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Additional Resources

RAINN – Visit the official website for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network to learn more about sex crimes in Florida. Access the site to read more on resources for victims, statistics for sexual violence and how to get involved.

Florida’s Rape Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida’s state laws and legislation. Access the site to learn the elements for sexual battery, various penalties for rape and other related offenses.


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Sexual Battery Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with rape, it’s crucial you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our team at Meltzer & Bell can assist you throughout your trial and pre-trial experience. We can gather evidence, call witnesses, pass motions and do whatever is needed to help you through this experience.

Call us now at (754) 755-8554 to set up your first consultation free today. Our lawyers can sit with you and answer your questions as well as come up with a scheme for attack. Meltzer & Bell represents people throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale area including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, and Pompano Beach


This article was last updated on September 4, 2019. 

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