The well-known term “rape” has actually been removed from Florida statutory laws, so crimes involving this offense are now prosecuted as “sexual battery.” Despite the change in name, the crime is treated severely under the law with some of the harsher penalties available.

Criminal cases involving sexual contact often hinge on a small set of asserted facts, so it is essential when building a defense that a defense attorney establish the facts in the most favorable light.

A knowledgeable Ft Lauderdale rape lawyer will provide guidance on the steps to take and questions to ask to work toward the best possible resolution of a case involving sexual battery or similar charges.

Sexual Battery Defined

A number of different statutes govern both non-consensual rape scenarios and “statutory” rape situations where the parties may believe the situation is consensual, but the law deems one party incapable of giving consent due to age or another condition. The statutes applying to sexual battery are set forth in Chapter 794 of the Florida criminal code.

Sexual battery is defined in Broward County as the “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object” unless such action is taken for a “bona fide medical purpose.”

Committing sexual battery against another person without that party’s consent is at least a second-degree felony and warrants immediate contact with a Ft Lauderdale rape lawyer.

Circumstances That Aggravate the Crime

Many factors can aggravate the crime of sexual battery and increase the penalties for the offense.  Some of those factors that a Ft Lauderdale rape attorney will need to look at include:

  • Use or threatened use of a deadly weapon or bodily force sufficient to cause serious injury
  • The battery was committed against an individual less than 12 years of age
  • The battery was committed against an individual who was unconscious, asleep or otherwise unable to communicate
  • Prior conviction for similar offense
  • The battery was committed against an individual with a mental defect that rendered consent impossible
  • The battery was committed by a law enforcement official or someone in a similar position of authority

These aggravating factors can elevate the crime to a first-degree or even capital felony.

Related Offenses

In some circumstances, two parties may believe they are engaging in consenting sexual relations, but the law deems one party incapable of giving full consent because of age.

These situations may be classified as different types of criminal behavior. For instance, if an individual over the age of 18 engages in sexual activity with a party between the age of 12 and 16, such conduct is considered “lewd or lascivious battery.”

Similarly, if an individual over the age of 24 engages in sexual activity with someone aged 16 or 17, the behavior is prohibited as “unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.” Both offenses are punishable as second-degree felonies and should result in contact with a Ft Lauderdale sexual battery lawyer.

An individual aged 21 or older who impregnates a child under the age of 16 can be prosecuted for third-degree felony child abuse.

How a Ft Lauderdale Sexual Battery Attorney Can Help

Sexual battery and related offenses are felonies under Florida law, punishable by substantial prison sentences, huge fines, and lifelong registration requirements.

It is essential for anyone charged with this type of crime to work with an experienced Ft. Lauderdale rape lawyer who knows how the elements of each crime fit within the circumstances of your case and how to build the best possible defense.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Florida Criminal Lawyers

1200 S Pine Island Rd #220 Plantation, FL 33324
(954) 424-7433 954-424-2200
2160 W Atlantic Ave 2nd Floor Delray Beach, FL 33445
(561) 922-8103 561-988-8100