Florida Statute 794.011(l)(h) defines sexual battery 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; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.” Commonly referred to as rape, but the word rape does not appear in the statute.
The sexual battery can be committed without penetration if there is union with the one parties sexual organ and the mouth, anus, or vagina of the other party. Union in normal usage means two things becoming one. In sexual battery, the touching of a defendant’s mouth to the victim’s sexual organ has been held sufficient to commit the crime. See State v. Pate, 656 So. 2d 1323 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995)
The statute looks at both the age of the defendant and the age of the victim to determine the level of offense. The statute also makes provisions for the amount of force used and if a weapon was involved.
If the defendant is 18 or older and the victim is less than 12, the crime is a capital felony punishable by life imprisonment without parole, or death. (Our firm has one of the few private attorneys qualified to try capital or death penalty cases under the Florida Supreme Court. Meet partner Kenneth Rhoden.) United States Supreme Court cases prohibit the imposition of a death sentence but the statute remains on the books.
If the defendant is less than 18 years of age and the victim is less than 12, the crime is a life felony. This can be punishable by imprisonment for life or by a sentence of 40 years of less.
If the defendant and victim are both over 18 years of age and the defendant does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury, the sentence can be up to 15 years in prison.
Florida Statute 794.022 makes special provisions to prohibit or limit certain evidence in a trial. Evidence of prior sexual activity is limited as is the type of clothing the victim was wearing. Whether a prophylactic device was used or not is not admissible solely to show consent.
There are also special provisions for repeat sexual offenders. Under Florida Statute 794.0115. If there was a sexual battery involving violence, a deadly weapon, multiple victims, or a defendant already under the Jurisdiction of the court for a felony, the sentence is a term of 50 years to life.
This article is just a snapshot of a very complex statute. If you or someone you know is, or might be charged with a sexual offense, you should contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley, LLC. Our attorneys have had trials in many cases involving sexual offenses. You can contact our Melbourne or Cocoa offices by phone or use the contact form in the top right of this page.
We are the largest and most experienced criminal law and family law firm in Brevard County. In 2016 we celebrated 40 years serving the community and we have attorneys with over 20 and over 30 years experience practicing law.