In the state of Florida, there are a number of different crimes that one can be charged with. One of the newer classifications in the Florida statutes is referred to as sexual battery. Many people might have trouble understanding the basics of sexual battery because the term can be considered somewhat ambiguous. In fact, sexual battery is really a merger of several other sex crimes under one common name. Some of these crimes include:
- Indecent Assault
Sexual battery can refer to one or all of those crimes (along with several other sex-related offenses). Obviously, this is one of the most severe crimes that someone can be charged with, and there are numerous different variables that can make this charge even more severe. But, there are certain elements that need to be present in order for a sexual battery conviction to be carried out to fruition.
Prosecuting Sexual Battery
The prosecutor in a case of sexual battery must show that the defendant performed unwanted sexual acts that included oral, vaginal, or anal penetration. In fact, if any of those acts were not performed during the course of the offense, then the charge cannot be considered sexual battery. In that case, the offense might be prosecuted either as assault or battery.
Consent is also an important facet of any sexual battery case. If consent was not given for the sexual conduct to take place, then the defendant can be convicted for sexual battery. The lack of consent from the victim needs to be shown by the prosecutor for the case to be prosecuted as a sexual battery charge. Physical protestations or struggle do not need to be present for a lack of consent to be validated in the state of Florida.
Defending against Sexual Battery
Perhaps the only defense for sexual battery in the state of Florida is the presence of consent from the alleged victim. So, if a defendant is facing prosecution for sexual battery in Okaloosa County, then they need to have a defense team that can accurately prove that consent was given at the time of the alleged offense. Obviously, a qualified Okaloosa County criminal defense lawyer would give that person the best chance of proving that assertion.
However, if the victim is under the age of 12 and the defendant is an adult 18 or over, then consent does not matter. That is to say, a person under the age of 12 is automatically non-consenting under Florida law. Any person above the age of 12 can technically provide consent, but the penalty will still be harsher if the defendant is an adult over the age of 18 and the victim is under the age of 18.
Other factors involved in a sexual battery case include the use of threats, weapons, or other coercive acts that make it difficult for the victim to resist. If any of those were not present, then the resultant penalty will be less severe. Sexual battery is classified as a second-degree felony, but it can increase to a capital felony if enough variables are present during the time of the offense.
Mark Bryant is an attorney in Okaloosa County, Florida. He practices criminal defense for all crimes, specializing in felony cases.