Florida state law currently classifies rape -- and offenses commonly referred to as "sexual assault" in many other states -- under the broader category of "sexual battery." So whether it is an act of rape, groping, or some other unwanted touching of a sexual nature, the offense is charged as sexual battery.
To prove a rape offense, a prosecutor must establish each of the elements for sexual battery given by state law. As required by the Florida statute on sexual battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal penetration of the victim with a sexual organ or another object. Alternatively, the prosecutor must prove a union by the defendant's sexual organ with the victim's mouth, vagina, or anus.
If the rape victim is under the age of twelve, the prosecutor does not have to show the victim's lack of consent; the victim's young age presumes the lack of consent. If the rape victim is over the age of twelve, the prosecutor must show that the victim did not consent voluntarily. Under Florida state laws, the prosecutor needs to show a lack of consent, but does not need to show resistance or protest.
Florida Rape (Sexual Battery) Law at a Glance
Florida Statutes Title XLVI. § 794.005, et seq.
|Statutory Definition of Sexual Battery (Rape)
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, without the other party's consent or capacity to provide consent; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
|Statutory Definition of Consent
Intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. “Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.
|Sexual Battery: Classifications, Sentences, and Penalties
- Committed on a victim under the age of 12 by an adult (over 18): Capital felony (death penalty or life in prison without parole)
- Committed on a victim under the age of 12 by someone under 18: Life felony (30 yrs. to life in prison)
- Committed on a victim over the age of 12: 2nd degree felony (up to 15 years in prison)
- Committed on a victim over the age of 12, including threats, coercive acts, or victim's physical incapacity: 1st degree felony (up to 30 years in prison)
- Defendant used a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause a serious bodily injury to a victim over the age of 12: Life felony (30 yrs. to life in prison)
|Florida Sex Offender Registry
Those convicted of sexual battery must register as sex offenders with the Sex Offender / Predator Registry
Voluntary consent given by the victim
Note: Florida state laws prevent the use of certain defenses in a case for sexual battery. Specifically, the defendant cannot use the victim's "unchastity" or discuss the victim's prior sexual conduct. In cases where the victim's age affects the criminal charges, mistake or lack of knowledge regarding the victim's age cannot serve as a rape defense.
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Florida criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Florida Rape (Sexual Battery) Laws: Related Resources
Charged With Sexual Battery in Florida? An Attorney Can Help
Florida takes sexual battery, or rape, extremely seriously. In some rare cases, those convicted of rape may even face the death penalty or life in prison. If you have been charged with this crime, you will want to have legal representation. Get started today by meeting with a Florida sex crimes attorney.