Under Florida law, it is a crime to engage in sexual battery, or other sex-related crimes such as indecent assault, rape, or sodomy. You can be convicted of sexual battery if you participate in vaginal, oral, or anal physical penetration or union (a fancy way of saying just touching) with the sexual organ of someone without their consent, or if you engage in vaginal or anal penetration of someone with an object without that person’s consent. Sexual battery is a felony, but the level of felony is dependent on the facts and circumstances of your case. The penalties for a sexual battery conviction are also dependent on the circumstances. In some extreme cases, such as Capital Sexual Battery, if someone is a repeat sexual offender or sexual predator, a conviction of sexual battery can result in significant fines and life in prison.
And this does happen.
Recently, an Okaloosa County man was sentenced to mandatory life in prison after he was convicted earlier this year on charges of kidnapping, burglary, and sexual battery. The man had been accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s Fort Walton Beach apartment, holding her hostage and sexually battering her against her will for several hours. The woman was able to escape and reported the incident to law enforcement. At a court hearing much later, the defendant was classified as a habitual sexual offender and prison release re-offender. He will not be eligible for release. If this had been my case, representation would have been contingent upon brain imaging for mitigation.
Florida law2 provides enhanced sentencing penalties, particularly for repeat sex offenders and sexual predators, because according to the law they are likely to repeat their offenses3, many of which go undetected or are not reported. This tendency toward recidivism, or reoffending makes some sexual offenders and predators an extreme risk to the public safety.
However, even if this is the first time you have been charged with sexual battery, the penalties can be harsh depending on the circumstances. If the victim of a sexual battery is younger than twelve years old and you are over the age of eighteen, the offense is considered a capital felony that is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole. If you are under the age of eighteen, and the victim is younger than twelve, you can still be subject to at least thirty years in jail.
As a practical matter, damage control should always begin at the same time as defensive pleadings in sex offense cases. This is not your lawyer giving up on you and your case. This is smart lawyering.
Other penalties for sexual battery convictions depend on your age, the age of the victim, whether you used force or violence to commit the battery, whether you used a deadly weapon, the victim’s ability to resist, whether the victim was physically incapacitated, or whether you caused physical injury to the victim, among other factors. Again, any sexual battery is considered a felony that is punishable by hefty fines, prison sentences, and as a convicted sexual batterer, you will be required to register as a sex offender or sexual predator. You may be required to register for life unless you are pardoned, receive post-conviction relief, or if you meet certain criteria. Failure to register as a sex offender or sexual predator as required is also considered a felony.
And we have not even addressed permanent civil commitment after serving any prison sentence. These types of cases are among the most serious in Florida criminal law.
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with sexual battery or another sex offense under Florida law, it is important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Sex offense charges should not be taken lightly as a conviction has serious long-lasting consequences. Schedule a free consultation with Stephen G. Cobb today by calling (850) 423-0035 and let a qualified and experienced Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney help you fight your sex offense charge.
Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547