Sexual crimes are an unfortunate reality of our world, and laws prohibiting non-consensual sexual contact or sexual violence are a necessary part of any law regime. Florida is no different, as the state has several statutes on the books prohibiting rape and other types of sexual battery.
The state of Florida defines the crime of sexual battery as
- 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, the statute continues by specifically carving out an exception for actions done for a legitimate medical purpose, such as examinations or other medical procedures.
Degrees Of Sexual Battery
Florida has established several different categories of sexual battery, each one with a specific degree of seriousness. The most serious situation is when an adult aged 18 or more commits or attempts to commit sexual battery on a child of 12 years of age or less and injures the victim’s sexual organs. Florida law classifies the crime as a capitol felony with a punishment up to and including the death penalty. If the individual committing or attempting to commit such an act is under 18 years of age, the crime becomes a life felony, which may result in a life sentence in prison.
Florida law also classifies as a life felony the act of committing sexual battery on a person 12 years old or older and accomplishing the act with the use of a deadly weapon or with force that is likely to cause serious personal injury.
If the act does not fit into the above statutes, Florida law classifies it as a first degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Specifically, the act must be carried out on a victim 12 years old or older without their consent and be carried out
by a victim unable to resist, by threat or coercion against them or someone else that the victim reasonably believes, by drugging the victim themselves or after someone else drugged the victim, against a victim who is mentally defective and the defendant knows it or should have known it, against a physically incapacitated victim, or the defendant is in law enforcement and the victim reasonably believes the defendant is in a position of authority.
Sexual battery by an adult against another adult accomplished without force or the threat of it is a second degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. So too is the same act upon a child of 12 years of age or older or by a defendant between the ages of 12 and 18 against a victim within the same age range.
In Florida, the most common defense against sexual battery is that of consent. However, in the case of a victim who is a minor, consent is never a defense, as Florida does not recognize minors as having the capacity to consent to sexual conduct.
The state of Florida does not permit the use of a victim’s prior sexual conduct as a defense to sexual battery, nor does it permit mistake of age (whether reasonable or not) as a defense.