One of the most serious offenses under Florida law involves an allegation of sexual battery which is often called sexual assault, rape, or statutory rape in other jurisdictions. If someone makes an allegation that they were the victim of unwanted sexual contact then the police can make an arrested based solely on that allegation even if no physical evidence supports the accusation. For a variety of reasons, false accusations are all to common and law enforcement officers with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Special Victims Unit have broad discretion in determining whether to make an arrest.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLCMcCarthy are experienced in handling sexual battery cases in Brevard County, Florida, including the cities and towns of Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne Beach, West Melbourne, Palm Bay and Rockledge.
Once an accusation is made, the person accused of the crime should never make any statement to law enforcement until after the individual has retained a criminal defense attorney. Remaining silent is especially important when the allegations are false. The fifth amendment right to remain silent provides an important protection against an unfair prosecution. Your side of the story can best be presented by your criminal defense attorney who can also preserve evidence before it is lost or destroyed and before the memories of a witness might begin to fade.
After an arrest for sexual battery in Brevard County, FL, a first appearance will occur within 24 hours. If the bond is set too high a criminal defense attorney can request an emergency bond hearing to lower the bond set. The State Attorney's Office for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Brevard County in Titusville will often make a decision about whether to formally file charges within 21 days after the arrest. Obtaining experienced representation during those first days after the arrest can often make a huge difference in the outcome of the case.
In Florida, the crime of sexual battery can also be classified as "statutory rape" when a victim is a minor under the age of 17. An offender could be convicted of a second-degree felony if it is alleged that a minor had sexual activity with an adult over the age of 24. This law does, however, provide an exception to those who are married which essentially removes the "disabilities of nonage."
A parent's worst nightmare is finding out that their child has been accused of inappropriately touching a younger child in a sexually motivated manner. Parents often require their child to speak to law enforcement officers before they realize the gravity of the situation. Your child has a right to remain silent. After a serious criminal accusation of sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery has been made you should demand that your child remains silent until after you have retained a criminal defense attorney to represent the juvenile.
By contacting a criminal defense attorney to represent their child in juvenile court, the parent can best protect their child from an overly aggressive prosecution, and make sure that their child begins the most appropriate counseling program as soon as possible. These serious accusations can be made against children as young as eleven, although the charges are most commonly made against boys between the age of 12 to 15.
Contact an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC to represent your child in juvenile court against this serious allegation. Protecting the child from the criminal accusation requires acting quickly.
Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes defines many of the terms used under the sexual battery statutes.
"Sexual battery" means vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object. Sexual battery does not include any act done for a bona fide medical purpose. Other states call this type of offense "rape."
In certain sexual battery or rape cases, the fact that the complaining witness consented to the sexual activity is an important defense. Under Florida law the term "consent" is defined as voluntary, intelligent and knowingly agreeing to an act that does not involve coerced submission.
"Coerced submission" under Florida law is defined to include acting out of fear of retaliation, including threats of future kidnapping, false imprisonment, extortion, forcible confinement or other types of physical punishment. Additionally, the alleged victim is not required to offer any physical resistance in order to prevent the contact and such inability to offer physical resistance is not considered consent.
Any mental defect or disease that renders a person permanently or temporarily unable to appreciate the nature of his or her conduct is a "mental defective" state. Being mentally incapacitated can include being temporarily unable to control or appraise conduct due to the influence of intoxicating substances narcotics, or anesthetic that is administered without the alleged victim's consent or knowledge.
Under other circumstances, the alleged victim can be deemed "physically helpless" which includes being asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in a sexual act. Likewise, Florida law recognizes that certain alleged victims may be "physically incapacitated" which is defined under Florida law as being handicapped, bodily impaired, or substantially limited in the ability to flee or resist.
The crime of sexual battery can be subject to enhanced penalties if the alleged victim suffers any "serious bodily injury" including any permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, or great bodily pain or harm.
(2) [The Types of Charges for Sexual Battery]
(a) Capital Felony Sexual Battery - if any person over the age of 18 years of age commits a sexual battery on a victim that is 12 years of age or under and the crime injures the child's sexual organs then the offense is punishable as a capital felony, punishable as provided in Florida Statute Section 775.082 and 921.141.
(b) Life Felony Sexual Battery - if any person who is younger than 18 years of age who commits a sexual battery upon a child under the age of 12 and while committing the crime injures the sexual organs of the child then the crime is punishable as a life felony, punishable as provided in Florida Statute Section 775.082, s. 775.083, s. 775.084, or s. 794.0115.
(3) Life Felony Sexual Battery - if any person commits a sexual battery upon a child who is 12 years old or older, without the child's consent, and in the process of committing the crime, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or uses actual physical force likely to cause serious personal injury commits a life felony, punishable as provided in Florida Statute Section 775.082, s. 775.083, s. 775.084, or s. 794.0115.
(4) First Degree Felony of Sexual Battery - if any person commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person's consent, under any of the following circumstances, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statute Section 775.082, s. 775.083, s. 775.084, or s. 794.0115:
(5) Second Degree Felony Sexual Battery - If a person commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, without that person's consent, and in the process thereof does not use physical violence of force likely to cause serious personal injury commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statute Section 775.082, s. 775.083, s. 775.084, or s. 794.0115.
(6) The offense described in subsection (5) is included in any sexual battery offense charged under subsection (3) or subsection (4).
Under the "Junny Rios-Martinez, Jr. Act of 1992," any person who is convicted of committing a sexual battery on or after October 1, 1992, is not eligible for basic gain-time under Florida Statute Section 944.275.
Without regard to the consent or willingness of the alleged victim in any sexual battery allegation, consent is not a defense to prosecution under this subsection for any a person who is in a position of custodial or familial authority over a person who is younger than 18 years old and who:
For any sexual battery prosecution in Florida under paragraph (4)(g), acquiescence to a person reasonably believed by the victim to be in a position of control or authority does not constitute consent, and it is not a defense that the perpetrator was not actually in a position of control or authority if the circumstances were such as to lead the victim to reasonably believe that the person was in such a position.
Any person who falsely accuses any person in a position of control or authority as an employee or agent of any local, state or federal government (as listed in paragraph (4)(g)) can be charged with a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statute 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Any arrest for sexual battery under Florida law is a severe criminal charge that has the potential to be punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 10 years to life, and a conviction may also mandate the offender to register as a sex offender. Sex offender’s registrations are published on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website and are accessible largely to the general public.
In addition, a letter may be mailed to the residents who reside in the community of a sex offender which allows the public to know the name and address of sex offenders living in their community. Being registered as a sex offender is something that follows a person well after their case is over and for some; the social stigma of a sex offender status can be humiliating and can be as devastating as prison time.
Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in fighting sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery charges in Melbourne, Brevard County, FL, and the surrounding areas in Florida. Contact us today to discuss the facts of your case directly with a sex crime defense attorney by calling (321) 253-3447 or provide us with brief details about your case in our online form.
The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC handles sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery cases in Brevard County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL. We understand that your case cannot wait. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case and the best way to fight the criminal charge of sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery in Brevard County, FL, or the surrounding areas.