Rape Defense Lawyers in Orlando, Florida (FL)
How to Beat a Rape Charge in Orlando, Orange County, FL
The State of Florida defines “rape” as the unwanted sexual penetration of the anus, vagina, or oral penetration with a part of the body upon another, typically the genital area. Regardless of how slight the penetration was, if the alleged victim did not consent to the penetration, the offender has committed the crime of Rape, which is a felony criminal offense. In Florida, children who are under the age of 12 cannot “legal” consent to sexual. Moreover, the perpetrator could be charged with felony rape when the victim could not give consent due to physical or mental incapacity. In Florida, an individual might not have been able to give consent because they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A victim does not have to put up physical resistance to show a lack of consent.
If you or a family member are being questioned by police or have been charged with rape in Florida, retain the aggressive Florida Rape Defense Attorneys at Musca Law. At Musca Law, our defense lawyers render a powerful legal defense against criminal charges, and we fight hard to defeat your criminal charges. Our firm will make sure that your legal rights are protected during the whole case proceedings. With over one hundred and fifty years of combined criminal defense experience, our criminal defense team has the expertise, knowledge, and resources required to defend you or your loved one. Our rape defense lawyers at our Orlando office will seek to obtain the very best possible outcome in your criminal case, and we never back down from the prosecutors.
Fighting Rape Allegations in Orlando, FL
Sex crimes are punished severely, particularly rape cases. Musca Law defends its clientele in all types of sex offenses in and around the state of Florida. Our criminal defense law firm has over 30 office locations throughout Florida, including Orlando. Our firm's results also speak for themselves. You or your loved one can rest assured knowing that our Orlando rape defense attorneys know how to effectively represent you in your rape trial.
Call (407) 863-4834 to receive you free case review with one of our rape defense attorneys today.
How Do Florida’s Statutes Define the Crime of Rape?
According to Florida’s statutes, both "sexual assault" and "rape" are referred to as "sexual battery" in the state of Florida. Moreover, the legal term "sexual battery" covers several types of sexual abuse offenses, such as rape, child molestation, and some types of sexual harassment. The following list of offenses may be charged as a "sexual assault" offense in Florida:
- Attempting to rape
- Coercing someone to into engage in sexual activity
- Non-consensual touching
- Committing a sexual act when the victim could not give consent
- Some forms of sexual harassment
- Statutory rape
- Using force or violence in a sexual, non-consensual way
- Unwanted sexual advances
Rape charges might be filed in incidents of sexual intimidation, such as threatening to perpetuate an unwanted sexual act or stalking a victim. Rape charges can also be filed between spouses
Florida Sexual Battery Statute of Limitations
The term "statute of limitations" means filing deadlines. The crime victim only has a certain amount of time to press criminal charges against a perpetrator. However, in most rape cases, the statute of limitations does not "expire." In other words, the victim could file criminal charges at any time of their choosing. The federal government and the State of Florida have created their own statutes of limitations in criminal cases. Florida's statute of limitations is currently based on the type of crime that was committed. The prosecutor must also follow their state’s statutes concerning time deadlines. If the statute of limitations expire, the court will likely throw out the criminal case and dismiss all criminal charges.
Florida’s statute of limitations for rape cases include:
- Capital Felony Offenses - Capital Felony charges do not have time deadlines or statute of limitations in Florida.
- First-Degree Felony - The prosecution is required to file first-degree felony rape charges against the accused inside of four years of the date of the commission of the crime.
- 2nd- or 3rd-Degree Felonies - The prosecution must file criminal charges within three years of the day the crime occurred.
Under “special” circumstances that existed at the time of the alleged rape, the court could suspend the statute of limitations. Those special factors include:
- First-degree Sexual Battery - If the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape, Florida does not have a statute of limitations or deadline for the prosecution.
- First or Second-degree Felony – There are no statute of limitations in a first or second-degree felony rape case when the victim is a child who is 16-years-old or older and the criminal offense is reported to law enforcement within 72 hours after its commission.
Sexual Battery (“Rape”) Penalties in Orlando, FL
Since Florida prosecutors and law enforcement officers typically charge rape as a felony, the defendant is facing a significantly long prison sentence. In some Florida rape cases, the defendant could be punished with either a life sentence prison or be sentenced to receive the death penalty. This will depend on several factors such as the age of the victim, the nature of the crime, and other important facts of the crime. Having an experienced Florida Rape Lawyer who knows how to defend against overzealous prosecutors is an important part of developing a powerful defense.
Rape, date rape, statutory rape, and all other types of sexual assault offenses are classified under Florida Statutes section 794.011. Florida defines sexual battery as the union or penetration of a person’s sexual organ with the anus, vagina, or mouth of another. The prosecutor’s job is to prove that the conduct committed by the defendant was non-consensual. Also, any form of sexual groping or touching of a child who is under the age of 12 is automatically deemed non-consensual in Florida.
First-Degree Felony Rape: The prison sentence for a defendant found guilty of a first-degree felony is up to 30 years in prison.
Second-Degree Felony Rape: If the defendant is charged with a second-degree felony rape or sexual battery they could receive up to 15 years in a Florida state prison.
Life Felony Rape: If the victim is under 18 and is under the age of 12, the criminal offense could be a "life felony." A life felony mean the same as “life in prison” if found guilty. Sexual battery also becomes a “life felony” once the defendant threatens to use or did use physical force or a deadly weapon to commit rape.
Capital Felony Rape: If the defendant is 18 or older and the accuser is under the age of 12, the offense could be charged as a "capital felony." So if the defendant is found guilty, they could be sentenced to death.
Those who are found guilty of committing sexual battery do not qualify for a sentence reduction also known as a gain-time in prison, or "time off for good behavior."
Federal and Florida Sexual Offender Registries
One of the most severe penalties for sexual offenses in Florida is the requirement to register as a sex offender. Not ever sex crime perpetrators who has been convicted of a sex crime will be required to register. This is why speaking with one of our experienced Florida rape attorneys right away will protect your legal rights and help your case. Speaking with one of our experienced rape defense attorneys is the best first step to take when arrested.
Statutory Rape Charges in Florida
According to Florida Statute Section 794.05 . Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors states that it is a felony for a person who is 24-years-old or older to commit in sexual acts with a child who is 17-years-old or younger; even if the sexual act was consensual. In most cases, statutory rape is a second-degree felony, which is punished with up to 15 years in prison. In Florida, a defendant cannot use a defense that is based on the victim having a history of engaging in sexual activity.
Rape Charge Defenses in Orlando, Florida
Defending against rape charges in Florida is possible and there are many credible legal defenses that your attorney could raise to beat a rape charge in Florida. The facts and circumstances of the case along with the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim helps the defense attorney to devise the best defense possible.
Sex crimes usually lack witnesses and exclusively rely on forensic evidence and the alleged victim’s accusation. The following list are some potential legal defenses that could be used to defend against rape charges:
Pretrial Defenses: Rape defense attorneys typically try to block their clients from being indicted by presenting evidence that contradicts the accuser’s testimony. This evidence could include:
- Letters that confirm the defendant's good character.
- Psychological evaluations.
- Proof that the accuser has put forth unfounded allegations against other people in the past.
- Polygraph test results.
Defenses at Trial: A few legal defenses used in a rape trial might include presenting an alibi for the defendant. The witness would testify that the defendant could not have committed the crime because they were somewhere else at the time of the alleged rape. The defense team might also introduce forensic evidence to acquit the defendant.
Affirmative Defenses: An affirmative defense is a defense where the defendant admits to committing sex acts with the accuser, but argues that the sex act was consented to by the accuser and therefore should not be a criminal offense. An "affirmative defense" isn’t an admission to committing a crime, but only explains why the sex act is not a crime.
Innocence: Innocent people are charged with crimes they did not commit every single day. The defendant will allege that the victim was confused about what happened, or that they are lying because they are attempting to cover up their actions. In some rape cases, some people will press false criminal charges in hopes of receiving a large cash settlement in a civil lawsuit.
Mistaken Identity: Sometimes the victim has been sexually assaulted but is confused about the identity of the individual who actually committed the crime. The victim may not have seen the face of the offender. In some cases, the witnesses may have identified the wrong person responsible for committing the crime. The witness or victim might have recognized the defendant from a different encounter. Photo lineups and arrays are not dependable.
Consent Was Given: If the alleged victim is old enough to consent to sexual activity, and they were mentally and physically capable of giving consent, and they gave consent to the defendant, a rape did not occur.
Impossibility: If an alleged rape victim claims that a person raped them, and that would have been physically impossible for the defendant to have committed, the criminal defense will consider raising the "Impossibility Defense." Also, if the defendant was somewhere too far away for them to be at the time and place of the alleged assault, the legal defense team would likely assert the "Impossibility Defense."
Diminished Capacity - Another potential defense strategy argues that the defendant did or does not have the requisite "mens rea" or mental state to commit the crime. The defendant might have suffered some level of diminished capacity at the time of the criminal offense which would have precluded the defendant from commit rape.
Procedural Errors - In many criminal cases, law enforcement officers make mistakes of overstep their legal powers violating a defendant's legal rights. If the defense is able to prove procedural errors or the defendant’s legal rights were violated, the judge could suppress part or all of the prosecution's evidence. For example, drug enforcement agents searched a defendant's home without obtaining the requisite search warrant.
False Accusations: One of the most common rape defense strategies is to accuse the accuser of lying. Tragically, false rape accusations are quite common. These accusations typically surface during highly contested child custody or divorce cases. Florida law permits victims of domestic violence to petition the court to grant the victim an order of protection. Orders of Protection are designed to protect domestic violence victims from receiving any more harm. However, Orders of Protection are often misused since Orders of Protection provide many additional benefits to the alleged victim.
In some rape cases, a spouse, ex, or romantic partner might allege sexual assault hoping to receive a bigger portion of the marital estate. Others bring false rape charges to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case. In these cases, it is common for one parent to resort to coercing their children into testifying that they witnessed sexual abuse or they themselves were sexually abused by the defendant. False accusations can be difficult to establish, and prosecutors usually do not believe the defendant's assertion of innocence.
Call (888) 484-5057 24/7 to Speak With Our Orlando Rape Defense Attorneys!
The penalties for committing rape or sexual assault in the state of Florida are devastating. To ensure that you or your loved one have the best possible opportunity to beat criminal charges, you or our loved one should speak to one of our experienced Orlando Rape Attorneys as quickly as possible. Musca Law understand that the consequences of these criminal charges can ruin your life and your future. When you or a loved one have everything on the line, you deserve to have the best legal representation possible.
Call (407) 863-4834 to receive you free case review with one of our rape defense attorneys today.