Rape Defense Lawyers in Tampa, Florida (FL)
How to Beat a Rape Charge in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL
In Florida, “rape” is defined as non-consensual penetration of the victim's anus, vagina, or oral penetration with a part of the body, usually the genitals. Irregardless of how insignificant the penetration was, if the alleged victim did not consent, the alleged offender could be charged with Rape. Florida Statute Section 794.011 calls rape, "sexual battery." Sexual battery is a felony in the state of Florida.
Under Florida law, minor who are under 12 years of age cannot “legally” consent to sexual behavior. Moreover, the alleged offender could be criminally charged with felony rape when the alleged victim wasn't able to give consent because of a physical or mental incapacity. Under some circumstances, the victim may not be able to consent when they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The victim does not have to prove "physical resistance" to prove that they did not consent.
If you, a friend, or a member of your family are being questioned by law enforcement or if charged with sexual battery in Florida, retain the Tampa Rape Defense Lawyers at Musca Law. Our rape defense attorneys will devise a powerful legal strategy and defense, and our lawyers will work hard to beat the rape charges. The firm ensures that your legal rights are protected throughout the entire criminal case. With over 150 years of criminal defense experience, our firm has the resources, expertise, and knowledge, to defend you or your loved one. Our rape defense lawyers at our Tampa office work hard to obtain the best possible result in the criminal case, and we never back down from the prosecutors.
Defending Against Rape Charges in Tampa, FL
Crimes of a sexual nature, such as rape, are severely punished in Florida. Musca Law has successfully defended clients in all kinds of sex crimes throughout Florida. Our sex crime defense firm maintains doznes of law office locations throughout Florida, including Tampa. Our Tampa defense law firm's results speak for themselves. You or your loved one can rest assured knowing our Tampa rape defense attorneys know how to effectively represent you or your loved one at trial.
Call us 24/7 at (813) 362-5623 to receive your free consultation with one of our Tampa rape defense attorneys today.
How Does the State of Florida Define the Rape?
Florida’s criminal code refers to "sexual assault" and "rape" as "sexual battery." The legal term "sexual battery" also means other types of sexual offenses, including rape, child molestation, and some forms of sexual harassment. The following list contains the sex crimes that might be charged as a "sexual assault" offense in the state of Florida:
- Attempted rape
- Statutory rape
- Committing sexual acts when the victim was not able to give consent
- Coercing a person into commit in sexual activity
- Non-consensual touching or fondling
- Certain types of sexual harassment
- Using force or violence in a sexual, non-consensual way
- Unwanted sexual advances
Sexual battery criminal charges may also be filed in situations of sexual intimidation, including perpetuate an unwanted sexual act, or threatening to stalk a victim. One spouse may also file rape charges against their spouse.
Statute of Limitations in Tampa Sexual Battery Cases
The "statute of limitations" are simply legal time deadlines. Florida's statute of limitations vary depending on the type of criminal offense that was committed. Florida prosecutors must follow these specific time deadlines in all criminal cases. If the statute of limitations expire in a criminal matter, the criminal court might dismiss all charges.
In Florida, crime victims have a time limit to file criminal charges against their alleged perpetrator. However, Florida's statute of limitations in rape cases don't always "expire." So, victims of rape might be able to file criminal charges at any time of their choosing depending on the facts of the case.
Florida’s statute of limitations in rape charges:
- Capital Felony Charges - Capital Felony offenses in Florida don’t have time deadlines or time limits.
- First-Degree Felony - The prosecution is mandated by Florida law to press first-degree felony rape charges within four years of the crime.
- 2nd- or 3rd-Degree Felonies - The prosecution is mandated by law to file criminal charges within three years of the day the alleged crime occurred.
Under “unique” situations that happened at the time of the alleged rape, the criminal justice court could suspend the statute of limitations. Those important, critical factors include:
- First-degree Sexual Battery - If the victim is under the age 18 when they were raped, Florida doesn’t have statute of limitations for the prosecution.
- First or Second-degree Felony – In first or second-degree felony rape cases where the victim is a child who is 16-years-old or older and the criminal act was reported to police within 72 hours being committed, there are no statute of limitations.
Sexual Battery (“Rape”) Penalties in Tampa, FL
Rape is charged as a felony in the state of Florida. In certain Florida rape cases, the defendant could face many years in prison, a life sentence prison, or the death penalty. Sentencing depends on many factors such as the nature of the crime, the age of the alleged victim, and other critical facts and circumstances of the crime. Having an experienced Tampa Rape Lawyer who understands how to thoroughly defend against aggressive prosecutors is vital when developing a powerful defense strategy.
Statutort rape, date rape, rape, and all other sexual battery offenses are classified under Florida Statutes section 794.011. Florida's criminal code defines sexual battery as the penetration or union of the perpetrator's sexual organ with the vagina, anus, or mouth of someone else without their consent. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant's conduct was non-consensual. Also, any form of sexual touching of a minor under the age of 12 is automatically deemed non-consensual in Florida.
First-Degree Felony Rape: The prison sentence for first-degree felony rape is up to 30 years.
Second-Degree Felony Rape: The prison sentence for second-degree felony rape or sexual batteryis up to 15 years.
Life Felony Rape: If the defendant is over 18 and the alleged victim is under the age of 12, the criminal offense could become a "life felony." A life felony means “life in prison.” Moreover, sexual battery becomes a “life felony” once the defendant either threatens to use or did use physical force or a deadly weapon to commit the rape.
Capital Felony Rape: When the defendant is 18 or older and the victim is under the age of 12, the criminal offense could be charged as a "capital felony." This manes the defendant could be sentenced to death if they are found guilty.
Federal and Florida Sexual Offender Registries
Besides incarceration, the requirement to register as a sex offender for life is one of the most punitive forms of punishment. In some crimes, the manditory sex preditor registration may not be required. This is why you must speak with one of our Tampa rape defense attorneys as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and help your case. The best first step to take when being questioned by police or after being arrested is speaking with one of our rape defense attorneys.
Statutory Rape Charges in Florida
According to Florida Statute 794.05 - Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors it is a felony for a person 24-years-old or older to engage in sexual behavior with a child who is 17-years-old or younger; even if there is consent. In most circumstances, statutory rape is charged as a second-degree felony, and punishable with up to 15 years in prison. In Florida, a defendant may not use a defense based on the victim's history of engaging in sex.
Rape Charge Defenses in Tampa, 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 (813) 362-5623 24/7 to Speak With Our Tampa 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 Tampa 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 us 24/7 at (813) 362-5623 to receive your free consultation with one of our Tampa rape defense attorneys today.
625 East Twiggs Street, Suite 1000, Unit 117
Tampa, FL 33602