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Melbourne Sex Crime Defense Lawyers

Although all criminal offenses involving sexual activity are deemed “sex crimes,” they are not all considered to be of equal severity. For instance, solicitation of a sex worker is a misdemeanor offense, as is voyeurism, while child pornography-related offenses and sexual assault are charged as felonies. This is an important distinction, not only because felonies come with lengthier prison sentences and higher fines, but because those convicted of felonies are required to register as sex offenders. This can have important repercussions, so if you are being investigated for involvement in a sex offense, you should consider speaking with an experienced Melbourne sex crime defense attorney who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.

Melbourne Sexual Battery Lawyer

In Florida, rape and sexual assault both fall under Fla. Stat. 794.011, which prohibits non-consensual vagina, oral, or anal penetration. This is one of the most serious sex offenses in Florida, so penalties are correspondingly severe and include the possibility of a lifetime prison sentence. However, the actual penalties faced by a defendant depend in large part on the circumstances of a particular case, which includes an analysis of:
  • Whether the victim was physically unable to resist;
  • Whether the defendant allegedly threatened to use force or violence during the commission of the offense;
  • Whether the defendant administered, or knew that someone else had administered, a narcotic, anesthetic, or other intoxicating substance to the victim who was mentally or physically incapacitated as a result;
  • Whether the victim had a mental defect;
  • Whether the victim was physically incapacitated; and
  • Whether the offender was a law enforcement, correctional, or probation officer.
In the event that an alleged victim is deemed to have been mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense, the accused could have his or her charges enhanced to aggravated sexual battery, which is more commonly referred to as date rape.

Melbourne Date Rape Attorney

Date rape is not specifically defined in Florida. However, it does fall firmly under the category of sexual battery, as it involves mental incapacitation, which is defined as occurring when a person is temporarily incapable of assessing or controlling his or her own conduct as a result of:
  • The ingestion of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance that was administered to a person without his or her consent; or
  • Any other act committed upon the victim without his or her consent.
In many date rape cases, defendants are accused of drugging the alleged victim with a chemical compound that heightens the effect of other intoxicants, such as alcohol. The most common forms of these drugs are Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine, all of which are colorless and odorless. Ingesting these substances can leave a person fatigued, confused, and suffering from memory problems, while some can cause unconsciousness. These effects make the person who ingests them unable to knowingly consent to sexual activity. However, just because a person was not administered a date rape drug does not mean that he or she was not the victim of date rape, as Florida law prohibits sexual contact with any person who is physically helpless because he or she was asleep, unconscious, or physically unable to communicate a lack of consent.

Those who are convicted of aggravated sexual battery could end up being sentenced to anywhere from three years to life in prison, so speaking to a Melbourne sexual battery attorney about raising a strong defense is extremely important. The two main statutory defenses that defendants can raise in these cases are that the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity or that he or she made false allegations. The former requires proof that the other party voluntarily and knowingly consented to the sexual activity. Generally, a failure to physically resist is not considered consent. False allegations due to jealousy, mental illness, and manipulation by a third party can also support a dismissal of aggravated sexual battery charges.

Melbourne Federal Sexual Assault Lawyer

Defendants who are accused of rape or sexual battery in Florida could also end up being charged with sexual assault in federal court. This is because federal law 10 U.S.C. 920 explicitly forbids sexual assault, which is much more broadly defined as committing any sexual act upon another person through the use of threats, causing bodily harm, or fraud, or while a person is unconscious, asleep, impaired by a drug or intoxicant, or suffering from a mental defect. Unlike state law, the federal statute does not require proof of penetration and so is often easier to establish.

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